IMN: Danfulani, Heretical Wailing For A Lost Cause


Uche Madu John

It might have been caused by his recent detention but the Chairman of Centrum Initiative For Development And Fundamental Rights Advocacy (CEDRA), Dr. John Danfulani has totally lost the plot. It is one thing to be the activist – constantly holding elected officials to their promises and demanding that they are accountable. It is another thing to hide under the ‘credibility’ gained from activism to attempt pulling the wool over people’s eyes.

Danfulani’s recent tirade in support of the Shiites as embodied in the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) clearly revealed a man battling ghost as he attacked every other person, organization or sector for the breach of security triggered by the IMN. He clearly avoided censure for the main culprit, IMN, whose members he tried his best to portray as the victim.

A wise teacher once reminded me in my school days, “there is a wrong way to say the right thing”. In this Danfulani excelled. It is not deniable that we have a real issue on our hands and anyone calling attention to this should be commended. But to place the blame for the problem on the doorsteps of every other person except the real source of the problem is irresponsible, counterproductive and dangerous.
Shiism is a globally expressed brand of Islam, no one is contesting that.

The problem in Nigeria is that IMN as the expression of Shiism has become tainted to the extent that its members are on about the same level of radicalization as the Boko Haram terror group; its doctrine includes the disavowal of the government of Nigeria which it reaffirmed as recently as a few days ago when it repudiated the Federal Government with an oath to never recognize it even though the same fanatics swear by the authority of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

A further expression of hatred for Nigeria’s secularity is the penchant of IMN members to unleash discomfort on other Nigerians with their processions that had tyrannized not a few Nigerians for years until more recently when intervention of security agencies forced a toning down – Danfulani was possibly in some sort of detention in those years not to have been aware of such infractions on the rights of other Nigerians.

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But in his self serving treatise, this emergency activist claimed that “The latest phase of trampling on rights of Shiite Muslims in Nigeria started in December of 2015 in Zaria, Kaduna State” without providing context or background for better understanding of how IMN members had trampled on other’s rights. The entire tirade suggested that there is an express government directive to purge the nation of Shiite as opposed to the existing laws that mandate security agencies to protect Nigerians from threats.

This intent at mischief thus manifested in the unsuccessful attempt at pushing the conspiracy theory that there is a concerted ‘trampling’ of Shiites when the reverse is the case. It is this misinformed position that sought to paint clash between IMN and Police in Kano as a continuation of the military operation that followed in the wake of an attempt on the life of the Chief of Army Staff by the sect members in Zaria almost one year ago.

This mischief reduced the findings of the Kaduna State Judicial Commission of Inquiry to reactions to the December 2015 incident when in actual fact that commission had the benefit of hearing testimonies about incidents that spanned decades, including the militarization of the sect and its aggressive drive to recruit and radicalize youths. The decision of Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai to proscribe IMN derives from the finding of this commission and can therefore not be dismissed as a measure to clamp down on religious or sectarian expression but rather it was a step taken to save the rest of the state’s population from the toxin spread by the IMN.

As has been the case since IMN declared war on the country – fighting security agencies on the streets and unleashing satanic propaganda – Danfulani conveniently side stepped the report of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) which recommended the prosecution of IMN leader, Sheik Ibraheem AlZakyzaky for precipitating the December incident. Even if security agencies were to comply with his recommendation, the uncovered plot by IMN hardliners to spring him out of custody presents a problem. But that is the subject of another discussion.

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With members continuing to use anything – demand for AlZakyzaky’s release, Ashura procession, or just any other loophole to take to the streets, it was a matter of time before adherents of other beliefs found it necessary to repel what they perceived as a growing threat. Had IMN not used it propaganda to box security agencies into tight corners they possibly would have been on hand in significant numbers to prevent the public uprising against Shiites in Kaduna, Katsina, Kano and Sokoto states. State governors who are faced with this threat did the right thing if they outlawed IMN as chief security officers.

Having been heavily criticized for not preventing public uprising against IMN members, the Nigeria Police Force deployed on the strength of intelligence report to prevent what could have turned out to be a major disaster but Danfulani opted to see this differently. Instead he saw a sect that was being framed; he may wish to explain what he knows about the distribution of the series of Iranian origin weapons that have been intercepted in the past. What is bunkum is for some commissioned activist to try lying on behalf of a group that is bold enough to take on the state. The police that ordinarily should be responding to maintaining peace on the streets found itself under attack and possibly responded to the situation, which has now added the Kano clash to the list of instances that IMN has attacked law enforcement agents.

If the Nigeria Police Force rightly saw itself as neutral IMN did not as it has lumped every security, military and paramilitary outfits into one, its radical members see uniforms that say “Nigeria”, a concept the Shiite sect cannot tolerate on account of its rejection of a secular state. It has therefore done all it can through its spokespersons and paid minions to draw correlations where none exists. It is selling the story of concerted efforts to wipe out its members even when it is clear that it is this group that would rather see the demise of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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IMN would however have to chose its commissioned activists carefully so it can have its perverted version of events told by persons whose sanity would not be questioned.

In this particular instance we have the activist attacking not just the designated enemies as per security agencies, he extended his vitriol to media for not reporting and analyzing events from the IMN viewpoint; he stopped short of labelling Foreign missions and representatives of international governmental and non governmental organizations in Nigeria as stupid for not rushing to deliver a guilty verdict on the security establishment while declaring IMN fighters as not guilty. Even the US State Department was not spared for refusing to use judgmental words in the statement it issued. If this was the brief Danfulani got from his client then he should be worried about a sect that has declared everyone an enemy including those who were once misled to speak for its cause.

What Danfulani must do going forward is to reassess his position. He has to seek help in case he is suffering post traumatic stress disorder as a fallout from his recent detention or that he has contacted persecution syndrome from the IMN in the course of rubbing shoulders with the group’s commanders. He should also strongly consider identifying as a Shiite in case that would help a few gullible readers but his bunkum and that is for those who can believe anything coming from that sect. But he should stop assailing our sensibilities with the kind of heresy he is spreading around about the right to worship God in a manner that brings discomfort and more recently death to others.
Uche contributed this piece from Badagri Good Governance Initiative {BGGI}, Lagos.



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