Following scores of deaths recorded in several cities in the northern part of the country on Wednesday, occasioned by Wednesday’s violent protests by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), a group, Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) has demanded tough responses from the federal and state governments against the outlawed sect.
CESJET made the call on Thursday in Lagos in a statement by its Executive Director, Joyce Adamu, in reaction to the mayhem, blaming the Shi’ites for daring the state and attempting to create a parallel government and constitution for themselves in the name of freedom of religion.
The centre urged security agencies and government at all levels to hold IMN responsible for the violence it was spreading across several cities, even as it called on the Federal Government in particular to recognise and designate the Shi’ite as a new front for terrorism and seek international support to prevent its funding by Iran.
“The Federal Government must on its part recognise IMN as the new front in the war against terrorism and designate the movement as a terror group so that it can seek international support for preventing its funding from Iran,” the group demanded.
The CESJET described the IMN’s decision to attempt holding processions when it had been proscribed by an order of the Kaduna State government as provocative, saying it was intended to breach the peace, provoke confrontation with security agencies and cause the kind of violent response witnessed on Wednesday.
Also, the Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria (MMWG) has described the investigation and proposed trial of judges of superior courts of record by the Department of State Services (DSS) as a welcome development.
In a statement by its National Co-ordinator, Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim, MMWG said since his assumption of office, President Muhammadu Buhari had not hidden his agenda to stamp out corruption in the Nigerian System and as such, the raid on the suspected judges’ quarters by the DSS was proper.
Noting that there was no report of manhandling of any of the suspected judges in the course of their arrests, the group urged the DSS to be aboveboard by executing its assignment professionally and diligently.
The MMWG also described Wednesday’s security problems in Kaduna and some other parts of the North, which resulted in loss of lives, as unfortunate.
“While members of Shi’ite trying to gather for their annual procession were wrong, the unguarded attack on them by the security agencies was also brutal and reckless. Since the police have announced a total ban on procession and rallies in Kaduna, the group ought to obey the lawful order.
“However, it is high time our security forces learned to regard sanctity of human lives and try to prevent causalities when they are called upon to carry out their assignment. Security agencies are to provide security to prevent loss of lives. When such a duty results in loss of lives, then it is means our security agencies can no longer provide security,” the group said.
It appealed to Nigerians to remain calm and allow the federal and state governments, police and other security agencies attend to the matter decisively.
According to the group, the IMN’s confrontations with citizens in Katsina, Kano, Sokoto and other states is an indication that people across Nigeria support their state governments to outlaw the extremist sect the way Kaduna State did and that the Federal Government must also outlaw the group as part of the nation’s counter terror efforts.
“The Shiite group’s years of terror have made the people across the North to be united against the wave of terrorism by IMN members and that they are ready to stake anything to support the security agencies in curbing their menace.
“The people are vehemently against them in Funtua and Kaduna, which is a wake-up call to the government that it must be proactive and respect people’s will to avoid them taking law into their own hands,” the group said.
It further said: “The leadership of IMN must be held responsible for the latest incidents of violence. They must be told in clear terms that their attempt to make laws for themselves to govern other Nigerians is the height of callousness and to dare the sovereignty of Nigeria is a life threatening provocation.
“We urge Nigerians of all faiths to resist the temptation of being brought down to the level of the IMN by losing regard for the sanctity of human life. They must at all times invite law enforcement agencies to deal with the Shiite menace as they are the only ones legally empowered to do so.
“Our appeal is that security agencies must shake off the blackmail mounted by international NGOs on behalf of IMN to do their work and go after trouble makers. Fanatics cannot be allowed to make the country ungovernable simply because their international allies keep throwing the threat of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the faces of those entrusted with the safety of Nigerians.
“They should unravel the source of police uniform as well as the dangerous and sophisticated weapons found with the Shiites in Kaduna State and Funtua in Katsina State during the violence. Our concern is that their foreign sponsors might be secretly arming them.
“We demand that all other states, relying on the constitution and following the example of Kaduna State, immediately proscribe the IMN and outlaw its activities, including processions that its members now use to launch attacks on Nigerians. An outright ban across all states is especially in the North because IMN has started to exhibit the tendencies of Boko Haram terrorist group and might be affiliating with other foreign terrorists groups such as ISIS and Hezbollah.”