A group of Civil Society Organisation, CSOs, on Thursday admonished the Federal Government to proscribe the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, also known as Shi’ites “without any further delay.”
The CSOs gave the call while lamenting the recent clashes between security agencies and Shi’ite members wherein lives were lost and many injured.
They warned that should the Federal Government fail to act within the next 72 hours, they will be forced to stage a mass protest in Abuja in few days to press home their demand.
A statement signed by the convener of the Assembly on behalf of the 22 CSOs, Adodo Solomon, said IMN has become a threat to national security and citizens going about their peaceful businesses in the country.
They also urged the United Nations and all relevant international bodies to warn those behind the IMN, who are domiciled in Iran to stop sponsoring terrorism on Nigeria soil.
Solomon stated that the activities of the IMN must be curtailed before they snowball into hardened extremism and terrorism above Boko Haram.
According to him, another worrisome dimension is the revelation that members of the opposition in Nigeria have hijacked the activities of the IMN to destabilize the peace that citizens are currently enjoying.
The statement reads, “On Saturday October 27, 2018 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) clashed with military personnel in Zuba, Gwagwalada Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The official statement from the military indicated members of the group had attempted to obstruct a military convoy transporting weapons with a view to snatching the consignment.
“IMN’ official position was that its members were on a trek to storm Abuja with one million members to demand the release of their leader, Mr. Ibrahim El-Zakyzaky.
“The confrontation with the military continued on Sunday, October 28, 2018 along the Kubwa Express Way as the IMN members again attempted to storm the nation’s capital. They attacked security personnel, which in turn necessitated the security personnel to take defensive steps.
“IMN issued a statement afterwards to malign the personnel they had attacked by lying that they overheard a conversation about “orders from above” for maximum force to be deployed against their members.
“Monday October 29, 2018 was rendered violent by IMN members, who surfaced this time around in the Karu/Nyanyan/Mararaba axis with the same goal of attempting to overwhelm Abuja in their numbers to carry out violent protests under the guise of demanding the release of El-Zakyzaky.
“This act of criminality forced hardworking Nigerians to trek long distances to get to their homes while children in the affected vicinity have been traumatized by the ringing of gunshots.
“On Tuesday, October 30, 2018, IMN members breached the streets housing strategic government institutions and obstructed the free flow of traffic. This was done ostensibly to trigger a faceoff with security agencies but they were disappointed as their mischief is well known. In their determination to provoke security agencies, the IMN members set ablaze a police vehicle in Wuse 2 where they openly attacked security agents and other citizens randomly.
“Previous demonstrations or protests by IMN members were equally violent. There are enough video clips and pictures on the internet of these people attacking security and military personnel. As is the case now, some of these members carry weapons while a large number of them deploy projectiles of various forms that have left several persons hospitalized with life-changing injuries.
“Another thing that stands out in the IMN violence is the destruction targeted at public and private property. In the last few days under consideration, they willfully destroyed cars belonging to law-abiding Nigerians while also destroying vehicles belonging to law enforcement agents and the military.
”Furthermore, there is a pattern of these IMN members aiming their protests to spill into commercial areas, which gives us the sense that there could be a deliberate ploy to overrun businesses with the intention to loot and pillage.
“In the space of a few weeks, IMN is on the verge of adding Abuja to the list of countries that are not safe for international travel and investment. If they succeed in doing this or if we collectively permit it, then they would have assisted Iran in destroying Nigeria without invading us.
“It is of note that Kaduna State Government had outlawed the IMN as a militarized extremist group that is a clear danger to the society. This decision on the part of Kaduna state government followed the due process established by law and recognized by the constitution, including a Judicial Commission of Inquiry that indicted the IMN.
“Our groups have followed the interventions being made in this matter with keen interest and a large dose of concern chiefly because few organizations and individuals have been objective enough to condemn the acts of terrorism being committed by IMN. What has been dominant is people that are faulting an assumed state high handed response to curtail the destruction being unleashed by the extremists.
“We recognize that some people that think they are being objective have in reality been manipulated by IMN propaganda, which was designed and developed offshore to be ruthlessly efficient.
“The regime of fear, intimidation and sheer brigandage run by IMN in Zaria, Kaduna state before they were dislodged is well known across the country and it is not one that should be repeated in any other part of the world and certainly not in Abuja that is the unifying location for Nigerians.
“We, therefore, caution the appropriate military and security agencies that they have limited time to contain the lawlessness of IMN and take steps to make its members desist from fomenting forthwith. The demanded actions will include identifying the cell leaders that are coordinating these attacks on Nigerians and those with the duty of protecting them.
“Where the authorities fail to rein in the IMN we have no other option than to come out in full to demonstrate that it is not only IMN that has the monopoly to protest. We shall meet the extremist group on the street member for member until they learn to respect the secularity of Nigeria and the supremacy of the Nigerian constitution over dubious sectarian creeds.
“We strongly advise that the Federal Government wakes up to its responsibility and proscribes the lawlessness terrorist organization that IMN has proven itself to be. The hate speech by the organization must be curtailed immediately. Failure for the Federal Government to act within the next 72 hours will force the CSOs in this coalition to stage a mass protest in Abuja on Monday next week.
“The United Nations and all relevant supranational bodies are urged to warn the sponsors of IMN who are domiciled in Iran to stop sponsoring terrorism on Nigeria soil. If its sponsors believe that the poison that the group is spewing on the streets is good then they should give termless visas and one-way flight tickets to the youths they have radicalized to come and take up practice in Iran.”
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