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Shiites defy ban by Kaduna government, vow to continue activities

By Saxone Akhaine (Northern Bureau Chief)   |   09 October 2016   |   4:45 am

ShiitesThe Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites, has rejected ban by the Kaduna State Government on its activities, saying the move is a violation of the group’s rights of association and worship.

“We wish to draw the attention of those behind such an illegal order that the IMN is not an association or a society but a global concept that cannot be banned by fiat. We are, therefore, not distracted by this baseless move. Clearly, reason, logic, the law, constitution, conscience and propriety are all on the side of the Islamic Movement. Nothing can take away our rights as individuals or groups to worship and associate,” said spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, in a statement.

The group clashed with soldiers December 2015 in Zaria, leaving many of its members dead, and resulting in the arrest and continued detention of its leader, Sheikh El-Zakzaky.

Spokesman to the Kaduna State Governor, Samuel Aruwan, had said: “The Kaduna State Government has issued an order declaring the IMN an unlawful society. This action is taken in the exercise of the government’s duty to preserve peace and security in the state, and ensure that all persons and organisations are guided by lawful conduct, and with due allegiance to the Nigerian State and Constitution.”

Aruwan added that the group “has a paramilitary wing and that its members do not recognise or respect the laws of the country, and duly constituted authorities that have the responsibility to secure and administer the nation.”

Questioning the ban, however, the Shiites spokesman asked: “Why didn’t it also talk of prosecuting the Army Generals that were fingered by the Commission as perpetrators of the genocide in Zaria? We cannot be deceived by the hypocritical stance of Governor El-Rufai. The government is fretting, having failed to justify the continued detention of our leader, and having failed to show any rational basis for the whole attack, and are left with no option but resort to absurdity.”

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