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Proscription: Shi’ites head to court, suspend street protests temporarily

…Amnesty Int’l condemns proscription of Shiite IMN

By Ben Agande

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, is to challenge the court order obtained by the Federal Government to ban its operations, Vanguard learned in Kaduna, yesterday.

IMN, Adamu, Shi'ites
Burnt NEMA office by IMN protesters

This is even as the group, yesterday, announced a temporary suspension of street protests in its agitation for the release of its leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, to allow for some new openings into the resolution of the problems.

Similarly, Amnesty International also, yesterday, condemned the proscription of the group by the Federal Government

A senior member of the organisation told Vanguard that a team of legal practitioners was being assembled by the movement to challenge the government’s proscription order in court.

The member, who craved anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, however, did not say when the legal process will commence.

But the spokesman of the movement, Ibrahim Musa, confirmed to Vanguard that “we will be in court to challenge the proscription.”

Also read: Why FG proscribed IMN ― IGP Adamu

Rival Shi’ite group leader govt agent —IMN

Musa, who spoke to Vanguard through a phone message on the recent accusation by a rival Shi’ite group that IMN was a fake organisation, accused the leader of the rival Shi’ite sect, Al-Thaqalayn Cultural Foundation, Sheikh Hamza Lawal, of being a government agent out to destabilise IMN.

He said:  “Hamza Lawal had failed woefully to create division within the ranks of the Islamic movement in the past, and the government, especially the Kaduna State governor, has been supporting, promoting and projecting him. He is not worth being dignified with a response.

“He has been in the corridors of power for a while now and on their payroll to distract attention, cause confusion, and are known by various names in the past— Shia traitors, commercial Shia and the rest.

Suspends street protests temporarily

Announcing the decision to suspend further street protests temporarily, the spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, said: ‘’The Islamic Movement in Nigeria do hereby announce to the general public and the international community that it has temporarily suspended its Free Zakzaky street protests to allow for some new openings into the resolution of the problems, especially the court case instituted by our lawyers on the proscription order made by the federal government this week.

‘’It has taken this step in good faith, out of respect for some eminent people and groups, whose input in the resolution of the problems appears genuine and we sincerely hope an amicable way could be found to solve the crises surrounding the illegal detention of our leader for almost four years now.

“If at all any protests occur anywhere in the country, it might be this notice hasn’t reached those in the field or this message is misunderstood or it is some security agents who are mischievously behind it as they have been doing in an attempt to smear our image and be seen as unruly people, rather than as victims of savage oppression since 2015.

‘’The Islamic Movement wishes to thank both national and international civil rights activists and organisations who have been busy demanding the protection of our fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution.”

Also read: It’s dangerous, illegal to outlaw Shi’ites, say CAN, Shehu Sani, senior lawyers

Amnesty Int’l condemns proscription of Shi’ite IMN

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has condemned the Federal Government’s proscription of the Shiite movement in Nigeria, describing it as a suppression of freedom of religion and association.

Amnesty Nigeria in a statement signed by the spokesperson, Isa Sanusi, said:  “The proscription of IMN is a deliberate attempt to divert attention from crucial issues, including, justice for the massacre of over 350 in Zaria in December 2015 as well many other IMN supporters killed by security agencies over the years.

“Many members of IMN have been missing since 2015; their families and relatives are yet to know their fate and their search for justice has been largely ignored by Nigerian authorities.

“Despite Federal High Court order of December 2016, Nigerian authorities have continued to keep Ibraheem El-Zakzaky in unlawful detention and his bail application perpetually delayed, despite repeated concerns over the deterioration of his health.”

“The fact that authorities have not indicated any attempt to investigate and ensure justice in all incidences involving IMN clearly shows a government resolve to deprive them of their fundamental human rights.

“We insist that Nigerian authorities ensure justice in all cases involving all Nigerians, including IMN.’’

Vanguard

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