The Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, disclosed that the spiritual leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, a group propagating the Shi’ite ideology in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, is currently being guarded in police custody as he receives treatment at an undisclosed medical facility.
According to Premium Times, Mr. Arase disclosed to members of the special committee of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) who met him in his office on Monday, that Mr. El-Zakzaky is currently in police custody.
The seven-man committee which was constituted last week has Ishaq Oloyede, Muzammil Hanga, Abubakar Tsav, Ibrahim Suleiman, Yusuf Ali and Abubakar Siddique as members with Mr. Daud Naibi as chairman. The committee was mandated to meet with all parties involved in the clash and report back to the council.
In the meeting with Mr. Arase alongside all Deputy Inspectors General of Police, Assistant Inspectors General of Police and Commissioners of Police at the force headquarters in Abuja, the NSCIA delegates sought to know the whereabouts of the Shiite leader, and to that, the IGP responded by admitting that Mr. Elzakzaky was receiving treatment in police custody and will not be seen until he has improved health wise.
The police chief reportedly assured the delegation that Mr. El-Zakzaky was doing well and not under any life-threatening condition. He also added that he is not sure of giving access to seeing Mr. El-Zakzaky even after his recuperation until he receives order to do so “from above”.
Mr. Arase reports directly to President Muhammadu Buhari, and at times through the National Security Adviser.
Aside seeking access to Mr. El-Zakzaky, the NSCIA delegation had also requested that the bodies of those killed in the clash be released to their families for burial. They also demanded to know the exact number of those killed and injured in the clash and wanted access to the injured.
The police inspector-general in his response, promised to return to the NSCIA after seeking permission on the best response to the delegation’s requests.
Meanwhile, Federal government remains silent on the December 12 and 13 shootout between the Nigerian troops and the members of the Shiite sect which has attracted the attention of the global world.
The clash left a yet to be ascertained number of the sect members, including its second-in-command, Muhammad Turi, dead.
The Chief of Army Staff, Mr. Buratai in a statement, claimed to have narrowly escaped death after the sect members attacked his motorcade and attempted to deny him passage while the group’s spokesperson, who blamed the army for the killings, was also killed hours after releasing the statement.