AS more voices continued to denounce the activities of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), the Shiite sect, Nigerians in the diaspora, in far away United States have also joined in the protest march at the United Nations Building and Nigeria House in New York City, condemning the Federal Government over its inability to clamp down on the group.
The protesters also, in their demand on Monday, called on the government to speedily prosecute the arrested leader of the group, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.
Led by their spokesperson, Cosmas Collins, the protesters, who carried a banner on which was written, “Prosecute El- Zakzaky now, Stop Iran from Sponsoring terrorism in Our Country,” warned that the IMN, like Boko Haram, might escalate into a full blown terrorist group if ignored.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Collins, in the statement read at the protest ground, copy of which was made available to the Nigerian Tribune, warned, “If the mistake of also pampering the movement is repeated by not prosecuting members of the Islamic IMN for their acts of violence against the state and against citizens of Nigeria, the nation may be on the verge of nurturing another full blown terrorist organisation.”
“The group’s members have mirrored every single crime committed by Boko Haram in its formative years, yet nothing significant has been done to put its members on trial for breaching the peace in manners that resulted in the loss of life,” he recalled.
He, therefore, called for the prosecution of the movement’s leader; Mr Zakzaky, who he said had since been in detention, pointing out that this silence, might act as encouragement for the extremists.
“It may also not be a mistake, in which case the delay in prosecuting detained IMN leaders could be a silent plea for international backing by the Nigerian government.
“It is important the world is able to reassure the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that they have their support for nipping the growing terror of IMN in the bud.
“A clear message must be sent to the government that the firmness with which it deals with the IMN threat is a matter of global interest as any fallout from delay in dealing with the threat posed by the group will affect the whole world,” Collins further warned.
He contended that failure to prosecute these people, including El-Zakyzaky, was making other groups think of coming out as it was now believed that it was fashionable to take on the state without any consequences.
“Therefore, we encourage the government to consider bringing charges of subversion against members of the group for inviting Iranian intervention in Nigeria’s internal affairs,” Collins said, even as he also called on the government to investigate the finances of the group and its senior members to see if they had been beneficiaries of Iranian sponsorship of terrorism.