Iranian Shiites threaten to overthrow Buhari administration and free El-Zakzaky from detention

IRANIAN protesters have threatened to overthrow the government of President Muhammadu Buhari in order to secure the release of the leader of the Shiite sect the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.


Since December 2015, Sheikh El-Zakzaky has been in detention following a clash between his supporters and the Nigerian Army in Zaria. He has since been granted bail but the federal government has refused to free him and his supporters have since organised several marches and demonstrations to secure his release.


Last week, three days of demonstrations by IMN led to a crackdown as the Nigerian security forces opened fire on protesters, reportedly killing about 40 of them. This has prompted protests in Iran, the spiritual home of Shiites and in one trending video, Iranian protesters with different placards chanted Free Zakzaky, with the leader of the march criticising the Buhari government over the continued detention of Sheikh El-Zakzaky.


“The judge of Nigeria ordered that Zakzaky and his members to be freed but the government didn’t listen to that and so we are calling on them to free Zakzaky. The government of Nigeria should know that it cannot keep Zakzaky forever in the detention and in jail, In Sha Allah, by overthrowing the tyrannical government, we will free Zakzaky and teach Nigeria and its people a good lesson," he added.


Last week, the IMN criticised the Nigeria Police Force for describing Shiites as terrorists. Meanwhile, Amnesty International said its investigation shows that the horrific use of excessive force by soldiers and police led to the killing of at least 45 IMN supporters in two days.


Amnesty International disclosed that its researchers visited five different locations in Abuja and Nasarawa State where wounded IMN supporters were receiving treatment, including two locations where bodies were deposited. Osai Ojigho, the director of Amnesty International Nigeria, confirmed that all the evidence showed that the security forces were intent on killing IMN members.


Mr Ojigho said: “We have seen a shocking and unconscionable use of deadly force by soldiers and police against IMN members. Video footage and eyewitness testimonies consistently show that the Nigerian military dispersed peaceful gatherings by firing live ammunition without warning, in clear violation of Nigerian and international law.


“Those injured were shot in different parts of the body including the head, neck, back, chest, shoulder, legs and arms and some of them had multiple gunshot wounds. This pattern clearly shows soldiers and police approached IMN processions not to restore public order but to kill.”