Procession: FCT Police, Shi’ite sect brace for ‘war’ · Don’t test our will – FCT Police PRO · Death can’t deter us – Shi’ites
As the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, commonly referred to as Shi’ites set to embark on its annual procession, the FCT police command has warned the sect against testing its will.
This is even as the Shi’ite leadership has dismissed the warning by the police, stressing that even death cannot deter them from the annual pilgrim march.
The march, which is billed to hold on Tuesday, September 10, is coming on the heels of the hearing of a suit challenging the proscription of the IMN by the federal government.
The Federal High Court, Abuja, had fixed Wednesday, September 11 to hear a motion by the IMN, asking the court to vacate the ex parte order it gave on July 26 proscribing its activities in the country.
Justice Nkeonye Maha adjourned the case after hearing counsel to the IMN, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, and the Solicitor General of the Federation, Mr Ayo Apata, SAN, who had applied for more time.
The court had, upon an ex-parte motion by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation declared the group a terrorist organisation.
The IMN, in a notice of motion filed, on August 2, by its lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, particularly sought the court to vacate the “ex-parte order made on July 26, in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/876/2019 between: AGF vs. IMN proscribing the existence and activities of the group in Nigeria under whatever form, either in groups or as individuals by whatever names they are called or referred to.”
The Ashura procession, also called the Day of Ashura, is observed annually by Shi’ite Muslims worldwide to commemorate the death of Husayn ibn Ali in the Battle of Karbala in Iraq.
Husayn ibn Ali known as the third Shia Imam was the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the first Shia Imam.
Speaking on the planned protest in Abuja and other parts of the country, the president, Media Forum of IMN, Ibrahim Musa, said, “We would rather die here than leave since we are not criminals. Our procession will hold on Tuesday in Abuja and major cities in the North, Insha Allah.”
According to him, as a group there have no plans to leave Nigeria or seek asylum in any country, noting that their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, had demonstrated love for Nigeria.
“Our leader, Sheikh Zakzaky, has demonstrated our love for our country, therefore, none of us will run away from this country.”
On the possibility of a clash with the police, Musa said, “Ours is a peaceful religious procession that is why our women and children join us. So, if there is any confrontation, it is the government that may cause it, not us.
“We are ready to sacrifice our lives just as Imam Husayn did in Karbala. We are not going to war, we are going on a mourning procession which is a universal event on that day.”
In a telephone interview with our correspondent, the spokesperson of the FCT police command, DSP Anjuguri Mamzah, said the police were committed to the protection of lives and property, and will not permit any group not recognised by law to disrupt normal activities.
“The only thing I can tell you is that the police in the FCT will not allow any group to interfere with law and order. We are ready,” he said.
The planned march is causing apprehension amongst FCT residents who have had to bear the brunt of long hours in traffic and taking endless detours.
Most of those who spoke to this newspaper off record expressed the worry that it could further worsen the general insecurity in the territory.
Another source in the Ministry of Justice warned that the “belligerent attitude just a day before their proscription suit at the Federal High Court will not speak well of them.”
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