Sheik Abdulhamid Bello said in a statement: “We are out to lament at the way the Nigerian government is mishandling one of its most prominent elder statesmen. We come out to remind the World of the genocide executed by the Nigerian government using all its machinery of state power against unarmed citizens. We are out today, on the occasion of the 66th birthday of our leader, demanding for justice and his immediate freedom.”
The group called on the acting president to urgently set the Sheikh free.
“He should be released instantly as ordered by a federal high court in Abuja, so that at least he can attend to his failing health,” he said.
El-Zakzakky and his wife, Malama Zeenat Ibrahim were arrested and held captive when his followers and officers of the Nigerian Army clashed in 2015.
The conflict led to the killings of several members of IMN including children of the spiritual leader.
Also, the group worshipping center in Zaria, Hussainiyya Baqiyatullah, as well as property of the IMN members were demolished during the confrontation.
In December 2016, the Federal High Court in Abuja issued an order for the immediate release of the couple along with compensation, provision of a residence as well as a police protection, but the government has ignored the court order.
The government also turned deaf ears to the call by Amnesty International for the release of the cleric.
El-Zakzaky who reportedly lost an eye during the attack against his family might lose the second eye if it is not urgently treated, the group stated.