The Islamic Movement in Nigeria may be in for a new ordeal as the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the arrest of all identified Shi’ite leaders across the country.
He has also directed a team of special police to dismantle the structures of the IMN in the country immediately.
Adamu, in a signal to the operatives dated August 30, 2019, said the force would not allow the Shi’ite members to violate the proscription of the IMN by the court.
He blamed the violent protest by the group on July 22 for the killing of the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations, Federal Capital Territory Police Command, Umar Usman, and a youth corps member, Precious Owolabi.
The IG further stated that a special investigation team set up to probe the murder had gone far in its investigations.
The signal, sighted by our correspondent on Saturday, read in part, “You will also recall that given the odious activities of the movement, the Federal Government obtained an order proscribing the group.
“NIGPOL FORCID (Nigeria Police Force Criminal Investigation Department) directs you (to) ensure that identified leaders of the group and their structures are dismantled and their activities contained.
“You are to inform me of your action for discreet investigation and possible prosecution of violators of the proscription order. Treat as very important.”
The police had earlier arrested 54 Shi’ite members after the July 22 violent clash between the force and the IMN members in Abuja.
But, the fate of the detainees could not be ascertained as the police have failed to provide information on their status.
The force headquarters informed one of our correspondents that the suspects were being held by the FCT police command, but the command in turn directed one of our correspondents to the FCID for further inquiries.
The Shi’ites had been protesting the detention of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who had been in the custody of the Department of State Services for over three years.
El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, held in a detention facility in Kaduna, were recently granted bail by a Kaduna State High Court on medical grounds on August 5.
When contacted for reaction to the planned onslaught against the IMN leaders, the Shi’ites spokesman, Musa Ibrahim, said the group’s leadership was aware of the IG’s order, adding that a statement would be issued today (Sunday).
The Federal Government had on July 30, 2019, proscribed the Islamic Movement in Nigeria following a July 26, 2019 court order which designated the activities of the Shi’ites organisation in any part of Nigeria “as acts of terrorism and illegality.”
Justice Nkeonye Maha of the Federal High Court in Abuja, in her ruling, directed the Federal Government to publish the order in its gazette and in two national dailies. This was subsequently done.
A copy of the gazette titled — ‘Terrorism (Prevention) Proscription Order Notice, 2019’ — described it as “Government Notice No. 79.”
“Notice is hereby given that by the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in suit No. FHC/ABJ/Cs/876/2019 dated July 26, 2019, as per the schedule to this notice, the activities of Islamic Movement in Nigeria are declared to be terrorism and illegal in any part of Nigeria, as proscribed, pursuant to Sections 1 and 2 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 (as amended).
“Consequently, the general public is hereby warned that any person or group of persons participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intentions or otherwise of the said group will be violating the provisions of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 (as amended) and liable to prosecution,” the notice had read.
In the application for the proscription of the group, the Federal Government accused the group of carrying out coordinated violent protests in the country.
It alleged that the “aggressive activities” of members of the group had led to the loss of lives and destruction of private and public property in the Federal Capital Territory and other cities in northern Nigeria.
The Federal Government had claimed that El-Zakzaky’s sole objective was to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state, insisting that the cleric had the full support of Iran to achieve this aim.
The government made the claims in a counter-affidavit it filed against the IMN’s motion challenging the Federal High Court’s order of July 26, 2019 proscribing the group.
The counter-affidavit was deposed to by Enyinnaya Adiogu, a Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operation in the Federal Capital Territory Command.
It stated that El-Zakzaky was influenced by the Iranian revolution, which led to the emergence of Ayatollah Khomeini as the Asian country’s leader in 1979 after Shah was overthrown in a popular uprising.
The government further claimed that the IMN members first pledged their allegiance to Khomeini at their gatherings, and then to their local leader, El-Zakzaky.
It added, “The IMN views itself as a government and Sheikh El-Zakzaky as the only legitimate source of authority in Nigeria and it does not recognise the authority of the Nigerian government and views its leaders, both Muslims and Christians, as corrupt and ungodly.
“That the Islamic Movement in Nigeria began with a Shia Muslim university activist, Ibrahim El- Zakzaky, who became so impressed with the 1979 Iranian Revolution that he wanted one at home (Nigeria).
“That later, El-Zakzaky went to Iran, ultimately becoming a Shia cleric. That after he returned home, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky formed the Islamic Movement of Nigeria and turned it into a vehicle for proselytising and gaining followers in the 1990s.”
El-Zakzaky and his wife had recently been permitted to travel to India for medical care, but their treatment was aborted and they were repatriated to the country following the alleged refusal of the Medenta Hospital at New Delhi to allow their preferred doctors treat them.
The religious leader in a video alleged he was given the option of having his treatment at the hospital or returning to Nigeria, saying that he was still discussing with his wife when unnamed officials returned to tell him to prepare for home.
Following the IMN leader’s return to the country, the Federal Government accused the sheikh of plotting to seek asylum in India and escape from Nigeria.
By The Punch