PRESS RELEASE – Abuja, Nigeria: Police open fire at Free Zakzaky protestors


From: Islamic Human Rights Commission

16 April 2018

PRESS RELEASE – Abuja, Nigeria: Police open fire at Free Zakzaky protestors

Police have opened fire on protestors in the centre of the Nigerian capital Abuja killing at least one and injuring two.

Eye-witnesses report that the dead and wounded were targeted by sniper fire as they tried to stage a peaceful protest in support of the detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky. Tear gas was also used against the demonstrators.

Today’s police violence follows the arrest last Friday of the convener of the daily Free Zakzaky sit-in protest at the Unity Fountain. Police have since taken over the location and attempted to stop the protests from continuing.

Prince Deji Adeyanju was arrested and taken away to an unknown location by armed police as he took part in the protests which have been held daily in the city centre since the beginning of January to demand the release of the detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky.

The protests erupted after Sheikh Zakzaky suffered a stroke, aggravating an already poor condition caused when he was shot during a military attack on the Islamic Movement of Nigeria two years ago in the city of Zaria.

Despite calls by the Islamic Human Rights Commission and other supporters of the sheikh for his release him from unlawful detention so that his health can be assessed and he can receive medical treatment the Nigerian authorities have failed to act.

Demonstrations involving tens of thousands of the sheikh’s supporters have been staged daily in the capital Abuja as well as other towns and cities across northern Nigeria. Despite their totally peaceful nature the protests have been subject to sabotage and violent, often fatal, attacks by security forces intent on bringing the Islamic Movement of Nigeria into disrepute.

Since 8 January 2018 six protestors have been killed by security forces. Hundreds more have been arrested and sustained injuries from beatings during their detention. The majority of those released were released without charge.

The sheikh’s ordeal began after he was shot along with his wife, Zeenah, and arrested during an orgy of violence unleashed over three days in December 2015 on supporters of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in what was widely seen as a bid to curb the movement’s growing popularity.

At least 1000 civilians, mostly Islamic Movement supporters, were killed in the attacks and hundreds arrested in the attacks.

The 2015 attack is the subject of a complaint by the IHRC to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

Photographs and video available on request.

For more information please call +447958607475 or +447958522196

Notes to editors:

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