Kaduna government releases gazette on Shiite ban

El Rufai

El Rufai

• Vows to promote citizens’ rights
• Islamic group condemns clamp down on members

The Kaduna State government has said it would respect the fundamental rights of citizens, even as it released a gazette banning the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), yesterday.

Kaduna State Gazette No.21 of October 7, 2016 declared IMN an unlawful society.

Members of the group, however, said the government had violated their rights and unlawfully detained adherents during processions and performance of religious obligations.

Media aide to Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Samuel Aruwan, told reporters the government “did not and cannot ban any religion, but it has a duty to declare unlawful any group that threatens peace and security.”

IMN spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, in a statement, said the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC) had directed Nigerian authorities to immediately release people detained, last week, during the commemoration of Ashura.

He said: “The detained were among supporters of IMN targeted by security forces across several states in northern Nigeria in a continuing crackdown on the organisation and its mainly Shia followers. Police and army gunfire killed over a dozen people during the processions, last Wednesday, and thugs hired by the authorities, to sabotage the event, beat many others. Places of worship associated with the IMN were also attacked. They are prisoners of conscience. This is unfortunate and a gross miscarriage of justice.”

Aruwan recalled that a judicial commission of inquiry chaired by Justice Muhammed Lawal Garba had recommended the proscription of IMN.

“It solemnly declared unlawful a specific group that continues to threaten public order in the state. The IMN was never a registered organisation and it refused to conduct itself in full adherence to the laws of this state,” he said.

“Other groups in the Shiite tradition are active in Nigeria. Like adherents of all other faiths, they are free to practice their creeds without injuring the rights of others. Kaduna State has suffered and endured too many calamities, triggered by persons and groups that insist on foisting their faith or political preferences on others .”

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