Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A pro-democracy and civil rights group in Nigeria, the Global Integrity Crusade Network (GICN), has issued a 72-hour ultimatum on the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) to proscribe and declare the Islamic Movement (IMN) a terrorist organisation or risk legal action.
The position of the group was contained in a letter to the AGF and signed by its Director of Research and Evaluation, Mr. Akan Augustine Eneji.
GICN said it has observed with disenchantment how Islamic extremists, under the aegis of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), otherwise known as Shiites, continue to breach national peace, cause mayhem and making life unbearable for innocent citizens.
The group said there was no gainsaying the fact that IMN was not a registered organisation with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) under Part ‘C’ of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, CAP C20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, which implies that it cannot be sued or tried as an entity for crimes committed by its members and has no basis to exist in our country.
Emoji said from the wealth of oral and documentary evidence made available to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by Governor Nasir el-Rufai, to look into the clash that occurred between IMN and the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State between 12th – 14th December, 2015 as captured in its widely publicized final report, IMN has never ceased to be a violent organisation.
The group said the December 2015 clash with the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff,
Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai led to a subsequent military operation which uncovered cache of arms and ammunitions purported to have been procured by IMN with the backing of one of the foreign Islamic Republics.
The group further said, “Being the foregoing as it may, a careful reading of the combined provisions of Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 and Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013 establishes that IMN by its activities and characters ought to be proscribed and designated as a terrorist group just like Boko Haram and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
“For purposes of clarity, we have identified the many infractions committed by IMN since it came into existence in Nigeria to wit; Acts of Terrorism: Section 1 Subsection (1) of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013 prohibits all acts of terrorism and financing of terrorism while Section 1 Subsection (2) of the Act prescribes a maximum of death sentence for any person or body corporate who willingly commits an offence relating to terrorism either directly or indirectly within or outside Nigeria”.
He also said, “There are overwhelming evidence contained in the report of the Kaduna Judicial Commission of Inquiry to show that IMN is law unto itself.
“As it happened in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja recently, members of IMN are fond of confronting law enforcement agencies in order to rescue any of its members arrested or kept in custody in connection with acts of terrorism.
“This is a blatant breach of Section 6 the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013 and the offence attracts imprisonment for a term not less than 20 years.
“Sir, we submit that the above infractions are substantial enough to nail IMN as a terrorist group without much ado.
“As the situation stands, the refusal of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to proscribe IMN all along has contributed to the spread of terrorism in Nigeria.
“We are at a loss as to why the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice neither utilised the final report of the Kaduna Commission of Inquiry nor set up another panel to fully deal with an issue as sensitive as IMN at the national level even though he has the power to do so under our laws.
“It is on record that the leadership of IMN and thousands of its followers have been jailed a number of times, but they remain adamant about converting Nigeria to an Islamic State at all cost.
“Unless and until the government develops the courage to tackle the excesses of El-Zakzaky and the confrontational, un-cordial, dramatic and deadly IMN at once, the much anticipated peace in Northern-Nigeria as a whole will remain a mirage.
“The contribution of President Muhammadu Buhari led administration to the anti-terror efforts to make Nigeria safe again is quite commendable and must be sustained no matter whose ox is gored.
“We, therefore, give the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice 72 hours ultimatum from the date hereof to activate the necessary statutory procedures with a view to proscribing IMN for setting up or pursuing acts of terrorism.
“In the event that this ultimatum expires without any positive actions taken, we shall not hesitate to drag the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, being the Chief Law Officer of Nigeria, to a court of competent jurisdiction in order to compel him to do the needful in the interest of peace, national security and safety of innocent citizens who now live in fear of IMN”.