Heavy contingent of security operatives comprising anti-riot, regular police and soldiers on Tuesday disrupted the annual Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), annual remembrance of the killing of three of Sheikh Zakzaky’s sons and 31 other members in Zaria on July 25, 2014.
The event which was being held at the Darurahama, Jos Road, Zaria, was besieged by the security operatives who stormed the venue with over 18 trucks filled with their personnel.
On way to the venue, IMN members, popularly known as Shi’ites were seen in procession-like movement along the Zaria-Jos highway leaving the venue.
On getting to the area, when reporters sought what attracted heavy deployment of security personnel, the Area Commander in charge of Zaria, ACP Ibrahim Abdullahi told newsmen that there was problem, while advising them to leave the area.
Shiites leaving the venue
When contacted, one of the organisers of the remembrance, Sheikh Abdulhamid Bello, said that a reporter covering the event, had his camera seized.
“We were holding our annual remembrance anniversary, held every year in memory of 34 of our members killed on July 25, 2014, including three sons of Sheikh Zakzaky.
” After we started the programme by 8am, around 10am, the security personnel mobilised and met us there. The Army came first and surrounded the place. They didn’t say anything, so we continued.
“When the Police came led by the ACP, they came and interrupted. There were tents, chairs and we were well organised. They tried to provoke us, but failed. The ACP told his personnel to take position, then came and told the person preaching that: ‘No problem, no trouble, conclude and go away’. Some of our members recording were stopped and a journalist’s camera was seized.
” They wanted to (seize) all the cameras but we questioned them because their own people were recording, so they decided that even their people should stop recording,” he narrated.
The Sheikh informed that as at the time they were disrupted, they had about 10,000 members in attendance, with several others prevented from entering.
“About 10,000 of us were there, had it been we were not peaceful, they wouldn’t have been able to disperse us,” he added.
One of those prevented from entering the venue, Sheikh Adamu Tsoho who travelled from his base in Jos to attend, described the situation as unfortunate.
“We arrived around 9:30am. We heard they had blocked the entrance but they didn’t allow us to enter. A lot of people were trapped outside,” he explained.