The police high command yesterday outlawed processions and activities of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) nationwide.
Communicating the position of the Federal Government in the wake of the sect’s proscription by the court at a press conference yesterday in Abuja, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, warned that any person associating in the group’s name henceforth would be treated as a terrorist and tried under the Terrorism Act.
He said the force and other security agencies were committed to giving full effect to the judicial pronouncement in the interest of internal security and national cohesion.
The IGP accused members of the sect of pledging allegiance to foreign nations with the intent to destabilise Nigeria.
Adamu held that the Islamic movement had over years constituted a serious threat to good governance, sovereignty, security and the corporate existence of the country.
He clarified: “Hence, it is to be emphasised that while all adherents of the Shiite sect in Nigeria remain free to continue to practice their faith and shall be guaranteed adequate security to so do as the judicial order does not stop them, (but) the El-Zakzaky-led Islamic Movement in Nigeria which does not recognise nor accept the constitution and government of the federation is the sole organisation that has been classified as a terrorist organisation and proscribed.”
The police chief also announced the recruitment of 40,000 persons for community policing across the federation.
He said: “The breakdown of the community policing deployment plan covers the recruitment of 40,000 community police officers (CPOs) across the country in the interim. The CPOs will be recruited from within where the prospective applicants reside and an average of 50 CPOs are to be engaged in each of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs).”
Besides, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the Niger Delta Self Determination Movement (NDSDM) have faulted IMN’s proscription.
Briefing newsmen on the launch of a book, ‘’Thy Will Be Done: A Portrait of Onaiyekan’’ and the 50 years of his ordination as a priest in Abuja, the cardinal said the development portends danger for the other religious organisations.
According to him, “If this is allowed to go, the government can one day get an ex parte order from the court and proscribe any other religious organistions.”
Onaiyekan argued that the Shiites have been protesting because their leader had been held in custody in defiance of court orders.
NDSDM’s founder, Mrs. Annkio Briggs, flayed government for wielding the big stick, insisting that the disbanded body never declared a war against the Nigerian state.
She said it was wrong for the current administration to have taken a similar measure against the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
However, a Shiite non-governmental organisation, AlThaqalayn Cultural Foundation, cautioned the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against using Nigeria as another testing ground for their struggle for regional supremacy.
It’s Secretary-General, Hamzah Muhammad Lawal, told newsmen in Kaduna that Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky had not completed his migration from Sunni activism to Shiite evangelism.
He, therefore, alleged that the IMN, under his leadership, was a fake Shiites’ movement, maintaining that the organisation was not another name for Schism neither is it a synonymous.
Lawal appealed to Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i to drop his case against El-Zakzaky and President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the olive branch to members of the movement.
Also yesterday, the Kaduna State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Aisha Dikko, urged all parties in the homicide case involving El-Zakzaky to respect rule of law and court proceedings.
Her admonition follows utterances of the lawyers representing the detained Islamic sect leader in the capital city.