On Tuesday, January 22, the Kaduna High Court of Justice announced that the trial of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, will be adjourned to March 25. The trial was delayed to allow el-Zakzaky and his wife to “receive proper medical attention.” El-Zakzaky’s lawyer reportedly petitioned for him to be treated by his personal doctor for his ailing health. As of January 22, the IMN have not announced any associated demonstrations in Kaduna or Abuja; however, further protests are possible in the days leading up to the resumption of the trial.
El-Zakzaky, a prominent Shi'a cleric, was arrested in December 2015 when soldiers raided his home in Zaria (Kaduna state), killing a number of IMN followers in the process. The Nigerian Federal High Court ordered el-Zakzaky's release in December 2016, but he has remained in detention.
IMN protests occur on a regular basis, especially in Abuja, Kaduna, and Kano states, despite a ban on the group's activities. Violent protests broke out in Abuja on October 29-30, with IMN supporters demanding the release of Ibrahim el-Zakzaky. During the protests, several IMN supported were reportedly killed, with at least 400 others arrested by security forces.
Individuals in Nigeria are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests due to the risk of violence, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities.
On a separate note, the security environment in Nigeria is complex and is particularly challenging in the northeast and extreme south of the country due to the presence of armed groups, high crime rates, and the risk of kidnapping. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel to such areas.
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