Shi’ite Leader Zakzaky No Longer In Army Custody – Buratai

Ibrahim el-Zakzaky

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said on Thursday that the arrested Shi’ite sect leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zak-Zaky, is no longer in Army custody.

He said this when he met with a delegation from the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) at the Army Headquarters, Abuja.

Responding to the request by NSCIA to meet with the sect leader, Buratai said that El-Zak-Zaky had been handed over to the appropriate authorities for prosecution, stressing that lawlessness must not be tolerated in the society especially when a part of the country is confronted with terrorism.

“As a responsible and law abiding organisation, we will do all that we can to always safeguard lives and property.

“As for the whereabouts of the Shi’ite leader, he is not in our custody; he has been handed over to the appropriate authorities for prosecution because we don’t prosecute.

“What happened was avoidable and unfortunate, we followed the rules of engagement as enshrined in the constitution but what happened still happened,” he said.

The Army chief also dismissed claims that his men were after members of the sect. He urged members of the public to disregard information and pictures contained in a section of the media, which he described as a false reflection of what happened.

Earlier in his remark, the leader of the NSCIA, Prof. Daud Noibi, said the group was at the Army headquarters on a fact-finding mission. He appealed to the Army authorities to allow the delegation to meet with the arrested leader of the sect and said the NSCIA would make efforts to douse the tension that had engulfed parts of the North following Saturday’s incident in Zaria.