From John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), otherwise known as Shiite, on Wednesday declared that it will never resort to violence or take up arms against anybody.
The Islamic group had clashed with the Nigerian army in Zaria on December 12, 2015, leading to the death of many people and the subsequent arrest of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, who is being detained along with his wife and several of his followers.
A statement wednesday in Kaduna by the spokesman of the movement, Ibrahim Musa, dismissed reports that the group was planning to embark on a nationwide attack to demand the release of Zakzaky and other members in detention. However, Ibrahim said there had never been any occasion when the movement, under the leadership of Sheikh Zakzaky ever threatened the peace and stability of Nigeria or engaged in any form of violence throughout its 38 years of existence.
“We have always been the victims of those who are opposed to justice because of our insistence that due process of law should be followed by those in authority.
“For the benefit of doubts, we restate that we will never be distracted by anyone and no amount of provocation or incitement would make the IMN ever engage in any form of violent activity” the statement said.
Ibrahim said further that “Our leader Sheikh Zakzaky has said it many times in his discourses that the large following the Movement enjoys among the Nigerian people is not due to the use of arms by the Islamic Movement, but rather by its adherence to truth and justice for all irrespective of religion, tribe and region.
“It seems those that wrote the story assume that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria operates like some terrorist groups created by the enemies of Islam, who release video clips in dissemination of its message. Such lousy ways are not our modus operandi and we are not anonymous. We have been living as peaceful Muslims for almost four decades and so it is myopic for anybody to attribute violence to us”.
He maintained that the Islamic Movement was still focused on its demand for the unconditional release of Sheikh Zakzaky and all those in detention following what he alleged was a “genocidal attack perpetrated by the army against the Islamic Movement in Zaria.”