The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu Tuesday said members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) popularly known as Shiites will henceforth be treated as terrorists in line with a court order.
The IGP also described the activities of the group as a calculated attempt targeted at plunging Nigeria into ethno-religious war.
The Police chief, while stating that 63 members of the group, including seven women, have been arrested, said henceforth, the Police and other security agencies will arrest and prosecute any member of the IMN.
This was disclosed at the Force headquarters in Abuja by Adamu during the monthly meeting with senior police officers.
The IG said: “The activities of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria led by Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky has over time evolved to constitute a grave threat to national security, law and order, socio-religious harmony, peace, good governance and the sovereign integrity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The members of the IMN have engaged in extreme radicalism, series of terror-related activities, violence and other unlawful activities which are inimical to the national security interest, good governance, and the corporate existence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“It is obvious from the foregoing that the activities of IMN constitute glaring defiance and/or rebellion against the Nigerian State, calculated efforts to plunge the nation into an ethno-religious war, intimidation of citizens and security agents, disrespect for Nigerian laws and the authority of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Their activities also clearly and consistently negate Section 1(2)(A)&(B) of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act 2013 and Section 2(1)(A)(B)(C) of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act of 2013 and hence, justify their proscription in overriding national security interest.”
He continued: “In relation to the IMN, in view of their increasing engagement of terror tactics and other violent and subversive activities which contravene the Terrorism Prevention Act 2013, as amended, and vide the judicial pronouncement of the Federal High Court, Abuja on 26th July, 2019, the Federal Government has classified them as a terrorist group and has accordingly, proscribed the El-Zakzaky-led Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
“In consequence, henceforth, any person engaged or associating, in any manner that could advance the activities of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria, shall be treated as a terrorist, enemy of the State, and a subversive element and shall be brought to justice within the context of the Terrorism Act. The import of this is that all forms of procession or protest by IMN is now illegal and thus banned.”
On the actions that will be taken by the police and other security agencies, the IG said: “We have arrested 63 people including seven women. If the members decide to come out again, we will get them arrested and we shall prosecute them under the Terrorism Act of 2013 as amended.
“The police and other security agencies are fully committed to giving full effect to this judicial pronouncement in the interest of our internal security and national cohesion.”
He urged for the support of members of the public in the provision of information that will aid in the identification of the locations of the IMN members and their mentors as well as in working with the police in apprehending and bringing them to justice.
He however clarified that Nigeria is a secular State with constitution provisions guaranteeing the freedom to practice our faiths. This, however, must be exercised in a manner that will not threaten our national security.
He said: “While all adherents of the Shiite Sect in Nigeria remain free to continue to practice their faith and shall be guaranteed adequate security to so do as the Judicial Order does not stop them, the El-Zakzaky-led Shiite Islamic Movement in Nigeria which does not recognise nor accept the Constitution and Government of the Federation is the sole organisation that has been classified as a terrorist organisation and proscribed.”