Don’t protest in Abuja, Police warn Shiite IMN members

The police have warned the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, not to embark on any protest in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Federal Capital Territory Police Command said it had been informed of a planned protest by the IMN.

The police warned the group to desist from embarking on any protest.

“The attention of the FCT Police Command has been drawn to the plan by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria to carry out mass protest at the Three Arms Zone, Abuja on Wednesday, 14th, December, 2016.

“The Command wants to state unequivocally that the action of the group is illegal as they have neither written to notify the Command of their planned action nor have they secured any approval from the Commissioner of Police go on with the planned protest.

“It is sequel to the above that FCT Police Command is warning members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria to immediately stay action on their planned protest or be prepared to be dealt with in accordance with the appropriate sections of the law,” said the statement which was signed by the command’s Public Relations Officer, Manzah Anjuguri.

Despite court orders rulings that have shown that Nigerians do not need a police permit to embark on protest, the police have always insisted on such especially for protests considered unfavourable to the government in power.

In a reaction to the police statement, a leader of the IMN said the group has no immediate plans to embark on such protest.

The Secretary General of the Academic Forum of the IMN, Abdullahi Musa, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES on the matter, said his members have not protested since a court ruling ordering the release of the Shiite leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

“We took the case to court. And the court ruled in our favour and said that they should release our leader in 45 days. What sense will it make if we start protesting before that time. We have not protested and we will not protest till the 45 days elapses; if he is not released,” Mr. Musa said.

“Although I heard that a group protested yesterday, but I am telling you that we, the Shiite members whom I speak for, have not protested and will not protest now,” he said.

An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court had on December 2 ordered the release of Mr. El-Zakzaky.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole ordered the Nigerian government to release the cleric within 45 days, from December 2.

Mr. El-Zakzaky has been detained without trial since December last year after over 300 members of the IMN were killed by soldiers in controversial circumstances in Kaduna.

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