At least 100 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, who have been in detention since December 2015 have been discharged and acquitted by the Kaduna state High Court.
At its sitting on Tuesday, Shiri Nyom, the trial judge, discharged and acquitted some members of the sect as a result of “lack of enough evidence” against them.
However the state government has rejected the court’s judgement, vowing to file an appeal.
Hajiya Hikima, the state Attorney-General, said Kaduna viewed the judgement as “perverse and totally lacking in merit. In prosecuting the case, the state called 47 witnesses and tendered several exhibits.
“The prosecution believes that a compelling case was argued. Therefore, an appeal will be filed to challenge the ruling of the court. Despite the quality of evidence placed before the honourable court, it ruled in favour of the accused persons.
“Kaduna State government hereby states that it is totally dissatisfied with the ruling, which it view as perverse and totally lacking in merit and shall appeal immediately to the Kaduna Judicial Division of the Court of Appeal.”
The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) were arrested at various locations since December 2015. however hailed the court’s verdict.
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Ibrahim Musa on Tuesday, “the Kaduna State government sued almost close to 200 members of the Islamic Movement after an attack on the Movement by the Nigerian Army in December 2015 which led to the killing of over a thousand souls, including three sons of the Sheikh Zakzaky, his elder sister and a nephew.“
‘The attack was a sequel to the unlawful invasion of the privacy of their residence and eventual destruction of their houses. This has been aptly described by several human rights bodies as a massacre.
‘To worsen these flagrant crimes against humanity, bodies of all the hundreds killed were hurriedly and secretly buried in mass graves about 100km away from the scene, apparently in a shoddy attempt at hiding the crime and its magnitude.”
“This judgement has not only vindicated the members of the Islamic movement in Nigeria, but it is certainly a victory for perseverance in the face of extreme persecution. It is a victory for truth and justice against tyranny and impunity,” the statement added.
While hailing the recent court verdict, It also reiterated its call for the release of its Leader Sheikh Zakzaky.
“We are all aware of the crude tactics of the Kaduna state government led by El-Rufai all in his devilish plots at perpetuating the persecution against the Islamic Movement and the continued detention incommunicado of Sheikh Zakzaky and his ailing wife in spite of previous court judgement ordering their immediate release from detention, thereby further flaunting his fundamental rights and rights to liberty.
“With this victory in the court today, the false charges filed against them of aiding and abetting the culpable homicide has been punctured for good
“We await the response of the Kaduna State government as Sheikh Zakzaky’s case comes up in the next two days. We expect them to respect the judgement of this honourable court and the course of justice to withdraw the fake charges against him and release him with immediate effect.”