The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) has decried the incessant protest being staged by members of the Islamic Movement in the Nigeria also known as shi’ites over the detention of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
The centre said IMN members were using terror and violence to subvert justice in ongoing trial of El- Zakzakky.
CESJET made this disclosure in a special report on the activities of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria that culminated in the inauguration of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry as well as the ongoing court proceedings involving its leader Ibrahim El-Zakzaky in Kaduna State.
Isaac Ikpa, Executive Director of the group, who signed the report, it was indeed discovered that the activities of the IMN in Nigeria had constituted a threat to the sovereignty of the country through its actions that in most cases are against the constituted authorities
The report below.
The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) commissioned a report to look into the activities of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) that led to the arrest and charging to court of its spiritual leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, as well as critically examining judicial decisions, actions of the Federal government and the reason why El-Zakzaky hasn’t been released.
CESJET having followed the chain of events closely from inception, commissioned the report in an attempt to leave the realm of speculation and present tangible facts in proper perspective as regards the ongoing trial of the spiritual leader of the IMN for members of the general public and other concerned stakeholders in Nigeria and elsewhere.
The IMN is a Shi’ite religious and political organization whose leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, has been a proponent of Shi’a Islam in Nigeria since the 1980s, calling for an Islamic revolution to create an Islamic state in Nigeria and end Western influence in the country. The IMN says it gets inspiration from Islamic Iran in its struggles and activities, but denies being funded by Iran.
The IMN has had uneasy relations with the Nigerian authorities for decades, and its spiritual leader has been jailed several times by successive regimes, spending a total of nine years in prison since the mid-1980s, mostly accused of treason or civil disobedience. Successive Nigerian authorities have accused the IMN of disregarding the law and operating as a state within a state. Processions, demonstrations and other activities organized by the IMN, usually without obtaining the necessary permits and at times blocking public roads, have resulted in a confrontation with the Nigerian authorities and strained relations with other communities.
In 2015, the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff was ambushed by members of the IMN sect during a procession in Zaria. The visible threat to the life of the Chief of Army Staff resulted in exchanges by the Nigerian Army and members of the sect, which eventually led to the arrest of its spiritual leader.
A Commission of Enquiry was set up by the Kaduna State Government to look at the issues surrounding the clash between the Nigerian Army and the IMN, and consequently, the Kaduna state government relying on the findings of the Commission of Inquiry declared the IMN an Insurgent group. The government’s position was contained in a white paper released on the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the December 2015 clash, between soldiers and members of the IMN in Zaria.
The white paper blamed the IMN for the clash and recommended the investigation and prosecution of any of its members found to have been involved in any form of human rights abuse since their existence in Zaria over 30 years ago. The government’s white paper, however, absolved the Nigerian army from any act of human right violation in the Zaria clash, insisting that the army abides by the rules of engagement.
In a similar vein, the Kaduna State chapter of the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN) called on the Federal Government, to ban all activities of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and prosecute their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
Rising from their meeting in Kaduna, the group comprising of Islamic preachers and scholars, supported the indictment of the Shiites by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the Kaduna State government to investigate the December 2015 clash between the Shiites and soldiers in Zaria.
The Muslim leaders maintained that the acts of impunity exhibited by the group over the years in Zaria and other states in Nigeria’s northern region were against the teachings of Islam and the Nigerian Constitution. They re-emphasized the urgent need to proscribe the Shiites for the interest of peace and security of Nigeria.
Upon scrutiny of the report by CESJET, it was indeed discovered that the activities of the IMN in Nigeria had constituted a threat to the sovereignty of the country through its actions that in most cases are against the constituted authorities. The Judicial Commission of Inquiry highlighted this much set up by the Kaduna State government to unravel the remote cause of the clash between the Nigerian Army and the IMN.
The outcome of our report also indicated that right from inception the IMN has the practice of radicalizing its members which have resulted in frequent clashes with constituted authorities in Zaria, its environs and many states across the country.
The IMN has been steadfast and deliberate in widespread and frequent acts of lawlessness and defiance of constituted authorities including refusal to recognize the legitimacy, authority of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
They devote their time, assets, money, and networks to the well-being and development of the Movement. Apart from member contributions, the IMN has access to international resources and assets from the Iranian government and some Lebanese businesses and networks in Nigeria.
It was also discovered that the IMN had terrorized residents of Zaria (Gyallesu) for the past 40 years. According to Alhaji Saidu Garba, one of the elders of the Gyallesu area in Zaria, “after El-Zakzaky was released from detention in 1999, he came and settled in Gyallesu, and since then, there is no peace in our area. We thank Allah for touching the heart of government and the military for liberating us from Shiite’s untold hardship.”
“Shiites killed many of our people who challenged their activities, we buried them, and we couldn’t talk to the world because of their threat. We were living like slaves in our land where the Shiite leader, Sheikh El-Zakzaky, came and met us. We residents of Gyallesu are calling on the Federal government to ban the Shiite movement in our community and Kaduna state as a whole. The government should put a stop to the Shiite’s ungodly activities in our area.”
It was also discovered that Iran’s Quds Force and Lebanese Hezbollah have coordinated intelligence gathering on U.S. and Israeli targets in Nigeria and engaged in weapons and drug trafficking in West Africa with operatives drawn from the IMN. And this accounts for the bulk of the funding it receives for their activities in Nigeria.
It was also discovered that the agenda of the Iranian Government in Nigeria towards the Muslim community had suffered setbacks since the detention and trial of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky. And they have covertly reached out to some highly placed members of the judiciary in Nigeria with enormous monetary incentives so Ibrahim El-Zakzaky could be discharged and acquitted of all the charges levelled against him.
The report was also able to identify that some foreign network who are allies of the IMN have been covertly fuelling the recent resurgence of the violent activities of the IMN by channelling funds to the IMN leadership in Nigeria through their various businesses in Nigerian and the francophone countries to sustain their street protests across the country.
The report further revealed a covert international lobby to mount pressure on the Nigerian government towards truncating the ongoing trial of the IMN spiritual leader Ibrahim El-Zarzaky for the reason that the allegations are weighty, and the possibility of the IMN spiritual leader getting discharged and acquitted are very slim given the multiple evidence of acts of terrorism against him and the IMN as a group.
The Iranian government and other allies of the IMN are afraid that with the conviction of the IMN leader in Nigeria, the world attention would focus on them and which would further bring about some level of international scrutiny of their covert activities all around the world through groups and organizations.
It was also discovered that part of the grand plot is to resort to blackmailing the government by co-opting a part of the media towards painting a picture of unlawful detention of the IMN leader and the refusal of the present administration to honour court rulings.
The plot also included putting forward a narrative that hinges on supposed falling health of the IMN leader and painting the Nigerian government in a bad light.
It was also discovered that there had been a grand plot to use unorthodox means to set the IMN leader free, which includes kidnappings of family members of highly placed government functionaries in Kaduna and other parts of Nigeria to be used as a bargaining tool for the release of the IMN leader.
Given the magnitude of information at the disposal of CESJET on the activities of the IMN in Nigeria, it is sufficing to state that the recent push by adherents of the IMN for the release of their spiritual leader is misplaced and a highly strategic plot to see that the IMN spiritual leader escapes justice.
The atrocities committed by the IMN in the past forty years in Kaduna and other parts of Nigeria are too weighty to be ignored given the fact that they have indeed carried on as a terrorist organization to overthrow the constituted authorities in Nigeria.
The trial of the IMN leader has indeed thwarted that plot as he is the only one under the IMN structure that can give orders on operational strategies of the group.
CESJET from all the pieces of information gathered from the research states that the IMN is indeed a terrorist organization whose main agenda geared towards the destabilization of Nigeria in line with the international terrorist network lead by the Iranian authorities.
CESJET believes that the agitations for the release of the spiritual leader of the IMN are an attempt towards evading justice and a massive disservice to the victims of the atrocities of the IMN in Nigeria who have been killed.
CESJET suggests that instead of the violent street protests across the country, the IMN should instead seek state pardon and severe ties with the terrorist network that has been sponsoring its violent activities.
CESJET also states that the government should stand resolute in seeking justice for victims of the atrocities of the IMN through the ongoing judicial means, and any attempt to fall for the bait mounted through violent street protests to interfere with the legal process would amount to setting a dangerous precedent that would come back to haunt the country in the future.