A concerned group under the auspices of Centre for Democracy and Development, has condemned the attacks on members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, the country’s Shiite sect across the country.
The group warned in a statement on Thursday, that such violence against a religious is capable of radicalising its members.
Idayat Hassan, Director of the Abuja-based CDD, warned that “we have enough insurgencies and violent conflicts in Nigeria and the Centre for Democracy appeals to authorities and the civil populace to beware of pushing out country to more violent conflicts.”
More than eight members of the IMN group were killed in a wave of violence against the sect that began in Kaduna and then spread to, at least, two other northern states.
The IMN issued a statement late Wednesday saying that no fewer than 13 of its members had been killed in multiple clashes with the police and some hoodlums in Funtua, Sokoto and Kaduna.
Last week, the Kaduna State Government announced a ban on the activities of the Shiite members, describing the group as an unlawful society.
Days later, Kano, Katsina, and Kebbi States followed suit, saying the proscription was due to the group’s unlawful processions, obstruction of public highways, and unauthorised occupation of public facilities without regard to other citizens and the public peace.
The proscription came ten months after over 300 members of the sect were killed by soldiers who accused them of blocking a road and plotting to kill the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, a lieutenant general.
The IMN denied the charges, saying its members were targeted in an extra judicial killing, and had continued to demand the release of its leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who had been detained since then.
“This act of the Kaduna State Government has been a trigger that unleashed these attacks on members of the Shi’a community all over the country,” said Ms. Hassan.
“It is estimated that there are about three million members of this religious community all over the country and it is very irresponsible for a State Government to proscribe their operations.
“So far, the army has killed six out his (El-Zakzaky) seven sons and now his organisation has been proscribed in Kaduna State while their members are being attacked all over the country.
“It appears that there is an attempt to push the Shiites in Nigeria to popular revolt.”
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