The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (Shiites) has been declared a terrorist organisation.
Justice Nkeonye Maha, of the Abuja Federal High Court, on Friday issued an order proscribing the group following an ex-parte application filed by the Nigerian Government.
The decision to ban the group came following a security meeting between security chiefs and President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
Naija Buzz News had reported the clash between the Shiites and the Nigeria Police which led to the death of Abuja Deputy Commissioner of Police, Usman Umar; an NYSC member attached to Channels TV, Precious Owolabi; and over 11 Shiites members.
The police had accused the group of being responsible for the death of the DCP and the NYSC member. The Shiites however in a statement noted that the Nigeria Police must be held responsible for the deaths during the clash because no member of the group protested with arms.
In yesterday’s court order, the judge ordered that no person or group should henceforth associate with the IMN (Shiites) for any reason.
The Attorney-General of the Federation was consequently ordered by the judge to publish on two national dailies, the proscription order.
The group had been protesting the incarceration of its leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, since 2015.
He was arrested and detained alongside his wife, Zeenat, following a clash between his members and the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, in Zaria, Kaduna State.
The group had always noted that it only engages in peaceful protests. But security agencies have repeatedly accused them of being violent.
We reported few weeks ago how the group stormed the National Assembly during a protest. The protest however turned violent following apparent confrontation with the operatives of the Nigeria Police at the gate.
The last time the Nigerian Government proscribed a group was in 2017 when the operatives of the Nigerian Army clashed with members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Umuahia, Abia State.
Justice like ban against IPOB, the recent ban against the Shiites has been greeted with criticism by Nigerians who feels the Government under the leadership of President Buhari protects certain people, making them feel above the law.
Nigerians have repeatedly called for the proscribing of Fulani herdsmen who had been pointed at for the death of thousands.
Ibrahim Kenneth Suleiman is the Chief Political Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He is a graduate of political science from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State. He specializes in preparing/approving of political news contents before publication. He currently heads Naija Buzz News team of political correspondents. From Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria, Ibrahim is a strong supporter of Manchester United Football Club England.