The Presidency says with the proscription of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, security agencies now have the power to take “any necessary action” against the Shi’ite group as was done to the Indigenous People of Biafra led by Nnamdi Kanu.
The Presidency subsequently asked the IMN group led by Ibraheem El-Zakzaky to obey the order of the Federal High Court by not coming out to protest anymore.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Monday.
Responding to a question, he said, “In Kaduna it (proscription) worked; these troublesome people were chased out of the state. They no longer have a foothold there. They moved over to Abuja and that is why we have them here. It (court order) will be enforced.
“You said IPOB is still there but it is no longer a lawful organisation. And what that means is that the law enforcement agencies in the country have the right to take whatever steps necessary in order to deal with their activities if it surfaces.”
When asked what would happen if another IMN protest was staged, Shehu said they would not be allowed to do so.
“My advice is that they better not do that. It won’t be allowed. They are not allowed to protest anymore.”
When asked why the Presidency failed to obey the Federal High Court order for the unconditional release of El-Zakzaky and his wife in 2016, Shehu said the matter was a complicated issue.
The President’s spokesman said El-Zakzaky was granted bail on just one of the matters he was being held on but was not granted bail on other matters.
It was said, however, reports that Justice Gabriel Kolawole had granted the immediate and unconditional release of El-Zakzaky as well as a compensation of N50m due to his unlawful detention and the failure of the government to charge him, contrary to Shehu’s claims.
He also faulted the statement of the Christian Association of Nigeria condemning the proscription.
Shehu argued that it was not the freedom of worship that was curtailed but the freedom to protest.
The President’s spokesman maintained that Shi’ites as an Islamic sect were not the target but the IMN.