Molly Kilete, Abuja
There is palpable tension in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), following a security alert over a planned “deadly protest” by members of Shiite group Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) Friday.
The alert, being circulated via text messages, WhatsApp and other social media platforms Thursday evening, advised residents to be wary of places they visit today, particularly during the Friday Jumat prayers.
According to the warning, residents and visitors alike are to avoid places like Banex Plaza on Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse II and Friday Prayer Mosques.
This comes as the police is yet to issue security measures put in place to protect lawabiding residents nor deny the alleged alert.
FCT police public relations officer Anjuguri Manzah, when contacted, said he was not aware of any such security threat.
The security alert reads:
“We are monitoring reports that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) at about 4pm on 19 April, 2018 is planning to converge in the vicinity of Banex Plaza on Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse II Abuja. The IMN is also planning what it describes as a mega outing on Friday 20 April, 2018.
“This outing will target the National Mosque, Area 11 Mosque and Yoruba Mosque in Wuse II. These protests are to demand the release of the IMN detained leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, who have been government detention since December 2015.
“Staff in Abuja should:
“Avoid the locations of the protest as a precaution. Plan routes bypassing these locations,
Share & inform Abuja based project staff immediately.
“Monitor the situation and if necessary make plans to adjust planned activities in the areas indicated.
Report and share any further incidences if witnessed”
The warning, Daily Sun gathered, may force workers, especially civil servants, not to report for work today.
For sometime now, the Shiite moslem sect have have been carrying out a daily protest in the country’s capital to demand for the unconditional release of their leader Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
Last Saturday, April, 14, the Shiite members stormed the FCT in their thousands, causing pandemonium in the entire city and environs.
Security agencies were said to have been overwhelmed by the large turnout of members of the IMN, a membership said to run into millions.
Daily Sun gathered that the presence of the group caused a stir as the Presidency had to call in military authorities, the police and the Department of State Security over the matter.
The wife of the President Aisha Buhari was said to have called some heads of the security to find out “if we are safe.”
Security sources told Daily Sun that the military wanted to use force to disperse the crowd after getting executive powers to do so, but were strongly advised against it because of the huge crowd.
Security sources told Daily Sun that the group, who were in Abuja,to celebrate the Malud, which is also the birthday of Prophet Mohammed, had obtained a police permit from the Commissioner of Police in charge of the FCT, Bello Muhamed, to converge in Abuja for the celebrations.
A top security source told Daily Sun that it took the intervention of some top military officers to talk to some very powerful Muslim clerics whom the Shiites respect, before they were persuaded to vacate the road leading to the national mosque and other parts of Abuja they had occupied.
It was also gathered that it was after the group had left the area that the security personnel took strategic positions.
However, despite measures put in place, members have vowed not to give up their protest, defying all security measures as they continue their daily protests.