A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday warned Nigeria’s government against demonising Shiites and their Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN.
Delivering judgement in a bail application sought by the IMN leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the trial judge, Gabriel Kolawole, said Nigeria’s government must allow its citizens enjoy the fundamental right to freedom.
“I am of the view that the applicant need not be demonised, but that they should be allowed to practice the faith they choose,” said Mr. Kolawole.
The judge said Nigeria’s law allows a person or group to practice whatever religion they choose and in whatever manner that they deem fit.
He said although it is a known fact that most Nigerian Muslims are Sunnis, the constitution allows freedom of thought and worship.
Mr. Kolawole described the Shiite’s relationship with the Nigerian government as “delicate and slippery”.
He said his court was set to give its judgement since October 5 but decided to allow parties settle out of court, considering the sensitive nature of religious issues.
“They are much more delicate and judicially speaking, slippery in nature,” Mr. Kolawole said.