The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), better known as Shi’ites, has said it will continue to fight peacefully for the freedom of Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, its leader, and other members.
El-Zakzaky has been in detention since December 2015 after Shi’ites and the Nigerian army clashed in Zaria, Kaduna state.
IMN said this in a statement on Sunday by its spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, underlining that the group has “never and will never” be a threat to Nigeria and its citizens.
It condemned an order to arrest its leaders and demolish its structures across the country by Mohammed Adamu, inspector-general of police.
The IGP’s order followed IMN’s proscription by president Muhammadu Buhari government, but IMN had challenged the proscription order in court.
According to the group, some of its members are already being harassed in Sokoto state by the security agents.
“It is on record that the Buhari administration, since its inception in 2015, has always used the commencement of the first month of the Islamic calendar, Muharram to persecute, kill and maim us and deny us any space to conduct all our religious rites expected of all Shi’ites,” the statement read.
“This recent order given on the eve of Muharram this year underlines the evil intention of the government to continue this pattern of attacks against Shia Islam and prevent us from conducting all our Muharram religious mourning obligations.
“Already, a parade of show of force by the Sokoto police command in dozens of vehicles has started in a neighbourhood with a large population of members of the Islamic Movement, despite the existence of a substantive court order from a Sokoto high court obtained since 31st August 2019, restraining the police force from curtailing the activities of the Islamic Movement in the state.
“Similarly, in a meeting held in Kaduna, it was decided that the El Rufai’s administration will engage the vigilante groups to clamp down on any Ashura mourning session in Kaduna and environs to augment attacks by the Police command since the police have thus far failed to ‘finish’ the Islamic Movement.”