NIGERIA’S Shiite Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has accused the security forces of killing a police deputy commissioner and a youth corper and quickly burying them so they can use the story for propaganda purposes.
Over the last few weeks, the IMN has intensified its protests in Abuja, demanding the release of Sheikh El-Zakzaky, who has been in detention since December 2015. These demonstrations have become increasingly violent and earlier this week, deputy commissioner of police in charge of operations in the Federal Capital Territory Usman Musa and Precious Owolabi, a youth corper serving with Channels Television, were shot.
Distancing itself from the deaths, the IMN said the two were killed by the security forces in a bid to paint the Shiite movement in a bad light. Ibrahim Musa, the president of IMN’s media forum, said Mr Owolabi was clearly killed by bullets from the shooting spree of the police during Monday’s protest.
He added: “Yesterday the Nigeria Police Force headquarters issued a press statement in which it ascribed the death of DCP Usman Umar in particular, to the Islamic Movement in Nigeria under the leadership of the illegally detained Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky. We vehemently condemn such insinuation which we believe was done in bad taste to once again tarnish our hard-earned credit as the only non-violent movement in the country.
“A quick analysis of images and video clips showed that the Free Zakzaky procession was peacefully progressing prior to the brutal crackdown. It also clearly showed that the protesters weren’t bearing arms and traffic was moving smoothly without hindrance.
“Furthermore, the images also showed the police, armed to the teeth, as they were intent on stopping the movement of the protesters, at all cost. Few other policemen and plain clothed security agents were seen piling used tyres for use to set bonfires and by the time the police struck, about a dozen members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria had been killed, with the police seen picking the corpses up and taking them to an undisclosed location, perhaps for a mass burial.
“Also shot was the Channels TV reporter Precious Owolabi and their colleague, a deputy commissioner of police, who photographs showed, was struck from the back of his head with the bullet exit in front, an indication that he was a victim of friendly fire. It is a known fact among the intelligence community that you don’t retreat from a mob with your back turned against them.
“This is one of the tenets of crowd control for law enforcement agencies. As if to hide this fact, the late policeman was hurriedly buried without any form of post mortem examination, which would have revealed the source of the bullet.
“It seems the security agents strategically killed the journalist to turn the media against us and they also killed the police officer to incite the security community against us and to stigmatise us. They are the ones with guns and they are the ones doing the shootings and also doing the killings and then fraudulently lie to Nigerians that their victims are the violent ones.
“They are working hard to portray the Islamic Movement in Nigeria as a terrorist organisation that is why they have started killing people in our name including our supporters. We decry such shameless play with people’s lives with reckless abandon.
“We therefore call on the federal government detaining our leader, Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife, Malama Zeenah Ibrahim, preventing them from seeking proper medication, to toe the line of House of Representatives that some weeks ago called on it to address the root cause of this needless spill of innocent blood. This is the contemptuous disregard of a federal high court order granting the Sheikh is freedom and fundamental human rights.
Finally, on behalf of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, we wish to commiserate with the friends and families of those needlessly killed by this police brutality. In particular, our heartfelt condolences to the slain officer’s and the journalist’s families and the Channels Television as well.”