The Nigerian Army has expressed regrets over the incident in Zaria at the weekend involving a detachment of soldiers accompanying the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, which resulted in the loss of lives.
The army reiterated its position that the clash could have been avoided had followers of Sheikh Ibrahim El Zak-Zaky, suspected to be members of the Shi’ite Sect in Zaria, not blocked roads and denied other passers-by to go about their lawful businesses and activities.
“The Nigerian Constitution guarantees the rights of any group of persons and Sheikh El Zak Zaky’s followers to hold a peaceful march or procession unhindered, but it also guarantees other people’s rights of way on public highways”, a statement issued on Sunday by the Acting Director Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman said.
The statement noted that over the years, the Shi’ite sect has subjected ordinary citizens using public roads to untold hardship, delays, threats and disruption simply because they insist on using public space irrespective of inconvenience and hardship on other law abiding citizens and motorists.
“This cannot be tolerated and must stop!” the Army spokesman said.
According to him, “as soon as order is restored to the situation in Zaria city and its environs, the Police will conduct an enquiry and the public will be informed”.
The Nigerian Army advised the general public to go about their lawful business and report any suspicious persons or incidents to the police.