Shiites Trekking to Abuja May Pose Security Risk, Group Warns


  • Says sect’s culture of blockades should not be allowed in FCT

By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Coalition Against Terrorism and Extremism (CATE) has frowned at the  protest walk embarked upon by the Shiite sect  from their base in Zaria, Kaduna State to Abuja as they continue to press for the release of their leader, El-Zak Zakky, warning that it may pose security threat.

The Coordinator of the group, Mr. Gabriel Onoja, stated this while addressing journalists in Abuja where he called on the federal government to immediately bring an end to the exercise.

He noted that the sect should not be allowed to export their culture of blockade of vital roads to  the nation’s capital, Abuja.

According to him, “With the existential threats facing the country at every turn, the message must be sent out clearly that no religious leader or adherent is above the law. Anyone that tries to further compromise our collective security should be made to answer for their actions.”

Onoja stressed that the federal government owes a duty to protect other Nigerians from the extremism being promoted by the sect. 

He stated: “We urge religious, traditional and political leaders in the North to call this horde to order. Northern elites have a lot of work to do; those northern youths who attend only Islamic centres to the exclusion of contemporary education must be better managed henceforth as dubious scholars often find them willing recruits for extreme doctrines.

“As part of a longer term solution, the government must begin to prioritise mental health as the sanity of the youths engaging in this exercise must be questioned for courting more troubles on behalf of a man whose act of treasonable felony led to the loss of many souls,” Onoha added.

The coordinator stressed that the earlier face-offs by the sect with military and security operatives were not unconnected with their penchant for obstructing public roads and depriving other Nigerians of the right of way. 

Onoja said: “They are able to do this by resorting to violence and considering the extreme nature of the demand they are making it is not impossible to rule out the potential for them to turn violent.

“In the light of the above, CATE strongly condemns the trek by IMN members to Abuja and advised them to call it off while seeking alternate avenues that are less provocative for whatever they think their grievances are.

“Pressing ahead with the trek would confirm reports that it is another attempt to breach the peace while at the same time recruiting and mobilising youths form rival terror group to Boko Haram is threatening to breach the peace by taking on the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).

 “In the meantime, we are calling on the security agencies to address the threat posed by the IMN trek because of the danger it poses to national security and religious tolerance.”