The Kaduna State Government has ordered the arrest and subsequent prosecution of one Ibrahim Musa who has owned up to being the spokesperson of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).
An order declaring the IMN as an unlawful society in Kaduna State went into effect on Friday, October 7, 2016. Violation of this order attracts penalty of imprisonment for seven years or a fine or both, according to sections 97a and 97b of the Penal Code.
A statement released on Sunday by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Kaduna state, Samuel Aruwan, says that Musa, a few hours after the commencement of the Order, admitted to being a member of the outlawed group, and subsequently identified himself as its spokesman in widely publicized statements.
According to the statement, Musa’s utterances are deemed as a deliberate and determined affront to the government order, hence the law has to take its course.
The government’s statement also directs the state Commissioner of Police to ensure the arrest of Ibrahim Musa to enable his prompt prosecution by the Kaduna State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice.
All security agencies in the state have been directed to vigorously enforce the law, and demonstrate clear resolve by arresting the said Ibrahim Musa, who is further advised to report himself to the nearest police station or any of the security agencies.
The Kaduna State Government has issued an Order declaring the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) as an unlawful association.
A statement issued on Friday by the spokesman for the state governor, Samuel Aruwan, says the government secured an order from the State Executive Council to ban the Islamic Movement from either existing or operating in the state with immediate effect.
In proscribing the group, the government invoked Section 45 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution which empowers the state Governor to take such measures and actions for the promotion and protection of public safety, public order, public morality or public health, or the rights and freedom of all persons in the State.
The statement further explained that the action was to ensure that all persons and organisations were guided by lawful conduct and with due allegiance to the Nigerian state and its Constitution.
With the ban, the statement warns that any citizen of the state, who under any appellation or mutation with the propensity of causing the breakdown of law and order, or operates in a manner dangerous to the good governance of the State, shall be prosecuted in accordance with the Laws of Kaduna State.
The statement reaffirms the commitment of the state government to upholding the right of citizens to practice the religion of their choice as enshrined in Sections 38 and 40 of the Constitution.
Danger To Peace
The statement noted that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Zaria Clashes of 12 December, 2015 indicted the movement as an illegal organisation, operating an illegal paramilitary outfit and having total disregard to the laws of the country and constituted authorities that have the responsibility to secure and administer the country.
The Declaration Order noted that since the clash between members of the movement and soldiers in Zaria in which at 347 persons were alleged to have been killed, the IMN “has overtly continued with unlawful processions, obstruction of public highways, unauthorised occupation of public facilities including schools without regard to the rights of other citizens and the public peace and order of the State”.
The Order noted that “these acts, if allowed to go unchecked would constitute danger to the peace, tranquillity, harmonious coexistence and good governance of Kaduna State”.
In a reaction to the ban, the group said it ‘totally rejects’ the state government’s decision.
A spokesman for the groups, also referred to as Shiites, Ibrahim Musa, said that the group would “give an appropriate response at the appropriate time in appropriate ways” to what he called an affront on their rights”.
After the December 12 clash between the group members also referred to as Shiites and the Army, the leader of the group, Mr Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, was taken into custody.
Since his arrest, he filed a case against the Department of State Service (DSS) that had held him since December 2015.
On Wednesday, aFederal High Court in Abuja hearing Mr El-Zakzaky’s Fundamental Human Rights suit advised parties in a suit to explore the option of resolving the issue through alternative dispute resolution.
Mr El-Zakzaky is challenging his arrest and continued detention by the DSS.
At the resumed hearing of the suit, lawyer to El-Zakzaky, Mr Femi Falana, told the court that his client was being held against his wish without trial since December 14, 2015.
Lawyer to the DSS, Mr Tijani Ghazali, however, told the court that Mr El-Zakzaky was being held under protective custody due to intelligence report which revealed that his life was under threat.
Since his arrest, members of the Islamic group have continued to call for the release of their leader, holding several protests since he was taken into custody.
The Shiites had held protests in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, Kaduna and kano among other states.
On september 10 in Kaduna, members of the group, comprising of women, youths and children, gathered at the popular Leventis roundabout in the state capital, demanding for the unconditional release of their leader and other members.
Chanting songs and blocking major roads, the Shiites feared that the health condition of Zakzaky is deteriorating due to gunshot wounds he sustained.
They vow never to rest until their leader and others are freed.