Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) on Friday approached the Abuja division of the Federal High Court to vacate its order proscribing it as a terrorist group.
The Federal government had on July 26, obtained an order declaring the activities of Shiite organization as a terrorist group.
Justice Nnkeoye Maha issued the order following an ex parte application by the Federal government.
The judge granted the application which was moved by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Dayo Apata.
In her ruling, she designated the activities of the Shiite organisation in any part of Nigeria “as acts of terrorism and illegality.”
In addition, the court barred “any person or group of persons” from participating in any form of activities involving the Islamic Movement of Nigeria “under any name or platform” in the country.
The court further ordered the Attorney-General of the Federation “to publish the order proscribing the respondent (Islamic Movement in Nigeria) in the official gazette and two national dailies.”
But in motion filed on Friday by Femi Falana (SAN), the group among other prayers asked the court to set aside, discharge and or vacate the ex parte order of this the court made on 26 July 2019, declaring the activities of the respondent as amounting to act of terrorism and illegality.
The group equally asked for ”an order setting aside or vacating the order of the court proscribing the existence and activities of the respondent in any part of Nigeria
IMN is further pressing for “an order restraining any person or group of person from participating in any manner in any of the activities of the respondent under any circumstance.”
The motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/876/2019 was brought pursuant to order 26 Rules 6(1) 9 and 10 of the Federal High Court rules 219, section 6(6) (1) (4), and section 36, 39 and 40 of the 1999 constitution ( as amended).
The motion was predicted on the grounds that the ex-parte order made on the 26th day of July, 2019, by this Honorable Court was made without jurisdiction, as the order was made against a non-juristic body.
That the order proscribing the existence and activities of the Respondent/Applicant (Islamic Movement in Nigeria) in any part of Nigeria under whatever form, either in groups or as individuals by whatever names they are called or referred to was made without affording the Respondent/Applicant the right of fair hearing.
The group said the order of the court breached the fundamental right of all members of the Respondent/Applicant, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria to fair hearing guaranteed by Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004 in that no fair hearing was granted the applicant/respondent before the order was made.
That the order ex parte granted by this Honourable Court has violated the fundamental right of members of the Respondent to freedom of thought, conscience and religion guaranteed by Section 38 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as Amended.
That the fundamental right of the members of the Respondent to freedom of assembly and association guaranteed by Section of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as (amended), has been breached by the said order.
That the Court did not grant the declaration that the activities of the Respondent (Islamic Movement of Nigeria ) in any part of Nigeria amounts(sic) to acts of terrorism and illegality.
In a supporting affidavit deposed to by Haruna Magashi, the group averred that it is a friendly society of members of the Shia Muslims in Nigeria who follow the teachings and guidance of Shiekh Ibraheem Elzakyzaky.
That the activities of the members of the respondent are non-violent but peaceful and they have been in existence since the 1970s in Nigeria as a Muslim body.
That contrary to the depositions of the Applicant/Respondent in their affidavit in support of the motion ex-parte, it is the Federal Government of Nigeria and its Security Agencies that have at all times provoked the Respondent/Applicant members, violently attacking them and, destroying their properties and killing innocent members of the Respondent/Applicant across the States in Nigeria.
That this unwarranted attack was taken to a new height in December 2015 while the Respondent/Applicant members were celebrating the beginning of Maulud which is the birthday anniversary of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when the Nigerian Army led by its Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai launched a vicious attack on peaceful worshippers of our members gathered at Husainiyya Baquiyyatullah our worship centre at No 1A, Sokoto Road, Zaria, Kaduna State.
“In the said attack, properties worth millions of naira were destroyed and several armless and defenceless worshippers numbering over 1,000 and including men, women and children, the aged and people with disabilities were harmed.
That on or about the same time, the Nigerian Army also proceeded to the House of our Leader SHEIKH IBRAHEEM ZAKZAKY where they killed and injured many armless worshippers including three Children of our leader and his Senior Sister who was set ablaze by rampaging members of the Nigerian Army.
At the end of the attack about 1,000 of our members were killed by the members of the Nigerian Army, our leader and his wife were also fatally wounded from gunshots in the attack and subsequently taken into custody till date without any medical attention.