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Shi’ites deny suspending street protests, vow to fight on

Shi'ites deny suspending street protests, vow to fight on

Members of the Islamic State of Nigeria, IMN, also known as Shi’ites, have denied suspending street protests in demand for the release of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.

This is coming a day after Suhaila Zakzaky, the daughter of the detained Islamic cleric vowed that members of the movement will continue to protest until her go father and mother, Zeenat, are released.

Suhaila was reacting to a statement by the spokesman of the group, Ibrahim Musa, saying the members of the IMN have suspended their protests to focus on fighting the proscription of the group by the Federal Government through the courts.

A statement by a top member of the IMN, Abdullahi Musa, for Academic Forum, Sisters’ Forum and Abul-Fadl, said other IMN members were not informed about the ban on protests.

Musa’s stayemeny said: “On the 31st day of July, 2019 a press statement titled “We Are Temporarily Suspending Our Street Protests” and signed by Malam Ibrahim Musa, President of the Media Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, went viral. The article was published and aired by numerous media outlets, both local and international.

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“In the statement, it was written that ‘this was mainly to create openings into the resolution of problems, especially the court case instituted by our lawyers on the proscription order by the federal government this week.’
“It further claimed that ‘if at all any protests occurred anywhere in the country, it might be this notice hasn’t reached those in the field or this message is misunderstood or it is some security agents who are behind it.’

“First of all, we would like to state for the record that apart from members of the media forum none of us was informed of this prior to seeing it in the papers and online. Secondly, the media forum of the Islamic Movement is supposed to consist of Press men and thus has no involvement in the organizing of our ceremonies, our protests or legal activities among others. Thirdly, no decision of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria has ever been communicated on the page of a newspaper.

“Contrary to what the statement may insinuate; it is important to note that the proscription order was not an act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but rather from some Federal High Court in the capital Abuja. Bear in mind that courts do not make laws, the National Assembly does; and there is a process involved. Under the Constitution even the president lacks the legal authority to simply pronounce edicts into law; Nigeria is not an absolute monarchy. Most preeminently, the right to protest peacefully is enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution. Impunity is not.”

In disowning their spokeman, IMN said: “In the aftermath of the publication of this unfortunately misleading statement, we subsequently tried to investigate the source of this frankly confusing document. We have consulted extensively with fellow followers of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky on this matter. Our only conclusion is that this whole affair was a combination of misinformation, miscommunication, human error and other significant factors.

“Here in Abuja, we are legally protesting the illegal detention of our leader and his wife. By doing this for our leader, we are also legally protesting against all forms of illegal detention, extrajudicial killings, among numerous other illegal perpetrations of injustice, by this current administration.

“The statement signed by Malam Ibrahim Musa of the media forum does not, in any way, reflect the beliefs and convictions of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria. A single representative of a Forum within the Islamic Movement has no authority to single-handedly dictate his opinion on every one of us. Only our leader Sheikh Zakzaky may do that.

“For this reason, we are compelled to caution the media to never treat, any further, such explicit declarations by any member of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria in general, and Ibrahim Musa in particular, without a grain of salt.

“We wish to also explicitly state that we are fully determined to continue our protests. We shall continue our peaceful protests, uninterrupted and unhindered till our leader Sheikh Zakzaky is free, for as long as it takes, regardless of obstacles. Until Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky is Free, our protests will continue.”

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Timothy Enietan-Matthews

Timothy is a versatile journalist, down to earth with a critical and curious mind.

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