The Sheikh El-Zakzaky-led Islamic Movement in Nigeria, otherwise known as Shi’ites, on Monday, shunned the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government to unravel the circumstances surrounding the clash between men of the Nigerian Army and the Shi’ites members on December 12, 2015.
While personnel of the Nigerian Army were on the ground to testify at the inaugural public sitting of the commission, the Shi’ites members stayed away from the late Gen. Hassan Katsina House, Kawo, Kaduna venue of the panel on Monday.
Our correspondent learnt that the commission was informed by lawyers for the sect in writing that they could not submit a memorandum because they were not allowed access to the leader of the movement, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, for directives on whether to attend the public hearing or not.
Meanwhile, the commission’s Chairman, Justice Muhammadu Garba, adjourned sitting of the panel till Wednesday because of the absence of the Shi’ites members at the Monday hearing.
Garba mandated the counsel for the commission, Yusuf Ali (SAN), to find out the whereabouts of the Shi’ites leader and report back to the commission at the next sitting.
The chairman said, “This sitting has to be adjourned till Wednesday because of the absence of one party involved in the inquiry.
“Counsel for 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.”
Garba also informed the Army, whose members were present at the inaugural sitting, to ensure that they were present in the sittings as required by law.
The IMN had objected to the 13-man panel, noting that some of the panel members were against the movement, expressing the concern of the sect to get fair hearing at the panel.
Counsel for the commission, while speaking to reporters shortly after the adjournment, said he would find out the whereabouts of El-Zakzaky within 24 hours as mandated by the commission’s chairman.
He added, “I will write formally to such authorities to enable IMN lawyers to get access to him (Shi’ites leader) and get the requested briefings.”
He said the commission had received about 105 memoranda.