Sola Ojo, Kaduna
As Ayatollah Ibrahim Yaqoub El Zakzaky, the leader of the Shi’ite Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) appears in a Kaduna high court Thursday, several business outfits in the state capital have suspended activities, with many local residents remaining indoors.
This development is in response to long-running protests and demonstrations by El Zakzaky supporters, which have turned increasingly violent.
The Shi’ite leader and his wife were arrested on December 14, 2015 by security agents after a bloody clashes between his followers and men of the Nigerian Army that left scores dead.
Until recently, protests have been limited to Abuja, Kaduna and a few other cities in northern Nigeria. But they have gradually spread to other parts of the country, including Lagos.
A business owner at popular Ahmadu Bello Way, Kaduna, who did not want his name in the press told Daily Sun that previous experience have taught them how to avoid risk anytime El Zakzaky’s case comes us.
“We have had bad experiences. Some of the people involved in this protest are shop looters. Apart from that, just last week here, we were forced to shut down our businesses when they were petering us with stones.
“Apart from that, these people engage the police in gun duels for hours around Ibrahim Taiwo Road. So, if that could happen between them and the armed police, how much more with armless people like me,” he querried.
To forestall a breakdown in law and order, there are heavily armed security personnel at strategic roundabouts and roads that lead to the court.