Abuja — The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of carrying out a religious war (jihad) against its members.
The group members, during a courtesy visit to The Guardian office in Abuja after a protest in the central business area of the city, said it had plan to follow the Boko Haram path to defend the unity and peace of the country if their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, is not released.
The IMN accused President Buhari and his security chiefs of waging a war of extermination against the group, claiming the security chiefs belong to an intolerant sect of Islam.
A member of the sect, who led the delegation, Abdullahi Muhammad, said the clampdown on the group was pre-planned to stoke tension and instigate its members to violence.
Muhammad said: "You will remember the President said he would defeat Boko Haram by December 2015. Nobody asked why the plan was not mentioned after our people were massacre in Zaria. Buhari has planned to attack IMN.
"They consider us infidel because we do not share their Islamic values and belief which discriminate against Christians and people of other religions."
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The sect member, who alleged that those currently in power and who ordered the Zaria massacre, belong to Sunni Islamic sect. "Their scholars have been calling for Shiite massacre for long. The scholars have convinced their people in power that killing the Shiites is jihad," he said.
Besides, he discredited allegation that the movement would terrorise the country, adding: "We are peaceful people and we stand for the truth and would continue to fight against injustice.
"Politicians are threatened by the model of the movement, which prioritises unity and peace among the different religions in the country.
"Politicians have been coming to us because of our numbers and asking us to join their political groups and help them win elections but we are not politicians."
He said the group would not retreat until their leader is released, adding that they won't be intimidated by highhandedness from security operatives.
"We have been protesting for two years and always avoid the police. The police surrounded us on Monday and we were being tear-gassed.
We have women among us and we had to find a way out. We need a route to escape and they started shooting at us and the youths replied with stones," Muhammad told The Guardian.