By Luka Binniyat
KADUNA—The Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, otherwise known as the Nigeria Shiite, yesterday accused Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, of placing a ban on the IMN after Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna did same last month.
The statement from the spokesman of the IMN, Ibrahim Musa, also called on the Plateau State governor to release members of IMN under the state government’s detention, and treat the injured ones.
The statement read: “Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State is reportedly said to have copied the ban order arbitrarily placed by Governor El-Rufai on the IMN.
“Even more ridiculous was what was reported from him as the reasons for this misadventure. He was quoted to have said ‘I have read it that the movement is already banned in its headquarters in Kaduna, why should a branch then exist here?’
“There should be no branch operating in Plateau. Whoever is bringing another thing based on religion or ethnicity to Plateau State should please take it back to where it is coming from. These words are nothing but unbecoming of a governor.”
“It is perplexing that the premise upon which Plateau State governor has placed his own ban was simply because of the ban in Kaduna. No recourse to the dictates of the law, reason or logic. He is merely copying Kaduna State without basis. This is awkward to say the least.
“This baseless ban on IMN activities in Plateau State, like its counterpart in Kaduna State, only strips citizens of the two states of their inalienable rights to practice their faith without molestation, and we believe Governor Lalong is fully aware of this and his limitation.
“Plateau State is the least expected to copy this infringement of citizens rights. Of all the myriad of crises bedeviling the state, IMN has never been implicated in any. It, therefore, beats imagination why the state would target it for persecution.
“Governor Lalong only seems to be playing to the gallery in making this ill-advised illegal and illogical move.
“He has now joined hands with evil forces to persecute innocent people, including the record arrest, detention of 44 people, comprising pregnant and nursing mothers, minors as young as four years and other vulnerable population in the state, such as the wounded who are still languishing in jail without proper medical care.
“We unequivocally call on Lalong to rescind his decision to act the Kaduna way on matters concerning IMN. We believe he should stand for justice, fairness and obedience to the rule of law.
“We call on him to exercise his powers in ordering for the release of members of IMN in detention immediately, pay compensation to IMN members who lost properties in the state-sponsored terror attacks on IMN in his state.
‘’We also expect him to prosecute those soldiers and thugs involved in the carnage during Ashura commemoration anniversary in Jos.”