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‘Don’t force Shiites to go underground’

The Accountable Leadership for Better Nigeria Initiative (ALBNI), a non for profit organisation, has tasked the Federal Government to embrace political measures to resolve incessant…

The Accountable Leadership for Better Nigeria Initiative (ALBNI), a non for profit organisation, has tasked the Federal Government to embrace political measures to resolve incessant confrontations between members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and the Nigerian Police with the aim of bringing an end to increasing violence and loss of lives.

In a statement jointly signed in Abuja by its President Remi Adebayo and Secretary,  Ibrahim Dan-Halilu,  the organisation called on the government to toe the path of respecting the rule of law by releasing the detained leader of the IMN, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky who has been incarcerated since 2015.

“We strongly believe that the heightened reactions by the sect and needless loses of lives could be avoided if previous judicial pronouncements ordering the release of El-Zakzaky and his wife had been obeyed,” ALBNI reasoned.

Similarly, ALBNI cautioned members of the IMN, asking it to conduct itself peacefully, reminding them that their liberty cannot deprive others of their lawful rights.

“We condemn in clear terms the recourse to violence in demanding for the release of Sheikh El-Zakzaky by the Movement. As a lawful organisation that IMN claims to be, we believe there are lawful channels it can pursue, including right to peaceful protests where its members and other law-abiding citizens are not vulnerable to violence as it is being currently witnessed in the country.”

“We owe it a duty as responsible organisation to caution government against classifying the IMN as a terrorist organisation.”

“Government must be guided against pushing the sect underground from where it could be radicalized to engage the state in another needless internal conflict if it hurriedly concedes to proscribing IMN as a terrorist group,” the statement cautioned.

“Classifying the IMN as a terrorist group could be counter-productive as it may push the group to go underground and perpetrate deadly attacks on innocent citizens or build up its arsenal as Boko Haram did after the murder of its leader,” ALBNI warned.

ALBNI believes that government has the capacity to engage the leadership of the sect alongside security experts, religious and traditional leaders as well as civil society in negotiations to douse the tensions and cause a reversal of the looming danger

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