The annual Ashura mourning processions held on Sunday in more than 60 towns and cities across Nigeria by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria under the leadership of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky ended peacefully.
The mourners also renewed their call for the release of Sheikh Zakzaky, who is being held for close to two years despite a judgment of a Federal High Court in Abuja that ordered his release.
The spokesperson of the IMN, Ibrahim Musa in a statement on Monday said the processions ended peacefully despite allegations by some security agencies that it will cause chaos in the country.
The Ashura procession is conducted worldwide on Muharram 10, to mark the martyrdom of the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, who was slain in Karbala, Iraq alongside 72 of his family members and disciples.
The procession was first started in Kaduna metropolis very early on Sunday morning along Kaduna Western bypass, which peacefully ended by 8:00 am.
IMN members in Sokoto where a ban was proclaimed on all Shiites activities started their own Ashura procession around 11:00, which also ended by noon peacefully.
The 19 Northern states capitals did join the Ashura procession with the exception of Maiduguri, Makurdi, Ilorin and Lokoja, Musa said.
Other cities where the procession took place include Katsina, Daura, Malumfashi, Kankia, Dutsinma, Funtua, Zaria, Goronyo, Kaduna, Dabai, Kudan, Kano, Suleja, Minna, Azare, Gadar Gayan, Bauchi,Gombe, Lafia, Jibiya, Gumel, Jos, Jahun, Sokoto, Shinkafi, Illela, Bodinga, Birnin Kebbi, and Damaturu.
Others are Dutsen Wai, Jalingo, Kauran Namoda, Yabo, Dutse, Yola, Potiskum, Talata Mafara, Gashua, Tsafe, Yawuri, Kazaure, Ringim, Malam Madori, Bichi, Hadejia, Gusau, Mashi, Batsari, Gidan Roumji. Dass. Kutama, Sabon Birni, Gwadabawa, Gada, Kware, Wauru, Gobir, Isa, Dagauda and Zuru.
The Free Zakzaky Campaign Committee observed that the successful and peaceful completion of the procession in all the places it was carried out in Nigeria exposes the lie that the activities of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria are prone to violence.
The committee further stated that “the procession was conducted against all odds particularly in Kaduna and Sokoto states.
“By the intimidating tactics of the governors of these states, they tried in vain to portray the Islamic Movement as a bunch of chaotic individuals whose processions are violent and dangerous and must not be allowed hold otherwise Armageddon would befall the country. However, the procession was done and it ended peacefully in Sokoto as in Kaduna and Zaria without an incident, shaming the duo.”
The Ashura procession is “a unique window of opportunity to show the world that IMN is a nonviolent movement and nothing will happen should they be allowed to exercise their rights to practice their faith. This miracle has allowed the world to see through their misstatements about the movement being a dangerous bunch of violent lots.
“The world has seen that these processions end peacefully like other programs of the movement. There is therefore no longer any reason or justification to seek to limit the activities of the movement on the pretence of fear of violence. This is unique and we can proudly show it anywhere and anytime,” the statement said.