By; Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna.
The judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Army/Shi’ite clash in Zaria last December set up by the Kaduna State Government Thursday began hearing and took evidence from the Nigerian Army without the presence or representative of the Islamic Movement of Nigerian known as Shi’ite.
This came after series of adjournment due to inability of counsels to IMN to see their main client, Sheikh Ibrahim ElZakzaky, who is said to be in the custody of Directorate of State Security (DSS) since the time of incident.
Meanwhile, the Army presented its four witnesses who were part of the convoy of Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai on the day of the clash.
The witnesses include Major-General Ado Abubakar, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, Major-General Adeniyi Oyebade; Gnereal Officer Commanding (GOC) I Division, and Brigadier-General Ayuba Ted Gamma.
Earlier, Chairman of Commission, Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba, told the gathering that the Commission was satisfied that every opportunity has been afforded the IMN for fair hearing.
“I have said it before, this commission cannot compel the IMN whether to appear before it or not.
“Whether they change their mind or not to appear, the commission will continue with the hearing to conclusion and submit its reports,” he stated.
After seven hours of presentation by the Army, Justice Mohammed told every party that submitted memoranda to get ready as the hearing continues Thursday, saying if the IMN fail to appear again, then the commission will hear from the next party.
Recall that the Commission of Inquiry had six weeks from its first sitting to submit its final report with the first public sitting holding on 22nd February 2016, but extended by four weeks following the request for additional time by its Chairman from the state government.
Recall also that one of the counsels to IMN, Barrister Fetus Okoye, had threatened that the Movement may withdraw from the commission based on their inability to see ElZakzaky after several attempts.