The Amnesty International has condemned the Federal government’s proscription of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) also known as Shi’ites as a suppression of freedom of religion and association.
The Movement, led by Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, was proscribed as a terrorist group last week after deadly protest which claimed the lives of a police chief, a reporter abd some Shi’ites members on July 22 in Abuja.
Although federal authorities blamed the Shiite protesters for the officer’s death, the movement rejected the allegations.
On Tuesday, Nigeria’s police chief, Muhammad Adamu, said IMN members would be treated as terrorists if they embark on further protests in the wake of the proscription.
“The proscription of IMN is a deliberate attempt to divert attention from crucial issues including; justice for the massacre of over 350 in Zaria in December 2015 as well many other IMN supporters killed by security agencies over the years,” Amnesty Nigeria spokesperson, Isa Sanusi, said in a statement to on Monday night.
“Many members of IMN have been missing since 2015; their families and relatives a yet to know their fate and their search for justice has been largely ignored by Nigerian authorities,” the statement added.
“Despite federal high court order of December 2016 Nigerian authorities have continued to keep Ibraheem El-Zakzaky in unlawful detention and his bail application perpetually delayed, despite repeated concerns over the deterioration of his health.
“The fact that authorities have not indicated any attempt to investigate and ensure justice in all incidences involving IMN clearly shows a government resolve to deprive them of their fundamental human rights.
“We insist that Nigerian authorities ensure justice in all cases involving all Nigerians, including IMN,” the statement added.
The Buhari administration has argued the proscription did not violate the Constitution but only aimed at curbing the excesses of alleged violent elements amongst IMN members.