Kaduna denies banning Shi’ites, but says group is ‘illegal’
The Kaduna State Government said on Wednesday that it had not placed any ban on Shi’a Muslims in the state.
Mr Samuel Aruwan, the government spokesman said at a news briefing in Kaduna, that what the government did, was to declare the operation of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) illegal, as the group was not registered.
“Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) was never a registered organisation and it refuses to conduct itself with full adherence to the laws of Kaduna state.”
He added that the group had consistently blocked roads and inconvenienced road users.
“It occupy without permission, facilities that did not belong to it, and it has ignored the law and neglected the obligations of civility,” he added.
Aruwan said that the IMN should follow due process and get the required government certificate for it to operate as an organisation.
He noted that other groups that practice Shia Islam were not included in the ban.
The government spokesman also dismissed insinuations that the state was trying to muzzle religious freedom, stressing that the restriction on the IMN has nothing to do with the right to worship.
“The government has a duty to uphold fundamental right and security of everyone.
“This involves ensuring that nobody exercises their rights in ways that restrict the right of others or subject them to danger, distress or violation of their humanity,” he said.
According to him, all residents are free to practice whatever religion they profess, as guaranteed by the Constitution.
He said that government would only interfere if, in the exercise of such right, the person infringes on the rights of others and by putting danger to public order and safety.
“It is the fundamental obligation of the government to preserve the security and uphold the right of all citizens.”