Precious Owolabi, National Youth Corps member and reporter with Channels Television has been shot dead on Monday during the Shiite crisis in Abuja. He was shot in the stomach.
Precious is another victim and statistic in the ongoing violent clash between the Shiite Muslims and the Nigerian Police.
So far, seven people have been killed in the recent clashes, the Deputy Commissioner of Police with the FCT was killed earlier in the day on Monday.
The Shiite have had quite a long history of protests and clashes with security forces.
It all started in 2014, when the Nigerian Army shot and killed 35 members of the Shiite movement in Zaria, during a pro- Palestinian procession.
The following year in 2015, their leader Sheikh el-Zakzaky sustained injuries in, what is now tagged, the 2015 Zaria Massacre.
Zakzaky and his wife Zeenah Ibraheem were arrested. Three of his sons were killed in the strike, he had previously lost three other sons in the 2014 clash with the Nigerian Army.
In July 2019, the Shiite resurfaced again, this time in Abuja demanding the release of their leader, the High Court of Nigeria ordered his release in 2016 but had been ignored by the Federal government.
They declared that the protests would continue until Ibraheem el-Zakzaky is released. The protests escalated to a clash between them and the police. Two people were killed and forty arrested.
Ibraheem el-Zakzaky : Simple Cleric or Enemy of the State?
Ibraheem el-Zakzaky has always been an ambitious man. This can be traced right from his days in Ahmadu Bello University, where he founded the Islamic Movement late in the 1970s.
It was around that time he introduced Shia Islam, all the while being a strong and active member of the student Islamic Union.
Ibraheem fell in love with the Iranian Revolution of 1979 that led to the toppling of the Iranian monarchy and the establishment of an Islamic Republic, and he decided it was exactly what Nigeria needed.
He then travelled to Iran to study and came back a freshly minted Shia cleric.
Ever since then, he has had serval run-ins with the law and has been detained lots of times for civil disobedience, especially during the military era.
He is said to run his own government in Zaria, something like a mini Vatican City. His leadership is fierce and his followers even fiercer.
He has strict laws too; no one passes the front of his house with a car, etc.
Over the years under him leadership, Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has seen a steady growth in membership.
Their aims are pretty straightforward; application of Islamic legal and administrative system and the creation of an Islamic state in Nigeria. Simple. (Note to self: goan dust off ya passport)
Between the Devil and the deep blue sea
With the ever-increasing boldness of the Shiite protesters, these people are heavily armed now, one can only wonder what will happen if Ibraheem el-Zakzaky dies in detention.
He is said to have suffered a stroke and needs to be flown abroad, given his age and other factors involved medical attention is indeed needed.
But, what will happen if the Nigerian government gives into the pressure of releasing him? Will he go back to his business of pushing the Islamic state agenda? Absolutely.
Keeping him indefinitely detained on the other hand will only embolden his followers and may likely earn him sympathizers and eventual followers.
In all, we hope the Nigerian government acts fast and wise too because this thing is getting out of hand.
I dey Gate.