Unic Press UK: The Nigerian government has banned a Shi’ite Muslim group known as The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) following persistent protests by the group over the detention of its leader, Ibrahim El Zakzaky, who has been in prison custody since December 2015 despite several Court orders for his release.
A press statement Sunday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu, reads:
“…The Presidency regrets that despite all efforts by the government and other well-meaning Nigerians to make the IMN militants to see reason and abandon violence, such appeals fell on deaf ears as they killed, maimed and destroyed willfully, constituting daily nuisance to workers, commuters and other innocent citizens.
Having defied appeals to operate peacefully, and given their seeming determination to destabilize the country, the government had to act before the situation goes out of control, after admonishing many times over that people should not use religion to perpetuate lawlessness.
“We are fighting lawlessness and criminality and not pursuing a policy of discrimination against any group,” the Presidency stressed. “You cannot be in court while at the same time engaging in violent protests, molesting people and inflicting pains on others, which includes taking innocent lives.”
Reacting to the ban, an senior official of the IMN, Yahiya Dahiru, who spoke at a news conference in the Nigerian capital city, Abuja, said:
“You can never stop an ideology, you can never stop an idea, you can never stop our religion.”
It was on Friday, the 26 July, that Judge N E Maha of the Federal High Court issued an order “proscribing the existence and activities of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in any part of Nigeria, under whatsoever form or guise either in groups or as individuals” in respect of Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/876/2019 of 25 July 2019.
A protest march by the IMN last week, Monday, the 22 July, in Abuja, ended in chaos/violence, leading to gunshots being fired, destruction of public/private properties, the killing of a high-ranked Police officer, a Channels TV reporter and the death of some members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).