Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, otherwise known as Shi’ites have said they will go ahead with their planned procession in celebration of Ashura Day.
Spokesman for the proscribed group Ibrahim Musa, who made known their resolve to observe the annual ritual scheduled for today, September 10, said their procession would be peaceful.
He however accused the police of plotting to kill some innocent Nigerians and put the blame on the group.
In a statement issued on Monday, he said they would not be deterred by police threats and plot against them.
The police had branded the planned procession an act in “advancement of terrorism”.
Musa in the statement said: “We want the world to however note that our event tomorrow ( Tuesday, September 10) is a peaceful solemn mourning procession that would not harm anybody and it is a religious duty to us. Similar mourning events and processions, like all other religious duties and obligations, are seen to be observed worldwide.
“It is worth remembering that in all the years since the Ashura procession started in Nigeria, participants have never once resorted to violence even in the face of a bloody history of attacks against them by the brutal might of the state”.
Musa who is also the President of the Media Forum of the group, further said the FG “is planning to kill innocent security personnel, journalists and some members of the public and put the blame on members of the Islamic Movement just as they did in Abuja in July.
“We therefore call on security personnel, journalists and members of the public to be particularly extra vigilant. The general Public, media and the international community should now hold the government responsible for the false flag operation should violence breakout during our usual Ashurah commemoration tomorrow Tuesday.
“The government has already sponsored banner headlines in select Nigerian Newspapers, obviously in preparation for falsely unleashing unprecedented violence in our name. We want the world to however note that our event tomorrow is a peaceful solemn mourning procession that would not harm anybody and it is a religious duty to us. Similar mourning events and processions, like all other religious duties and obligations, are seen to be observed worldwide.
“The government and anyone else involved in these nefarious plans must therefore be called to order, to uphold the rights of the participants and ensure their total protection everywhere. The Buhari government should particularly be held responsible for any harm that may be inflicted on the persons and properties of Ashura mourners or indeed anyone.”
On Monday also, the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu ordered commissioners of police and Assistant Inspectors-general to avert any planned procession and/or disruption of public peace by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, anywhere in the country.
Force Public Relations Officer, DCP, Frank Mba who disclosed the IGP’s directive advised parents and guardians to keep their children and wards from being lured into participating in illegal and ill-motivated activities by anyone or group of persons, under any guise whatsoever
He said: “It has come to the knowledge of the Nigeria Police Force that some members of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) intend to embark on a nationwide procession, ostensibly to cause disruption of public peace, order and security in the Country.
“The Force notes that in line with the Terrorism (Prevention) Proscription Order Notice 2019 of 26th July, 2019, the activities of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria have been proscribed. Consequently, all gathering or procession by the group remains ultimately illegal and will be treated as a gathering in the advancement of terrorism”.
“The IG has directed the Commissioners of Police in the states and the Federal Capital Territory as well as their supervisory Assistant Inspectors-General of Police to put in place concrete measures to avert any planned procession or disruption of public peace by the IMN in the country.
“He advised parents and guardians to prevail on their children and wards “not to be cajoled into embarking on illegal and ill-motivated activities by anyone or group of persons, under any guise whatsoever.”