Nigeria: Shiites - You Can't Ban Religion, Ozekhome Tells Buhari

Women in black niqabs holding up posters calling for the release of Shiite cleric Ibrahim Zakzaky. The founder and leader of the Shiite Islamist Movement of Nigeria (IMN), has been in jail since December 2015.

Constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) has criticised the move by the Federal Government to proscribe the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites.

The Federal Government had, on Friday, obtained an ex parte order from a Federal High Court in Abuja, banning the activities of the sect.

But Ozekhome said the action "is highly discriminatory, unconstitutional as was the case of the IPOB."

"The Shiites group is a religious group, like the President's Sunni group. It is not an Association that could be banned. Section 10 of the Nigerian Constitution makes Nigeria a secular State. You can't ban religion, a people's belief," he said.

"There is also freedom of thought, conscience and religion in Section 38, while sections 40 and 41 allow for freedom of movement and Association. The Constitution is ruthlessly being shredded by an intolerant and overbearing civilian dictatorship."

Ozekhome questioned why such a ban was not extended to killer herdsmen "that has held Nigeria down by the jogular for years, killing, maiming, burning, raping, turning Nigeria into a crimson field of bloodbath?"

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