El-Zakzaky, wife arraigned in Kaduna court amid tight security (Photo)

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Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shi’ites, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, his wife and other members have been arraigned before a Kaduna High Court for murder charges amid protest by members of the group.

However, the other two persons, Sheikh Yaqoub Yahya Katsina and Sheikh Sunusi Abdulqadir Koki, accused alongside the Sheikh, were not in court. When the case was mentioned yesterday, El-Zakzaky pleaded not guilty to all the charges, but one of the lawyers representing him, Mr. Maxwell Kenyon, made an oral request for bail of the accused persons.

The presiding judge, Justice Gideon Isa Kurada, declined the request and ordered the lawyer to make a written application for the bail. The prosecution lawyer, Daris Bayero requested the leader of the IMN to be remanded in Department of State Services (DSS) custody, and the court upheld the request. The Sheikh was later returned to Abuja where he had been in detention.

The court subsequently adjourned the case to Thursday, June 21, 2018 for further hearing while it also ordered that court summons should be duly served on the other two accused persons who were not present.

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Meanwhile, in a swift reaction, the IMN in a statement signed by one of its leading members, Sheikh Abdulhamid Bello, said that the group “rejected this latest action by the Kaduna State government,” saying: “We find this latest attempt to provoke the Islamic Movement as an attempt by the Federal Government to kill our leader since Allah has spared his life from the murderous attempt of the Nigerian army in December 2015.

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“We hereby categorically declare this as unacceptable and the Federal Government will be held responsible if anything untoward should happen to our revered leader.

“We will continue with our protests demanding Sheikh Zakzaky’s freedom on the streets of major cities of Nigeria, Abuja in particular, till when the Federal Government will obey the court’s order releasing our leader and his wife.”

As security was intensified within the premises of the court, members of the Islamic group took to the streets protesting the detention of El-Zakzaky and his wife and calling for their release.

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