Chris Steven, Abuja
The Advocates of Social Justice for All (ASJA) has called on the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris and other security agencies to arrest, detain and prosecute anyone that goes out in the name of the Shiites’ Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) or its subsidiaries to take part in protests in any part of the country on Monday.
The National President of ASJA, Torkuma Venatius, who made the call in Abuja on Saturday explained that it was clear that the protests planned by the Shiites groups were a cover for mischief and plan to breach the peace across the country.
The Shiites had announced plans to protest in Abuja and other major cities on Monday citing the expiration of a 14-day ultimatum for the release of their detained leader, Sheik Ibraheem Al Zakyzaky as their reason.
This also came against the ban slammed on the Movement by Governor of Kaduna State , Nasir El-Rufai prohibiting all its activities in the state.
The planned protests have been largely overshadowed by an order of the Kaduna state government proscribing the IMN, which it accused of continuing to foment trouble even in the aftermath of a December 2015 clash with the military for which the proscribed Shiite group was indicted.
Venatius said the failure of IMN to call off its protests after the decision of the Kaduna state government signifies the height of irresponsibility and a resolve to test the power of the state since they know that illegal entities would not be allowed to compromise national security by holding protests that are programmed to turn violent.
“This refusal to call off the protests, even after the Kaduna State Government’s decision is a declaration of war on the Nigerian state and government. It is a matter of time before they start planting black flags on public buildings if they are allowed to hold their potentially violent protests.
“We at ASJA therefore call on all Nigerians with conscience to condemn IMN’s plan breach of the peace without any equivocation. Going ahead with the protests is another example of IMN leaders or the Shiites in Nigeria sending their youths on suicide mission. It is a provocation that is simply not needed at any point in time.
“We therefore urge the federal government to direct security agencies, particularly the police to arrest, investigate and prosecute anyone caught planning to or taking part in the protests since Kaduna state government has exposed them as operating illegally.
“Nigerians cannot continue to live under this increasing threat from the IMN. There are Christians, Muslims, agnostics, atheists, animists and others faiths in the country so we cannot continue to live under terror from just one sect. Their demand that their leader who would likely be facing terror charges once arraigned in court should be released unconditionally is therefore not acceptable.
“We are expecting that the government would try him for the offences he committed just like several groups have been demanding all over the world,” Venatius stressed.