The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) also known as “Shiites” in reaction to the Military’s defiant stand said it was “not expecting an apology” from the Nigerian Army, seeing that it had remained “arrogant and uncivil” despite “holding” 700 followers of the sect in detention.
The General Officer Commanding (GOC), 1 Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army, Major-General Adeniyi Oyebade, had said the military did not hold the sect any apology over the December 12 clash with soldiers, maintaining that the military could not fold its arms and watch any group or sect threaten the peace and stability of the country. In his words; “They are like any other sect in the land, but as long as they obey the law of the land, no problem, but if any group chooses to challenge the authority of the land, it means they do not value the sanctity of life and the constitution of Nigeria.”
“Army has paid heavily with the blood of its officers and men to protect this country, so we have no apology to any group, either Shiites Islamic sect, Christian sect, even pagan sect that is country.”
The Islamic Movement of Nigeria through the sect’s media forum, Ibrahim Musa, said the army was still detaining over 700 of its members in various military facilities in Zaria, Jaji and Kaduna.
“We have a list of about 700 of our members who are currently missing some of which are in detention with the army at Basawa Barracks, Nigerian Army Depot in Zaria, Jaji Cantonment and 1 Mechanised Division in Kaduna.” “We categorically refute in strong terms the claims of the GOC that none of our members is currently with the military. The army is desperate to cover up its indefensible crime against humanity, indiscriminate killing of defenceless and unarmed civilians in Zaria.”
“We challenge the GOC to come up with a single occasion when the Islamic Movement in Nigeria under the leadership of Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky ever threatened the peace and stability of Nigeria or engaged in any form of violence throughout its 38 years of existence”.
“The IMN has never been armed and is not armed and does not operate or support any form of armed struggle. It is rather a movement that believes in extending its message of fairness and justice to all irrespective of sect or religion in a peaceful manner”
“As a matter of policy, the IMN has never and will never engage in any form of violent activities no matter the level of provocation”.
“This is evident in the incident of the killing of 34 members of the movement including three biological sons of the leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, by the Nigerian army last year”.
“IMN believes that even the Nigerian army was aware that the movement and its members were unarmed and defenseless when they launched their brutal attack of indiscriminate killings of men, women and children, judging by the nature of the attack, which was actually pre-planned”.
“It is therefore laughable for the GOC to claim that the army had no issues with the Islamic movement when the army had killed six biological sons of El-Zakzaky, his elder sister and over one thousand of his followers in just 18 months”.
“The GOC was actually right in his statement that they ‘know the business of violence’ which was of course what they displayed in Zaria in contravention with the rule of law and order to which he is now trying to convince the world that they are ‘guardians of democracy’ in yet another contradictory statement”.
“Still on the army’s ‘guardians of democracy,’ the GOC stated in a sense of arrogance and lack of civility, that they have ‘no apology’ for the killing of over 1,000 unarmed civilians including women and children, we say, in as much as no member of the movement is expecting any apology from the army for its crime in Zaria, he should tell that to God his creator and the creator of those they killed in Zaria.”
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria is a religious and political organization based in the northern region of Nigeria. The Islamic Movement is headed by Ibraheem Zakzaky, a Shia cleric.The movement conduct most of its spiritual activities in Husainiyya Baqiyatullah, located in Zaria. According to Islamic Human Rights Commission, the Islamic Movement has thousands of Muslims from both Sunni and Shia schools of thought who are affiliated to it. Movement has been known as a non-violent Islamic movement for years.The movement has organised peaceful pro-Palestinian demonstrations on annual basis for over 33 years across Nigeria and particularly in the state of Kaduna. IMN members often hold processions, mainly in Zaria, to raise awareness on their movement, which also advocates the liberation of the Palestinian territories controlled by Israel.The movement gatherings though have been attacked several times by both Boko Haram and the Nigerian army.
This movement is noted for introducing Shia Islam to Nigeria in the 1980s. Before 1980, almost all Nigerian-Muslims were Sunni. Clashes between Sunni and Shia residents of Nigeria followed the assassination of Imam Umaru Danmaishiyya, who was known for his fiery anti-Shia preaching.
Omolara Adegoke- Abuja
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