The Nigeria police on Monday warned members of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites, not to embark on their proposed nationwide procession scheduled for today.
Although the movement has claimed that the planned Ashura procession was an annual religious rite, the police insisted that it was being organised “ostensibly to cause disruption of public peace, order, and security in the country”.
The force, therefore, noted that, in line with the Terrorism (Prevention) Proscription Order Notice of July 26, 2019, the activities of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria had been proscribed.
They consequently declared that all gathering or procession by the group was ultimately illegal and would be treated as a gathering in the advancement of terrorism.
In a statement by Frank Mba, Force Public Relations Officer, the police disclosed that the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had directed the Commissioners of Police in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, as well as their supervisory Assistant Inspectors-General of Police “to put in place concrete measures to avert any planned procession and/or disruption of public peace by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, anywhere in the country.
“The IGP also enjoins the public to avail the Force with useful information as regards the activities of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
“In addition, the IGP has also advised parents and guardians to prevail on their children and wards not to be cajoled into embarking on illegal and ill-motivated activities by anyone or group of persons, under any guise whatsoever,” Mba added.
Unperturbed by the threats, the IMN said on Monday that government should be held responsible for any outbreak of violence during the planned procession today.
In a statement signed and made available to newsmen on Monday by President of the IMN’s Media Forum, Ibrahim Musa, it said the government, in its desperation, was planning to kill innocent security personnel, journalists, and some members of the public so as to later put the blame on members of the Islamic Movement just as they did in July, 2019, in Abuja.
According to the statement, “Security personnel, journalists and members of the public are to be particularly extra vigilant.
“The general public, the media, and the international community should now hold the government responsible for the false flag operation should violence breakout during our usual Ashura commemoration tomorrow, Tuesday.
“The government has already sponsored banner headlines in select Nigerian newspapers, obviously in preparation for falsely unleashing unprecedented violence in our name.
“We want the world to, however, note that our event tomorrow is a peaceful solemn mourning procession that would not harm anybody and it is a religious duty to us. Similar mourning events and processions, like all other religious duties and obligations, are seen to be observed worldwide.
“It is worth remembering that in all the years since the Ashura procession started in Nigeria, participants have never once resorted to violence even in the face of a bloody history of attacks against them by the brutal might of the state.
“The government and anyone else involved in these nefarious plans must therefore be called to order, to uphold the rights of the participants and ensure their total protection everywhere.
“The Buhari government should particularly be held responsible for any harm that may be inflicted on the persons and properties of Ashura mourners or, indeed, anyone.”