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IMN Wants Court to Vacate Order Proscribing It as FG Accuses Sect of Planning Iran Brand of Revolution


Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has asked the court to vacate the order banning the sect in Nigeria.

Justie Nkeonye Maha had on July 26, of a Federal High Court,Abuja, while delivering ruling in an ex-parte application filed by the Federal Government proscribed the activities of the movement in the country.

The movement otherwise known as Shiite in a motion on notice filed on August 2, asked the court to vacate the ex-parte order made on July 26, proscribing the existence and activities of the group in Nigeria on the grounds that the said order, was made without jurisdiction and in violation of their fundamental rights.

The group in the motion filed by their lawyer, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana also asked the court to set aside the order ”restraining any person or group of persons from participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intention or otherwise of the IMN, under any other name or platform howsoever called or described in any part of Nigeria.”

When the matter was called on Wednesday, counsel to the Federal Government and Solicitor General of the Federation, Dayo Apata, however informed the court of an application he filed on Thursday, seeking to regularise the process of the government in the suit.

The application was not objected to by the Shiite’s lawyer, Falana SAN, following which the application was deemed to have been properly filed and served by the court.

Falana accordingly asked for a short adjournment to enable him respond appropriately to the position of the government.

In a short ruling, Justice Maha adjourned till September 11, 2019, hearing in the motion filed by the IMN.

Justice Maha granted the application for adjournment and fixed September 11 for hearing of the IMN’s motion praying the court for an order to reverse its proscription as a terrorist group.

The application was predicated on the grounds that “the ex-parte order made on July 26, was made without jurisdiction, as the order was made against a non juristic body.

”This honourable court on July 26, pursuant to an ex parte application brought by the IMN made an order, inter alia, proscribing the existence and activities of the group in any part of Nigeria under whatever form, either in groups or as individuals by whatever names they are called or referred to without affording the Respondent/Applicant the right of fair hearing.

”The said order of the honorable court breached the fundamental right of all members of the IMN in Nigeria to fair hearing guaranteed by Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

The IMN while arguing that there was no urgency warranting the grant of the order ex parte, observed that no motion on notice was filed together with the motion ex-parte.

The group further submitted that the ex-parte order made by the court has determined the fundamental right of the respondent/applicant without affording them fair hearing.

“The order ex-parte was anchored on misrepresentation of material facts and based on suppression of material facts.

”The order ex-parte constitutes a gross abuse of the process of this honorable court,” the group stated.

Justice Maha had on July 26 as part of ruling banning the activities of the IMN ordered the federal government to publish the order in its official gazette, an order which the government complied with on July 29, 2019.

It was described in the gazette as ”Government Notice No. 79,” titled: ”Terrorism (Prevention) Proscription Order Notice, 2019.”

Particularly, pages B597 to 602 of the document spelt out details of the enrolled order of the Federal High Court and the Federal Government’s warning against participating in any of the activities of IMN.

It reads: ”Notice is hereby given that by the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in suit No. FHC/ABJ/Cs/876/2019 dated July 26, 2019 as per the schedule to this notice, the activities of IMN in Nigeria are declared to be terrorism and illegal in any part of Nigeria, as proscribed, pursuant to Sections 1 and 2 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 (as amended).

”Consequently, the general public is hereby warned that any person or group of persons participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intentions or otherwise of the said group will be violating the provisions of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 (as amended) and liable to prosecution.

”(This notice shall be cited as the Terrorism (Prevention) Proscription Order Notice 2019.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian government, on Wednesday, accused the leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, of being sponsored by Iran to replicate the 1979 violent revolution that led to the forceful takeover of power in the country in Nigeria.

In a fresh process it filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja, the federal government stressed that currently, members of the IMN do not recognise President Muhammadu Buhari’s authority.

It argued that the plan of the Shiite leader and his sponsor was to forcefully turn the country into an Islamic State.

The Federal Government, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the suit the IMN filed to challenge the order that proscribed its activities in Nigeria.

It told the court that the relationship between El-Zakzaky and Iran started shortly after the said revolution that toppled a sitting government.

It said that El-Zakzaky who was a Shia activist in the university was “heavily influenced” by the Iranian revolution, and had since galvanised his followers and brainwashed them to unleash mayhem against the Nigerian state and its citizens.

In a 56-paragraph counter-affidavit that was deposed to by Deputy Commissioner of Police in Charge of Operation, FCT Command, Enyinnaya Adiogu, the government told the court that he had the consent of the Attorney General of the Federation, the National Security Adviser, and the Inspector General of Police, to depose to the affidavit.

Adiogu said: “That from history and facts available, the Movement called Islamic Movement of Nigeria founded by El-Zakzaky has its sole aim of creating an Islamic State.

“That Sheik El-Zakzaky was heavily influenced by the Iranian revolution, which saw Ayatollah Khomeini take power in 1979 after the overthrow of the Shah in a popular uprising.

“Khomeini remains the Islamic Movement in Nigeria’s main inspiration.

“That members of IMN first pledge allegiance to Khomeini at their gatherings, and then to their local leader, Sheikh Zakzaky.

“The IMN views itself as a government, and Sheikh Zakzaky as the only legitimate source of authority in Nigeria and it does not recognise the authority of the Nigerian government, and views its leaders both Muslims and Christians as corrupt and ungodly.

“That the Islamic Movement in Nigeria began with a Shia Muslim university activist, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, who became so impressed with the 1979 revolution in Iran that he wanted one at home (Nigeria).

“Later, El-Zakzaky went to Iran, ultimately becoming a Shia cleric.

“That at his return home, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky formed the Islamic Movement of Nigeria and turned it into a vehicle for proselytizing and gaining followers in 1990s.

“That till date, Sheikh El-Zakzaky enjoys the support of Iran in all the activities of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, including the agenda to make Nigeria an Islamic State.

“That as a result of El-Zakzaky Movement’s activities, many Muslim youths have converted to Shia-Islam of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.

“That the main aim of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria is to propagate the ideology in Iran and turn the country (Nigeria) into an Islamic State as was done in the Iranian Revolution of 1979.”

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