- Shiites refute alleged plot to abduct military officers
John Shiklam in Kaduna
The 1 Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, has offered a N1 million reward to anyone with any useful information that could lead to the arrest of the abductors of Colonel Samaila Inusa who was kidnapped in the state on Saturday.
The military officer, serving with the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Jaji, near Kaduna, was abducted at about 7.30 pm when he went to visit his in-laws at the Kamanzo area, near NNPC junction, Kaduna.
Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Abdul Usman who disclosed this in a phone interview with THISDAY, said any information would be treated with utmost confidentiality.
Usman said the culprits were yet to communicate or demand for any ransom as is common with kidnappers.
However, sources said the army has launched a manhunt for the abductors in a bid to rescue the colonel.
Also, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as the Shiite sect, has distanced itself from reports that it plans to kidnap military officers to demand the release of its leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky.
Zakzaky has been in detention since his arrest following the sect’s followers’ clash with the Nigerian Army in Zaria between December 12 and 14, 2015.
The presidency was reported to be harbouring a suspicion that the Shiites might have been behind the abduction of Colonel Inusa.
But IMN, in a statement by its spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, described the reports as mischievous and calculated to give the movement a bad name.
According to him, “Our attention has been drawn to a false, unsubstantiated and mischievous claim that looks more like a planned operation aimed at painting the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) black of some ‘intelligence’ report that the IMN may plan the kidnapping of military officers for ransom to force the release of our revered leader, His Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky.
“Typically, this was followed by the alleged kidnap of an army officer in Kaduna with the Nigerian Army issuing a statement calling on the public to give information that would lead to the arrest of the perpetrators.
“Soon, some media outlets were quick to quote these malicious sources linking the IMN with the alleged kidnapping.”
He maintained that it was “obvious that the government and its army were going further with their plan of campaign of calumny and false propaganda against the movement ranging from smear documentaries on television networks, advertorials in newspapers, sponsoring fake non-governmental organisations and engagement of some very dubious characters to malign the IMN and its leadership, to engaging in organised crimes and attributing same to the Movement”.
The statement declared that the Shiites under the leadership of Sheikh Zakzaky has never and will never engage in any form of crime to meet any of its objectives.
“Crime and criminal activities are fundamentally sinful and are not in our character. The Islamic Movement knows that due to official administrative ineptitude and official negligence of constituted authority, a lot of crimes including kidnapping are prevalent in the country.
“As a religious body, the IMN condemns and preaches against all forms of crime. Therefore, it is virtually illogical and unreasonable for anyone to presume that the IMN would turn around to engage in such acts of immorality,” the statement said
The sect further maintained that it is a peaceful mass movement, with enlightened and responsible members, adding that for close to four decades now, it has conducted its activities in the most civilised manner and “cannot in any way be derailed from that golden track record”.
“IMN will therefore never be lured or diverted into any form of crime or violence. We are forced to believe that the government and its army are resorting to these vicious campaigns in desperation.
“They wish not only to bury their crimes against humanity, but also to justify the bestiality they meted on the innocent and unarmed members of the movement between 12th and 14th of December 2015, including burning IMN members alive, sexual mutilation and harassment of women, as well as abduction and illegal detention of members including the leader of the movement, besides killing over 1,000 unarmed citizens,” the statement alleged.