The Peoples Democratic Party has now demanded an “immediate inquest” into the violent clash between security forces and members of the Shiite movement.
The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja said it was gravely worried over the handling of security in the nation’s capital and the near breakdown of law and order which it said resulted in a stampede and disruption of public and private business in the city centre.
He said, “The PDP has noted that the development is linked with protests over the continued refusal of the Federal Government to release the leader of the group, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, despite being granted bail by courts of competent jurisdiction.
“The party further notes the continued show of force and infringements on the rights of citizens by this administration.
“Furthermore, the PDP and indeed all lovers of democracy across the country are deeply concerned by the continued erosion of democratic tenets by the All Progressives Congress administration, resulting in avoidable crisis in various parts of the country.
“The PDP sues for calm while demanding an immediate inquest into the cause of this clash.”
Falana flays attack
Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), condemned the attack on Shi’ites.
Falana was the detainees’ lawyer who on December 2, 2016, obtained the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja, ordering some members’ release from the custody of the State Security Service.
The Federal Government has yet to comply with the judgment.
Falana declared on Monday that the detainees must be released in compliance with the order of the Federal High Court if the government was “genuinely desirous” of stopping the protest.
He said the “violent attack in which some of the protesters were killed and injured by security forces is barbaric.”
He said the attack, which he described as “totally unacceptable,” was staged “in a desperate bid to stop the Shiites from further exposing the lawlessness of the Federal Government”.
He maintained that the security forces had “breached the fundamental rights of the protesters to life, freedom from torture, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.”
He said, “The violent attack unleashed on the Shiites this afternoon by a combined team of armed soldiers, police and state security service personnel is totally unacceptable in a democratic society.
“It is highly condemnable as it was uncalled for.
“In order to press for the release of their detained leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, the Shiites have staged peaceful protests in Abuja since last week.
“This morning, security forces attacked the peaceful rally, killed some of the protesters and injured others in a barbaric attack in a desperate bid to stop the Shiites from further exposing the lawlessness of the Federal Government.
“In the process, the security forces breached the fundamental rights of the protesters to life, freedom from torture, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.
“The Federal Government has not adduced any justifiable reason why it has continued to incarcerate the Elzakzakys in utter contempt of the Federal High Court.”
NIM slams Buhari
The Nigeria Intervention Movement also criticized the Buhari-led Federal Government for the harassment of Shi’ites in Abuja.
The NIM, which is headed by a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), and a former presidential candidate, Dr. Abdujalil Tafawa-Balewa, said it would hold a rally in solidarity with them.
The movement said this in a statement by its Deputy-Director General, Mallam Nasser Kura, adding that trigger-happy policemen must be arrested.
The statement read in part, “We hereby demand that indicted trigger happy police operatives involved in this unfortunate cruelty and criminality be immediately brought to book and withdrawn from further confronting the peaceful protest of the Shi’ites movement.”
The NIM also demanded an apology and compensation for Shi’ite members.