John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has given a further insight on the decision to ban the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), declaring that the movement appears like an insurgency waiting to happened.
In an interview with journalists at the Government House, Kaduna, yesterday, the governor alleged that the group is a political organisation, and the objectives of its leader, Sheikh Ibrahim, who is currently in detention, is to gather enough followers to effect an Iranian type of Islamic Revolution in Nigeria.
He said the media should stop referring to the group as Shiites because there are many Shiites groups that don’t belong to the IMN.
According to him, the movement is a serious threat to the sovereignty and stability of Nigeria as it has no regards for constituted authorities.
He said the declaration of the group as an unlawful society by the state government was done with all sense of responsibility, regretting that some media outlets that were not informed about the issues presented government’s action in different ways which were misleading.
“We cannot ban any religious practice,
what we did is to say that IMN is an unlawful society and we derived the power to do this under the Penal Code that was passed in 1963. So it is not a new thing.
“The governor can declare any organisation an unlawful if it poses a threat to security, peace and governance of the state and we concluded, after receiving the report of the judicial commission of inquiry that looked into the clash between the IMN and the army, that the IMN causes a threat to the peace and security of the state.
“We did not ban Shiism, we did not ban Shiites, we did not say they cannot practise their religion because in Kaduna State, there are at least two Shiites organisations that we know.
“There are Alfakalin Foundation and Rasulaazam Society. These are Shiites organisations and they are not outlawed because all they do is to preach their brand of Islam and they practise their brand of Islam and they are free to do so. Both are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria. They recognise the constitutional order in Nigeria. They recognise President Muhammadu Buhari as President of Nigeria. They recognise El-Rufai as Governor of Kaduna State and they obey the laws of Nigeria, they do not carry arms, they do not block public highways, they do not occupy schools,” the governor explained.
He said: “The IMN does not recognise the constitution of Nigeria, they do not recognise Buhari as the President of Nigeria, they do not recognise me as Governor of Kaduna State because they had their governor in Tudun Wada. I think he was killed during the clash.
“They have their paramilitary wing, they call them Horras. They train them in violation of our laws. They do not accept that any law in Nigeria applies to them.
“They block public highways, they occupy schools when they are doing their processions and they feel that to practice their religion, they have to infringe on the right of others, that is completely wrong.
“I want to ask you, if you put all these facts together, what does IMN looks like? IMN looks like an insurgency waiting to happen.”
El-Rufai said the judicial commission of inquiry which investigated the clash between the army and the IMN had recommended that the group should be proscribed because they are not registered and they have no regard for constituted authorities.
“The IMN is a political organisation. The objective of El-Zakzaky is to gather enough followers to effect an Iranian-type of Islamic Revolution in Nigeria and you know what that can cause.
“Nigeria is not 100 per cent Muslim that you can do Islamic revolution. It is a recipe for serious crises. I laugh when some people who are not informed on this subject are sympathetic to him, talking about human rights.
“What he has in plan for you, you will not have any human rights. Anybody who tries to say Nigeria will be an Islamic country, do you know how much crisis he is trying to create? That is the agenda. So let us understand this clearly.
“This IMN is a very serious threat to Nigeria’s sovereignty and stability.
We have taken certain measures that have curtailed some of their excesses and we remain opened to talk to their members like any citizen,” the governor said.