Mr Femi Falana, a lawyer to the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, has condemned the action of the Federal Government to proscribe the Shiite group.
In a statement forwarded to channels Television on Saturday, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria and human rights activist described the proscription as ‘immoral and illegal’.
He believes that the order is particularly opportunistic on the part of the Sunnis occupying public offices to use the instrumentality of the state to liquidate the Shiites.
Mr Falana noted that the IMN was proscribed by the Kaduna State government in 2016, just like the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was proscribed in 2017.
He added that the groups have continued to operate in defiance of the prescription orders.
The senior lawyer explained that he secured an Appeal Court judgment on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari and his defunct political party, All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2003 after the police allegedly unleashed violent attacks on Nigerians protesting in Kano against the alleged rigging of the 2003 General Elections.
According to him, the police had accused the protesters of not obtaining a police permit before their demonstration.
Mr Falana said at that time, the justices of the Court of Appeal unanimously held that the rights of Nigerians to protest against the policies of the government as part of the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution.
He, therefore, asked the government to withdraw the proscription order, insisting that it would not stand as the fundamental right of the Shiites to freedom of religion was constitutionally guaranteed.
Read the full statement below:
On The Immoral And Illegal Prescription Of IMN
The IMN was proscribed by the Kaduna State government in 2016. The proscription was gazetted. But IMN has continued to operate in defiance of the proscription.
IPOB was proscribed in 2017 by the Buhari regime via an ex parte order issued by the federal high court. In line with the court order, the proscription was gazetted. But IPOB has continued to operate in spite of the prescription.
However, in a desperate bid to prevent the Shiites from demanding for the release of their detained leader, Elzakzaky and his wife, from the custody of the State Security Service the Buhari administration has proscribed the Islamic Movement of Nigeria.
Since there are millions of Shiites who belong to the IMN the federal government will soon realise that it has merely driven the body underground.
In 2003, General Buhari and other members of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party held a rally in Kano to protest the rigging of the 2003 General Election by the Olusegun Obasanjo regime.