Shi’ite group in Nigeria suspends street protests

Rafat Salami, Abuja


The Islamic Movement in Nigeria IMN, a branch of the Sh’iite sect, says it is suspending its street protests in which it had been demanding that government frees its detained leader El-Zakzaky.

A statement published by Ibrahim Musa, the president media forum of the group is coming after the Nigerian government proscribed the group, the group had been holding frequent street protests especially in Abuja, which had become increasingly violent and resulting in multiple fatalities.

The group says “it has temporarily suspended its Free Zakzaky street protests to allow for some new openings into the resolution of the problems, especially the court case instituted by our lawyers on the proscription order made by the federal government this week.”

In that statement the group says it has directed all its members across the country to not stage any street protest warning that “If at all any protests occur anywhere in the country, it might be this notice hasn’t reach those in the field” .

It also accused the security of attempting “to smear” their “image and be seen as unruly people rather than as victims of savage oppression since 2015.”

Meanwhile in proscribing the group, the spokesman of President Muhammadu said Garba Shehu said “the Presidency notes that the banned organisation was taken over by extremists who didn’t believe in peaceful protests and instead employed violence and arson,  driving fear and undermining the rights of others and constituted authority.

“The Presidency agrees that the constitution protects freedom of worship, but not to the detriment of the society, especially where such freedom harms others, and breaks law and order.

Also, High Court in Kaduna state has fixed Monday, August 5, for ruling on the bail application filed by the Shi’ites’ leader and his wife. They both had applied for bail, asking for permission to travel to India for medical attention.

The Shite leader had been in detention since 2015, after clashes between his members and the military turned violent, a chain of events then led to the deaths of at least 300 people.