Sokoto — Contrary to claims that the Shi'ite sect also known as Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) is a threat to national security, the leader of the group in Sokoto state, Malam Sidi Manniru said they have over 20 million members across the 36 states of the federation that are not only peaceful but also believe in peace.
Manniru, who was reacting to the recent proscription of the sect following a court order obtained by thr Federal Government, wondered why same government who have failed to respect court orders on several occasions to release their leader and paid him and the wife compensation of 50 million naira have suddenly become respecter of court orders.
Speaking on the aftermath of Abuja procession, Manniru wondered why the federal government shamelessly framed up lies that members of the group were armed.
"Come to think of it, how would anybody or group of persons that have intention of fermenting troubles or that are armed and ready for showdown go on a procession with his or their entire families?
"Peaceful procession is granted by the Nigeria's constitution. And if you see our members on that day, like every other day, we came out with our women, wives, children, pregnant women and even the aged ones too.
"Our leader did not teach us to carry guns. We are not armed and we do not encourage our members to hold arms, especially during procession.
"Prior to the Abuja procession, we had intelligence report that the Nigeria police had concluded plans to pay some thugs and ensure that they cause commotion on out path to enable them blackmail us.
The police however failed to understand that, because of their plot, all our members tied robes on their head with the inscription of God is Great hence the video clip circulating that day clearly showed that those who fermented troubles are not part of us because they were not wearing any robe".
On the number of casualties, Malam Manniru accused the police of killing 21 of their members that day, adding that, additional 15 are in critical conditions because of gunshots they sustained from the police.
Talking on why the peaceful procession will continue until federal government respects several court orders that granted their leader, Sheik Ibrahim Elzazaky unconditional bail from the unlawful harassment and detention, Manniru said, it is a shame that the nation's leadership has no respect for the constitution