John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN), Mallam Nafiu Baba Ahmed, has said the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiite poses greater danger to Nigeria than the Boko Haram terrorists.
Ahmed stated this while testifying before the judicial commission of inquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government to investigate the December 12-14, 2015, clashes between the Nigerian Army and the Shiites in Zaria.
He said the failure of the government to deal decisively with the alleged excesses of the Shi’ites may be catastrophic for the country.
Ahmed also revealed that the late leader of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf, had some relationship with the Shi’ites prior to forming his own group, adding that both Mohammed and the Shiite leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky had similar attitudes in holding onto their respective doctrines which, according to him, are contrary to Islamic principles.
He alleged that the Shi’ites had recently started adopting the Boko Haram strategy of intimidation and elimination of Ulamas who were opposed to their doctrines, saying that many have refrained from testifying before the commission for fear of the unknown.
Ahmed, who lamented the initial government handling of Boko Haram, noted that small fires become huge conflagrations if not tackled in an effective and timely manner, urging the government to learn from its experience with Boko Haram by dealing decisively with the Shi’ites.
“Failure to act will spell catastrophe for Nigeria,” he added.
The SCSN scribe also emphasised the need for the society to be involved in checkmating the Shi’ites, pointing out that government decisions are usually dictated by “political expediency” which may not always reflect the best interest of the people.
According to him, the Shiite leader was attending Kaduna State Government Security Council meetings during the administration of former Governor Ahmed Makarfi because the former governor regarded El-Zakzaky’s participation as politically expedient due to his large followership.
He attributed the alleged disregard for constituted authorities by the Shi’ites to the policy of “appeasement and complicity” adopted towards them by successive administrations in Kaduna State with the exception of Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) who, according to him, did not condone their activities.
Ahmed further attributed the Zaria clash to “divine retribution” against the Shi’ites for their alleged blasphemous utterances, especially their insults on the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Also in his testimony before the commission headed by Justice Muhammed Lawal Garba, Prof. Isa Mohammed Maishanu of the Usumanu Danfodio University Sokoto (UDUS) said the Shiite have a penchant for violence as their trade mark.
According to him, the series of violent clashes between the Shi’ites and the majority mainstream Muslim population in Sokoto State was as a result of the group’s penchant for provoking the sensitivities of the people in the seat of the Caliphate.
He said based on the activities of the Shiite, it was obvious that they are not interested in peaceful coexistence.
Maishanu suggested the provision of separate institutions for the Shiite and other Muslims as practiced in Pakistan which also has a high population of Shi’ites amidst other Muslims.
He however urged that the “door for dialogue” should not be shut against the Shiite members since they are Nigerians and have nowhere else to go as long as they are ready to avoid provocative attitude and respect the laws of the land.