By Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
As the nation draws close to the first anniversary of the bloody clash between members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai, where hundreds were said to have lost their lives, the movement has assured of peace, stressing that not even the death of the leader, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky was capable of provoking them into violence.
The group, which described as unfortunate the events of 12th and 14th December, 2015, stated that contrary to pictures being painted elsewhere against the reputation of the movement, it remained committed to enthroning peace in the country.
Secretary, Media Forum, IMN, Abdulmumin Giwa, who stated this in an exclusive interview with THISDAY on Wednesday in Abuja, also revealed that the group had regard for the constitution of Nigeria as well as for constituted authorities in the country.
“You can remember in 2014 when the soldiers did everything; it was the leader of the movement that came out in the public to tell the people to calm down. When his sons, three of whom were undergraduate were killed along with 31 members of the movement he told everybody to calm down.
“So you can’t tell me that somebody that has been able to swallow all these difficulties and simply because its leader died will now begin to pick up arms. Violence is never in our ways”, he said.
He claimed the current onslaught against the group was being done for personal reasons due to the fact that the group would never be involved in violence unlike some other groups that the government had been placating with billions of dollars to embrace peace.
While stressing that IMN was a body which stood for Fairness and justice to all irrespective of religion, region and tribe, he disclosed that the movement and its leader had earned various awards in recognition of their contribution to humanity.
“More so, if it was a lawless a group, Col. Jafaru Isa was one time Governor of Kaduna State, he gave Mallam Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky a Peace Award for being the most peaceful movement and that was a Kaduna State Governor”, he said.
He added that when the current Governor of Kaduna State Mallam Nasir El-Rufai lost his daughter, Late Jasmin, the group paid him a condolence visit and El-Rufai in sending his regard said, “he likes the ideas of the Leader of the Islamic Movement for being against injustice, for fighting corruption and indiscipline”.
The publicity Secretary disclosed that the current peace being enjoyed in Zaria today was largely due to the efforts of El-Zakzaky in rehabilitating lots of drugs addicts who used to be a terror to the Ahmadu Bello University environs.
He also wondered why a government would brand a group who had consistently donated blood to the National Blood Transfusion Services, as well as took over support services each time the hospitals goes on strike.
“This movement, except this year, for the past four-five years has always received awards from the National Blood Transfusion Services for being the most blood donating body in the country.
“So, also, you can go to Primary Healthcare Centres and see how much the Islamic Movement has contributed towards Polio Campaign. There are times the doctors go on strike and it’s the Medical team of the IMN that look after hospital. They do a lot of community activities like the environmental sanitations and the rest of them.
“The movement does these at the community levels. Even poverty alleviation and even reformation, in fact, there were times the leader did some reformations on a lot of drugs addict. He reformed them into normal people. So, how can you called these kinds of people lawless”, he queried.