Kano State on Tuesday joined some northern states to ban the activities of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, the foremost Shiite group in Nigeria.
Kaduna, Katsina and Kebbi States, all in the north western Nigeria, recently declared the group’s activities, unlawful.
The action came about 10 months after over 300 members of the group 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 it was targeted in an extra judicial killing.
Since then its members have carried out protests in some parts of the states demanding the release of its leaders, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and its members from detention.
The police in Kano State, while announcing the ban in a statement, warned the people of the state especially those who organise and conduct processions in the name of religious rites to desist from doing so or face the full wrath of the law.
“The Kano State Police Command under the leadership of CP Rabiu Yusuf is sounding a warning to especially people who organize and conduct processions in the name of religious rites,” the statement signed by command’s spokesperson, Magaji Majiya, a deputy superintendent of police.
“The commissioner of police boldly warned that the command will not relent in ensuring law and order prevail on any religious group or sect that is trying to become a threat to the public peace and order.”
The police said though it would continue to respect the right of the people of the state to practice any religion of their choice, it would however not allow any group to abuse the right by breaking the law and infringing on other people’s rights in the community and public roads.
It said, “We hope the good people of the state will continue to cooperate with the Command to avert the criminal intent of some few elements in the state and its neighbourhood.”
Kaduna State government had last Friday issued an order declaring the IMN an unlawful society.
It said it took the decision not only to preserve peace and security in the state but also ensure that all persons and organisations were guided by lawful conduct and with due allegiance to the Nigerian state and its constitution.
“The Kaduna state executive council approved the making of this order following deliberations at its meeting of Thursday, 06 October 2016,” Samuel Aruwan, a spokesperson to Governor Nasir El-Rufai, said in a statement.
The government had set up a commission of inquiry to look into the December 2015 army’s attack on the Shiite group.
The Islamic group declined appearance before the panel, insisting that Mr. El-Zakzaky and other members detained, were freed before it could do so.
The Katsina State Police Command had earlier in April banned all processions, rallies and unlawful assemblies of the Shiites and other religious groups.
A statement by the spokesperson of the command, Salisu Agaisa, a deputy superintendent of police, warned that person or group of persons caught violating the order would be arrested and prosecuted.
“The command wishes to inform the general public that it has banned all forms of processions, rallies, gatherings and unlawful assemblies under any guise throughout the state,” the statement said.
The police also asked parents and guardians not to allow their children to be involved in such acts.
“We are calling on parents and guardians to closely monitor their children and prevent them from taking part in such acts, as they could easily be influenced by unscrupulous elements to threaten the relative peace being enjoyed in the state,’’ it said.
A few days later, the Divisional Police Officers, in various towns in Kebbi State ordered the groups to cease all their educational activities or they face the wrath of their might.