Famous constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, has said that the government of president Muhammadu Buhari is unserious in proscribing the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, popularly known as Shiites, saying that it is unconstitutional on the grounds that a religious group could not be banned.
Ozekhome said this in a statement on Saturday, faulting Friday’s order of the Federal High Court Abuja proscribing the sect as a terrorist group.
According to the senior advocate of Nigeria, the proscription is discriminatory, under a government that he said has refused to take such step against killer herdsmen.
The proscription is a violation of the rights of the members of the group guaranteed under section 38, 40 and 41 of the Constitution, he said.
“The Constitution is ruthlessly being shredded by an intolerant and overbearing civilian dictatorship.”
He added, “You can’t ban religion, a people’s belief.
“There is also freedom of thought, conscience, and religion in section 38, while sections 40 and 41 allow for freedom of movement and association.
“The proscription by the government of the Shi’ites religious group is highly discriminatory, unconstitutional, as was the case of Indigenous People of Biafra.
“What group could be more terrorist than the Herdsmen and their known anchor, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association that has held Nigeria down by the jugular for years, killing, maiming, burning, raping, turning Nigeria into a crimson field of a bloodbath?
“Until the government bans and outlaws these, it is certainly not serious.
“They are demanding for the release of their leader still kept in government dungeon in spite of several court orders.
“The Shi’ite group is a religious group, like the President’s Sunmi group.”