Chris Steven, Abuja
The Save Humanity Advocacy Centre (SHAC) has written the United States of America over the activities of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as Shi’ites.
The centre specifically frowned at the recent protests staged by members of the group which led to loss of lives and crippled commercial activities in the Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
The letter signed by its Executive Director, Dr. Grace Akatu, SHAC called on the United States to speak up on the side of truth by urging an end to the terrorist activities of IMN and its members in Nigeria.
The letter reads below.
The natural reaction from any patriotic Nigerian with knowledge of the IMN violence would be to condemn many of these statements as meddling in Nigeria’s affairs without the benefit of facts; but we appreciate that countries that took time to urge caution have facts at their disposal, which means their statements must have strayed off-mark owing to a subjective appreciation of the facts on ground.
Far from being “harmless protesters” IMN members that invaded Abuja have only one intent, which is to unleash terror on the law abiding residents of the city. The IMN leader, Mr. Ibraheem El-Zakyzaky, is not being held by Abuja residents but by law enforcement agencies that have arraigned him before a court of competent jurisdiction. It is therefore the height of mischief for IMN extremists to occupy the streets of Abuja, cripple businesses and destroy private property without law enforcement stepping in to protect Nigerians. If the police and army did not stepped in to defend Nigerians and prevent the sect from overrunning the city they would have failed in their duty.
The intervention of the police, which was overwhelmed thereby necessitating the involvement of the army, is a necessity owing to the status of IMN as an outlawed group. This places IMN a mere one level below being declared a terror group even though its actions in the recent weeks have automatically bestowed this status on its members. They are terrorists with links to a state sponsor of terrorism, the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Any country supporting or defending the right of IMN members to attack Nigerian security agents without consequences is directly supporting Iran, which has continued to give financial and logistics support to the group in violation of the etiquette of international relations. Your Excellency is invited to note that all the countries where Iran has deployed sectarian foot soldiers to undermine national balance often end up in trouble. We can point to Lebanon, Syria and Yemen as definite examples where Iran’s meddling sent the individual country into spiral of violence from which there are no guarantees of return to stability or normalcy.
With these worrisome connections, it is distressing that your country continues to refer to IMN extremists as “peaceful protesters”. Even where there is political value in ignoring the hand of Iran in IMN’s disturbances in Nigeria, video footages from the protests confirm that they are anything but peaceful. They deployed slingshots, petrol bombs, stones and other missiles at policemen and soldiers, which leaves one wondering if they expected hugs in return.
The position of the President of the United States, Mr. Donald Trump, on how those hurling stones and sticks at soldiers should be treated is instructive in this matter. In reaction to the migrants’ caravan heading to the United States from Honduras and other South American nations, the US President was categorical in declaring that hurling rocks and sticks against troops would be treated as firearms.
When asked if the US troops deployed to the border will fire on the migrants, Mr. Trump’s response was: “I hope not. I hope not. It’s the military. I hope there won’t be that. But I will tell you this: Anybody throwing stones, rocks, like they did to Mexico and the Mexican military, Mexican police – where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico – we will consider that a firearm. Because there’s not much difference. When you get hit in the face with a rock. Which, as you know, it was very violent a few days ago. Very, very violent”.
The migrants’ caravan as an invading horde is no different from IMN extremists invading Abuja on behalf of Iran. There are risks in treating them as “harmless protesters” when in reality they have left several security operatives with life changing injuries, set fire to police vehicles and vandalized property. These are acts of terror calculated to instill fear and dread in citizens to coerce the Nigerian state into meeting certain demands.
In the United Kingdom, the National Action is a banned group and there are video footages that confirm that its members are not given VIP treatment during arrests – law enforcement agents apply the force needed to affect their arrests.
In the European Union, France, Germany and other member states have proven repeatedly in recent years that they are not in the business of taking terrorists alive. Those that threaten the wellbeing of other citizens are “neutralized” and questions are only asked later and oftentimes the extent of force deployed by the security operatives are considered justified.
The Save Humanity Advocacy Centre therefore considers it unjustifiable, bordering on racism, to ask Nigeria not to take measures against a group known to be leaning towards terrorism. If a group, like IMN, were to begin implementing Iranian interest and agenda in your country we wonder what the response of your law enforcement would be.
NO TO IMN EXCESSES
The interventions made by countries that called for the adherence to the law and consideration for rights issues are often taken out of context by IMN as its members interpret same to imply a license to attack other citizens with guarantee that countries with interest in maintaining human rights will come to their rescue when they face the repercussions of their crimes. Their leader that they are citing as reason for attacking other Nigerians is on trial and the executive has to powers to override the courts on when he makes bail or not. His case can be likened to inmates at the Guantanamo Bay facilities who cannot simply be turned loose on the streets in the interest of the safety of the affected countries.
IMN’s affiliation as an Iranian satellite in Nigeria must constantly be taken into consideration by Nigeria’s partners and friends who must appreciate that the group’s callous activities are unacceptable in a country that is still working hard to recover from the ravages of Boko Haram. Nations that truly love Nigeria must speak up on the side of truth by urging an end to the terrorist activities of IMN and its members.