PRESS RELEASE – Nigeria: Police attack peaceful religious procession in Abuja


From: Islamic Human Rights Commission

10 November 2017

PRESS RELEASE – Nigeria: Police attack peaceful religious procession in Abuja

Police in Nigeria have tear-gassed crowds in the capital Abuja to break up a religious procession in the city marking 40 days from the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Husayn in 680AD.

Videos and photographs from the scene show pandemonium and panic breaking out among the crowd as they try to escape the noxious fumes.

One photograph shows a marcher with his shirt drenched in blood from an apparent wound to the face.

Today’s violence follows an attack on a procession last weekend in the northern city of Kano which resulted in the deaths of at least four innocent people.

Just as then, today’s attack by police came without warning or provocation.

The annual Arba’een processions, which are organised by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, have come under sustained attack in recent years as the state pursues a policy of persecuting and delegitimising the popular movement.

Led by Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, the IMN has been the subject of a government witch-hunt since at least 2014 with its supporters coming under repeated attack. The worst of these was a savage assault on the group in Zaria in December 2015 in which at least 1000 people, including three of Zakzaky’s sons, were killed and many properties and religious spaces belonging to the IMN and its followers destroyed.

Nobody has ever been brought to justice for any of the atrocities.

For more information please call +447958 422196

Notes to editors:

Photos and videos are available on request

In March 2016 IHRC petitioned the International Criminal Court to open a preliminary inquiry into the December 2015 massacre of IMN members.

Our report which we submitted to the ICC can be found here



IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Twitter @ihrc