Ahead of the trial of Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and wife, Zeena, which is coming up on Thursday, members of the Shiite stormed major roads in Kaduna metropolis resulting to a heavy clash with the police.
An eyewitness told newsmen that the members of the Islamic sect stormed the town in droves, carrying placards with various inscriptions, calling on the Federal Government to release their leader.
Some of the placards had inscription such as “Free our leader; free El-Zakzaky and El-Zakzaky is not a killer,” while they also deface some buildings within the area with the “free El-Zakzaky.”
The protest caused serious gridlock along the Ahmadu Bello Way, forcing motorists to trek as buses and taxis had to find alternative routes without passengers.
According to the source, “there was unusual commotion at the Kaduna Central Market at about 12:00 pm when the protest started, forcing many people to scamper for safety.
“I was at the Central Market when suddenly I sighted people running in different directions. I had no choice than to hide in one of the shops where I went to purchase clothing materials for my son, a National Youth Service Corps’ member serving in Abuja.
“I never knew what the matter was but I had to take cover for my dear life first. It was much later that we were told that members of the Shiite movement were protesting.
When contacted, the Police image maker, Muktar Aliyu remarked that “no fewer than two of his men were seriously injured, saying, “I am talking to you, two of our men are currently receiving treatment in one of the health facilities in town.”
Aliyu said the command received a distressed call that the IMN members had taken over strategic streets in the metropolis and that as mandated by the Nigerian constitution, “we have to safeguard lives and property” by ensuring that the streets were free for movement.
“They(Shiites) came out in large numbers and barricaded the major streets in the metropolis. They were armed with dangerous weapons such as cutlasses, catapults, guns and they engaged us in a gun duel.
“As at the moment, two of our men have been hospitalized because of the injuries they sustained during the gun duel. We have arrested five of their members and they are currently in our custody while the command had commenced an investigation,” he said.
But a leader of the Shiites movement in Kaduna state, Sheikh Aliyu Tirmizi told newsmen that the police were economical with the truth as according to him, no member of the movement was in procession of weapon.
He vowed that the action of that state through the police was not enough to deter them from calling on the government to halt the illegal incarceration of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and other members of the movement in various detention facilities in the north.
It will be recalled that the Kaduna State High Court four (4)presided over by Mr. Justice Gideon Kurada had adjourned the case to June 21, 2018, based on an application by the prosecutor for them to properly file their statement of claim.
El-Zakzaky was being charged for unlawful gathering, criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide punishable with death.