The Islamic Movement of Nigeria(IMN), also known as Shi’ites on Tuesday celebrated the 68th birthday of their leader Sheikh Ibraheem El Zakzaky who is still in the custody of the Department of State Security (DSS).
Sheihk El-Zakzaky and his wife who have been in custody for 1,227 days, have been granted bail by separate courts but the DSS is yet to release them.
A statement issued by Abdullahi Muhammad Musa, on behalf of Academic Forum of the Islamic movement, stated that they would continue to clamour for the release of their leader as they celebrate his birthday.
The statement reads: “Saturday 15th Sha’aban 1440 equivalent to 20th April 2019 marks the 68th birthday of his Eminence, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) according to the lunar calendar. On his 68th birthday, Sheikh Zakzaky also marks 1,224 days in illegal detention. We are celebrating the 68th birthday of our leader and at the same time protesting the illegal detention of the Sheikh and his wife, Zeenah Ibraheem.
“Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky was born on 15 Sha’aban, 1372 (which corresponds to 5th May 1953) at Zaria. The word “Zakzaky” meaning “Man from Zazzau” and Zazzau or Zaria is an ancient City in Nigeria. Sheikh Zakzaky attended prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. He studied Economics and graduated with a first class degree in 1979. On the side of his Islamic education, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky’s first teachers as a child are his father and grandmother. He then studied under various Scholars which included Malam Sani Abdulkadir, Malam Isa Madoka, Malam Sani Na’ibi (Deputy Imam of Zaria ancient Mosque) and Malam Ibrahim Kakaki among others.
“He also studied at Arabic Provincial School at Zaria (1969 -70). He then gained admission into the famous Teachers Training College at Kano city known as School for Arabic Studies (S.A.S), to continue his formal education ( 1971-75). While he was at Kano, he studied at the Hawzah (religious seminary) of Sheikh Nasir Kabara, he also studied under the tutelage of Shaikh Isa Waziri ( Late wazeer of Kano), Shawish Abdallah and Imam Nuhu ( the Imam of Yola quarters). He is a memoriser of the Holy Quran.
“He also studied with different Scholars of the Ja’afari school of thought, among them are Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Tabatabae and Shaikh Ja’afarul Haadi.”
According to Musa, Zakzaky is the leader of the Islamic movement, which is a mass movement of conscious people who detests injustice and oppression.
The statement said most of the supporters of the movement are Muslims but claims that there are also non-Muslims who identify with the movement because of their love for justice and contempt for oppression.
“For instance, there is the Christian Forum of the Islamic movement, which comprises of Christian supporters of the Islamic movement,” the statement said.
“On 12th December 2015, the Nigerian Army clashed with the Shi’ites in Zaria which led to the death of many followers of Sheikh El-Zakzaky and his subsequent arrest.
“Since then (December 2015), Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife are under illegal detention, despite a Federal High Court Judgement delivered in December 2016 that ordered for their unconditional release, but the DSS continued his detention.
“Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky is a charismatic religious leader and his name will continue to represent, fight against tyranny and oppression, knowledge, erudition, sound reasoning, wisdom, truth and justice.
“While celebrating the 68th birthday of our leader, we are demanding for his unconditional release from illegal detention and we will continue to oppose all forms of tyranny and oppression in Nigeria,” the statement added.