April 21, 2016

Shiite/Army clash: Police, DSS say ElZakzaky group threat to Nigeria

Shiite/Army clash: Police, DSS say ElZakzaky group threat to Nigeria

Nigeria Police and the Department of State Services (DSS) on Wednesday said that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) wing of the Shiite sect constituted a security threat to the Nigerian nation.

The agencies expressed the view in separate submissions at the on-going public hearing of the Kaduna State Commission of Inquiry into the IMN/Army clash of Dec 12, 2015 in Zaria.

They called for measures to tackle the group before it caused havoc similar to that of Boko Haram in the country.

They said there were other Shitte members across the country but that they were not known to be as violent as the members of IMN, led by Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, now in DSS custody.

The police were represented by the Area Commander, Zaria, DCP MD Shehu, while Mustapha Sani, the State Director of DSS, represented his agency.

Both officials said IMN was being funded by local and international organisations as well as the Islamic Republic of Iran.

They said Iran was the major financier of IMN in addition to locally generated revenues from taxes ranging from N50 to N500 placed on members all over the country.

The police said they had evidence that the Lebanese community in Nigeria who were members of the movement also contributed to the funds of the group.

The Divisional Police Officer, Sabon Gari, CSP Taofeek Sabiu, also told the commission that several invitations were extended to the leader for dialogue at the Area Command but he never honoured any.

The officer said IMN operated independent of constituted authority as its members did not recognise the Nigerian Government but they believed they were under Iran.

“The IMN have a leadership structure about 150 members always on duty in and around the IMN leader’s residence and Gyellesu in Zaria.

“There have been several complaints of activities of the IMN members to the division at individual and group levels accusing them of molestations and other violent activities but when you invite them to the police station they do not come.

“Personally, I had a confrontation with a group and before a short time more than 1,000 members appeared, including women and children, and firearms could not be used.

“IMN members have their military wing and other structures with flags and programmes during which they mount roadblocks and the police never tempered with such roadblocks.“

On his part, the State Director of DSS, said IMN remained high security concern to all security agencies in the country.

Under cross-examination, Sani said IMN had similar tendencies with Boko Haram as the members did not believe in constituted authority in Nigeria and had a leadership structure like Boko Haram.

The DSS official also agreed that just like the Boko Haram, IMN did not believe in secular Nigeria.

He also said that IMN was being funded by various organisations both local and foreign like what obtained in Boko Haram.

On the clash between IMN members and the Nigerian Army, the director said the service was not formally informed of the visit of the Chief of Army Staff but there was information about the passing-out Parade at the Army Depot, Zaria.

The DSS confirmed it had information about IMN military training and how it sourced funds from Iran.

Sani said he had written reports to Kaduna State Government about two times on the activities of IMN aside from deliberations during Security Council meetings.

The panel directed the DSS to submit all available intelligence reports on the activities of the IMN to it as soon as possible.

The Chairman Muhammed Lawal-Garba, however, stepped down hearing from the Nigeria Police and directed that the DPO Tudun Wada, Zaria, appear before it on Monday, April 25.