The Kaduna State Government has declared Shiite group, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria as an illegal society.
A statement by Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, announced the ban on Friday.
“The Kaduna State Government has issued an Order declaring the Islamic Movement in Nigeria an unlawful society,” the statement read in part.
“This action is taken in the exercise of the government’s duty to preserve peace and security in the state, and to ensure that all persons and organisations are guided by lawful conduct and with due allegiance to the Nigerian state and its Constitution.”
According to the statement, the Kaduna state executive council approved the making of this order following deliberations at its meeting of Thursday, October 6, 2016.
The state government said the order followed the discovery that the IMN was not registered.
“The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Zaria Clashes of 12-14 December 2015 found that the IMN is not a registered organisation, that it has a paramilitary wing and that its members do not recognise or respect the laws of the country and the duly constituted authorities that have the responsibility to secure and administer the country,” said.
It explained that the order, which was signed by El-Rufai, “draws on powers vested by the Constitution and the laws of Kaduna State”.
It said, “Section 45 (1) of the Constitution categorically vests in the Governor the powers to take such measures and actions as are necessary for the promotion and protection of: public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or the rights and freedom of all persons in Kaduna State.
“Section 97A of the Penal Code (Cap 110, Laws of Kaduna State, 1991) empowers the Governorto declare as an unlawful society any organisation whose activities are dangerous to the security and good governance of the state.”
A conflict between members of the group and the Nigerian Army in December 2015 had left many dead and resulted in the arrest of its leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and other members.
Since the arrest, members of the group have held several protests, demanding the release of their leader and other members.
The state government, however, said the processions were unlawful as well.
“The Declaration Order noted that since the regrettable events in Zaria which resulted in the loss of 347 lives, the IMN “has overtly continued with unlawful processions, obstruction of public highways, unauthorised occupation of public facilities including schools without regard to the rights of other citizens and the public peace and order of the State,” it said.
It warned that the acts, “if allowed to go unchecked, will constitute danger to the peace, tranquility, harmonious coexistence and good governance of Kaduna State”.