The Kaduna State Government on Wednesday officially released a Gazette on Ibrahim El-Zakzaky led Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, that has been declared unlawful society.
The government disclosed that it “did not and cannot ban any religion, but it has a duty to declare unlawful any group that threatens peace and security.”
Addressing a news conference in Kaduna, Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, said government upholds religious freedoms and all constitutional rights of every resident to practice the religion of their choice.
Mr. Aruwan noted that it is fundamental obligation of the government to preserve security and uphold the rights of all citizens both to practice faith and not be imperiled or be distressed by the way others exercise their faith.
It would be recalled that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry chaired by Justice Muhammed Lawal Garba, along Prof. Auwalu Yadudu, Special Adviser on Legal matters under late Gen. Sani Abacha; Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; former minister of Foreign Affairs; Afakriya Gadzama, former Director General State Security Service, among others recommended the
proscription of the IMN.
Mr. Aruwan stressed that: “It solemnly declared unlawful a specific group that continues to threaten public order in the state. The IMN was never a registered organization and it refused to conduct itself with full adherence to the laws of this state”
He added that IMN blithely ignored the law and neglected the obligations of civility.
According to him: “Other groups in the Shia tradition are active in Nigeria. Like adherents of all other faiths, they are free to practice their creed without injuring the rights of others”
“Kaduna state has suffered and endured too many calamities, triggered by persons and groups that insist on foisting their faith or political preferences on others. It is a hallmark of civilization that every assertion of rights by a citizen is done with full acknowledgement of, and respect for the rights of other citizens”
Speaking on the released of the gazette, Mr. Aruwan said: “Kaduna State Gazette No.21 of 7th October 2016 has declared the IMN an unlawful society.
The Gazette noted that:
“The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the clashes between the group with the appellation “Islamic Movement in Nigeria”(IMN) and the Nigerian Army in Zaria between Saturday 12th and Monday 14th December 2015,found as facts inter alia that: The Islamic Movement in Nigeria is an unregistered society and recommended that immediate steps be taken by the Kaduna State Government to proscribe it.”
“The members of the movement have over the years engaged in acts of aggression and violence against individuals and communities resulting in clashes with security agencies which culminated in the recent deaths of at least 347 persons”
The movement has constituted itself into a parallel government with a uniformed paramilitary wing in complete disregard to the constitution and laws of Nigeria”
The movement has overtly continued with unlawful processions, obstruction of public highways, unauthorized occupation of public facilities including schools without regard to the rights of other citizens and public peace and order of the state” the gazette said.
Mr. Aruwan added: “Gentlemen of the press, these are the facts. There is a common law in Nigeria, and it serves to protect everyone. The law courts are the appropriate platform for any citizen to challenge any legislation or order they consider improper. No citizen or group of persons can decide to disobey a valid law, without expecting that law enforcement will do its work”
“We have warned that mob action will not be permitted under any guise. The duty of every citizen is to report every illegal action or suspicious activity to the security agencies” he maintained.