The Kaduna State Police Command said it has arrested four members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) over their Ashura procession in Kaduna and Zaria on Tuesday, noting that there was no death recorded on both operations.
Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Yakubu Sabo, said the protest was illegal as the IMN has been proscribed and was not given any permission to engage in the demonstration, hence the need to disperse the protesters.
“Today at about 0655hrs, we received an information that members of the outlawed Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) popularly known as Shiites came out en mass along Nnamdi Azikiwe Expressway Kaduna and at Kasuwan Mata area of Zaria City respectively on procession in respect of the annual Ashura Day, blocking the public highways, causing traffic jam and molesting commuters.
“They were chanting slogans and demanding for the unconditional release of their spiritual leader Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky despite earlier warning by the Command yesterday. It is on record that both the federal government of Nigeria and the government of Kaduna state have separately proscribed the group recently.
“Thus, teams of policemen quickly dispatched to the areas with a view to dispersing the unlawful assembly and to manage the traffic. However, on sighting the police, the protesters started throwing stones at them, hitting them with iron bolts using catapults. The situation became very tensed and members became violent and unruly.
“Minimum force was used in dispersing them. Four suspects were so far arrested and are being investigated. We have also recovered some exhibits which include catapults and iron bolts. The police succeeded in dispersing the unlawful assembly and brought the situation under firm control. The command wants to make it on record that, up to now it has not formally received any report of death casualties as claimed by the proscribed group earlier today.
“Meanwhile, patrols are being intensified to avert any possible breach of peace. The Command therefore, wants to reiterate its warning that, the Kaduna state government has placed ban on procession in the state and to remind members of the IMN that the proscription placed on the group by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the government of Kaduna state are still in force.
“The Nigeria police will always enforce the lawful order accordingly. Members of the public are advised to go about their lawful businesses and to report any suspicious behaviour to the police or any law enforcement agency nearest to them,” Yakubu said.