Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja
Vehicular movements were paralysed on Friday in the nation’s capital following a procession by members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).
The procession started from the Zone 3 Custom Mosque and ended at the popular Wuse Market.
The sect scheduled the peaceful procession as part of the activities to mark the Ashura procession, an annual spiritual event..
According to a statement issued by a top member of the IMN, Abdullahi Musa, the Ashura mourning procession is not a threat to peace.
He said: “Al-Muharram, the first month of the lunar calendar, is historic: Prophet Muhammad [S] arrived Madinah and it took delivery of him with his companions.
“The annual felicitation of the Hijra is always short-lived due to the unprecedented tragedy that befell the Prophet’s progeny at Karbala in 61 A.H., which has come to be known as ‘Ashura’.
“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. Imam Husain [as] hung onto righteousness, and never dreaded the censure of any critics. Departing Madinah, he made clear his motives, seeking reform of the ummah of Allah’s Messenger [S].
“Repression, persecution and pestering are not imperishable, but concepts and ideologies are.
“You cannot coerce a people who lie in wait for the only most threatening thing in your sight to leave behind what they have ascertained and become contented with as the way to spiritual uplift, unless you are on a fool’s errand.
“The reason we are out today is not far- fetched. The world Ashura commemoration will be at the week-end and Abuja, almost always, is without numerous people in attendance, as workers go home for thier repose and relaxation. We call for immediate and unconditional release of Sheikh Zakzaky”.
The procession caused gridlock as motorists were forced to use alternative routes.
They marched through the streets of Abuja chanting “Allahu Akbar”; “Free Sheikh Zakzaky”, with different inscriptions in large number.
Though, there was no confrontation with the police, the procession lasted 30 minutes.
The Shi’ites have been demanding for unconditional release of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat detained by government in Kaduna State correctional facility.