By Luka Binniyat

KADUNA—Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, on Thursday, alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari was briefed before the clampdown on Shiites in Zaria by the Army between December 12 and 14, 2015.

While claiming that about 1,000 of its members were killed in the clampdown by soldiers, Kaduna State government insisted it buried only 347 corpses in a mass grave in Kaduna. The group, which also dismissed the findings and recommendations of the Kaduna State Judicial Commission of Inquiry, JCI, as pre-determined, claimed that Buhari arrested its leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and detained him at Alagbon Close for 18 months when he was Military Head of State between 1984 and 1985, in the same manner he is currently being detained.

Chairman Free Zakzaky Campaign Committee of IMN, Abdulraham Yola, claimed Buhari had accused the group of forming a parallel government during his maiden media chat and repeated the same as reason for the clampdown on IMN while fielding questions on a TV channel in Qatar. He said: “It was the clearest indication that the President was not only briefed, he sanctioned and ordered it.”

“The governor (Nasir el-Rufa of Kaduna State) similarly levelled the same allegation during his state broadcast on the incident when he said ‘Government also received reports that the Islamic Movement of Nigeria acted like a parallel state, with total disdain for the formal structures of the Nigerian government’. “Neither Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky nor any of IMN members has ever renounced their citizenship of Nigeria. They hold Nigerian passports as bonafide citizens. IMN has not claimed any part of the country as its territory. It does not have its own anthem, flag or currency.

“Many members of the IMN are tax payers and IMN-owned groups or associations are registered with relevant Nigerian regulatory bodies. “Furthermore, IMN always resorted to law to seek redress whenever they felt aggrieved. Clearly, all these do not suggest a parallel state with total disdain for formal structures.”

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