Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria held a procession on Friday in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, demanding the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
Vehicular movements were hindered during the procession which started from the Zone 3 Custom Mosque and ended at the popular Wuse Market.
The sect stated that it held the procession as part of the activities to mark Ashura, an annual religious event.
According to a statement issued by the spokesperson for IMN, Ibrahim Musa, the Ashura mourning procession is not a threat to peace.
“Al-Muharram, the first month of the lunar calendar, is historic: Prophet Muhammad arrived in Madinah and it took delivery of him with his companions.
“Ashura is a day of the victorious manifestations of blood over swords. The day in which Imam Husain, the Prophet’s grandson, a score of his immediate family members and his valiant companions were slain by the regiments of hundreds of thousands of men, cavalry and infantry.
“The reason we are out today is not far-fetched. The world Ashura commemoration will be at the weekend and Abuja, almost always, is without numerous people in attendance, as workers go home for their repose and relaxation. We call for immediate and unconditional release of Sheikh Zakzaky.”
The procession caused traffic congestion as motorists were forced to use alternative routes.
They marched through the streets of Abuja chanting “Allahu Akbar,” “Free Sheikh Zakzaky”, with different inscriptions.
Though there was no confrontation with the police, the procession lasted about 30 minutes.
Since 2015, the Shi’ites have been demanding unconditional release of their leader, El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat, detained by the government in Kaduna State correctional facility.