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Shehu Sani urges Nigerian government to dialogue with Shiites


Senator Shehu Sani has urged the Nigerian government to dialogue with the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) to avoid further crisis in the country.

“If government can sit down on a bench and discuss with bandits, if government can open its gates for bandits, if the government’s representatives can shake the hands with bandits in order to find peace, it can as well find peace by talking to the IMN,” Sani told newsmen in Kano.

Shiites have clashed with Nigeria’s security operatives multiple times in the last three weeks over the continued detention of their leader Ibrahim Zakzaky since 2015.

The most recent clash on Monday, July 22, claimed the life of a deputy police commissioner Umar Usman, who was in charge of operations at the Federal Territory Police Command, a journalist with Channels Television Precious Owolabi and about 11 Shiites. The Shiites claim over 40 of their members died.

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari commiserated with families of the late police chief and the journalist.

But the Shiites Tuesday vowed to continue the protests until El-Zakzaky, his wife Zainab and other members regain freedom.

Nigeria’s police inspector-general Mohammed Adamu Friday ordered a security beef-up across the county.

But Sani, a lawmaker that represented Kaduna Central in the eight Senate, proffered four steps that government could take to resolve the crisis.

Sani asked the Sultan of Sokoto and other religious leaders to offer themselves as guarantors for El-Zakzaky for him to be released to his protesting followers.

This, he said, should be followed by the Shiites stopping all form of protest whether peaceful or violence.

He said the government has  to start moves towards addressing the deaths and destroyed properties of Shiites in compliance with the previous court orders.

He also asked Shiites to stop its relationship with nations outside Nigeria that poses security threats.

Sani said he was optimistic that the issue will be resolved if his options are considered.

He appealed to the Nigerian government to stop all ‘persecutions’ on Shiites to avoid creating more problems.

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