The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shi’ites, has vowed to carry out its annual Ashura procession as well as continue the struggle for the freedom of Its leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
Ibrahim Musa, spokesman of the group made this known in a statement on Sunday, saying the group has never been a threat to Nigeria and its citizens.
El-Zakzaky has been in detention since December 2015 after Shi’ites and the Nigerian army clashed in Zaria, Kaduna state.
The group also condemned an order to arrest its leaders and demolish its structures across the country.
It had earlier been reported that Mohammed Adamu, inspector-general of police, issued the directive to all state police commands and zonal headquarters.
Adamu’s order was said to have been based on IMN’s proscription by the federal government and a protest on June 22 that led to the death of Umar Usman, a police deputy commissioner in Abuja and Precious Owolabi, a youth corp member with Channels Television.
The group alleged that some members are already being harassed in Sokoto state by the security agents.
“It is on record that the Buhari administration, since its inception in 2015, has always used the commencement of the first month of the Islamic calendar, Muharram to persecute, kill and maim us and deny us any space to conduct all our religious rites expected of all Shi’ites,” the statement read.
“This recent order given on the eve of Muharram this year underlines the evil intention of the government to continue this pattern of attacks against Shia Islam and prevent us from conducting all our Muharram religious mourning obligations.
“Already, a parade of show of force by the Sokoto police command in dozens of vehicles has started in a neighbourhood with a large population of members of the Islamic Movement, despite the existence of a substantive court order from a Sokoto high court obtained since 31st August 2019, restraining the police force from curtailing the activities of the Islamic Movement in the state.
“Similarly, in a meeting held in Kaduna, it was decided that the El Rufai’s administration will engage the vigilante groups to clamp down on any Ashura mourning session in Kaduna and environs to augment attacks by the Police command since the police have thus far failed to ‘finish’ the Islamic Movement.”
IMN said it has challenged the proscription order in court.