On Saturday, 12th December, 2015, members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, with their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El Zakzaky clashed with the men of the Nigerian Army. The fight arose as the members of the Islamic sect allegedly blocked the Zaria-Sokoto road as they usually do to civilians while holding their meetings, preventing the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff from going through despite their pleas.
For the army, there can be no consideration of civility or good manners in preventing the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, from attending an official function and paying a condolence visit to the monarch of Zaria. In order to get the band of lawless youths off the way, a violent confrontation began and the Nigerian Army killed hundreds of Sheikh’s members in Zaria, Kaduna State. They further completely destroyed Zakzaky’s houses, worship centres and facilities.
This event led to the arrest of the Sheikh, who was alleged to have sustained a number of gun shot injuries with some reports asserting that one of his eyes was attacked in the course of the encounter. Many members of the sect were murdered in the attack, while some others suffered different degrees of physical damage and some others are still on admission at Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Shika near Zaria.
Information about Sheikh Ibrahim El Zakzaky has been clouded ever since the incident took place until recently, as multiple sources revealed that he was moved from Kaduna to a safe house in Abuja which belongs to one of the Security Services.
According to an information made available to Vanguard yesterday, several security sources informed on the issue revealed that as a result of the severe injuries inflicted on the Shite leader, there was an urgent need to secretly fly him to France for urgent treatment. This was done by the Nigerian government some weeks ago before he was brought back to the country two weeks ago.
“It is true that the federal government flew him out of the country for treatment. He was stabilized before he was brought back to Nigeria. The government did not want to take chances by keeping him in the country. We did not want a repeat of the incident with the late leader of the Boko Haram Movement, whose death in custody exacerbated the crisis in the North East,” said one of the informants.
According to another source, highly placed Nigerians, like the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar were behind the resolution to take the Sheikh out of the country as they observed that letting him die in custody will lead to an unimaginable disruption of the peace of the nation.
Ibrahim Musa, Spokesman of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, established the truth that members of the Nigerian Supreme Court of Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, committee affirmed to the Islamic Movement of Nigeria that their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El Zakzaky was alive and in Abuja, recovering from the treatment of gunshot wounds he received in France as reported in Vanguard.
Zakzaky has a long line of warfare history. An experienced member of 10 jail houses including Kaduna, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Kirikiri, among others – in the country, he has been an arch enemy of the system since his student days at the Ahmadu Bello University where he was a leader of a violent section of the Muslim Students Society. For being a core party to the violence that broke out while he was the leader of the MSS in Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Zakzaky, which means “Man of Zaria”, had his degree in Economics withheld by the University authorities in 1979.
The highly intellectual Sheikh Ibrahim El Zakzaky was born on 5th of May 1953 and had his early education at the traditional Quranic and Islamic Schools where he passed in excellently well. He did not acquire any formal primary school training before proceeding to the legendry School for Arabic Studies (SAS), Kano in 1971, which was founded in 1934 as Northern Nigeria Law School and fondly described as “the mother of Bayero University.”
El-Zakzaky married one wife, Zannah, lives in Kwarbai quarters in Zaria City and had nine children, most of who have been killed in his many clashes with the military.