Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, made good their threat to shun the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the clash between it and the Nigerian Army on December 12, 2015 as they were conspicuously missing when the commission began its public hearing on Monday in Kaduna.
While the IMN was absent at the commission’s inaugural sitting yesterday, the Nigerian Army was available to tell its own side of the story in the clash that left over 100 Shi’ites killed and several others injured.
The movement had vowed that unless its leader, Sheik Ibraheem el-Zakzaky was released from government custody – where he is reportedly being held and treated for gunshot wounds sustained when the army invaded his residence in Gyellesu, Zaria to effect his arrest – they will not appear before the commission of inquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government.
The Islamic movement had also faulted the composition of the 13-member Judicial Commission of Inquiry, saying some of its members had in the past spoken out and even written against the Shi’ite sect.
Lawyers to the Shi’ite sect, who were also absent, were said to have written to the commission of their inability to submit any memorandum because of lack of access to Sheik el-Zakzaky, whose directive they needed to obey and work with.
However, addressing the sitting, Chairman of the commission, Justice Muhammadu Lawal Garba, said: “This sitting has to be adjourned till Wednesday because of the absence of one party involved in the inquiry.
“Counsel to the commission, Yusuf Ali (SAN), has been asked to find out the whereabouts of the leader of the Shi’ites and report back to the commission”.
“It is required by law for every party in the clash to be present at all the sittings of the proceedings”, the chairman added.