SHIITE PROSCRIPTION: ALLOW FG TO HANDLE THIS
Federal Government of Nigeria (FG) last week announced the proscription
of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as Shiites.
to this development, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on
Nigerians to allow FG to handle the situation. This was contained in a
statement made available to the media by the Director of the human
rights organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Monday, 29th July,
According to MURIC, “It will be recalled that we suggested
that FG should initiate dialogue with the leadership of the Nigerian
Muslim community and leaders of IMN in order to find an amicable
settlement for the Shiite imbroglio.
“But more revelations
have since come to our attention in the last 48 hours. For example, at
least two Muslim neighbours of the Shiites came out openly and in
writing to reveal stunning incidents of the use of violence by the
group. Their experiences date back to the 90s.
“A major Islamic
organisation which is based in the North, the Jamaatu Ikhmad al-Bid’ah
wa Ihyais-Sunnah (JIBWIS) also issued a strong statement calling on FG
not to handle the Shiites with soft gloves. Most importantly, the
testimonies have revealed a dangerous Shiite principle of
non-recognition of either a federal or state government.
on these new developments, we have no other choice than to call on
Nigerians to allow FG to handle the situation, particularly in the face
of large scale insecurity in the country. FG has been accused of
inability to rein in the general state of insecurity in the country.
Some have accused FG of failure to take decisive actions to stem the
“MURIC considers the proscription of IMN as a decisive and
necessary action. Nigerians who sincerely want to see peace and
stability must therefore give FG a free hand on this. Boko Haram would
not have festered so badly had former President Goodluck Jonathan taken
action when he should.
“It is also our considered opinion that
members of the civil society and individuals defending the Shiites are
not looking at the larger picture. FG has more comprehensive
information. Civil society must ponder over Shiite ideology which
rejects the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and all
constituted authority within the country including traditional rulers.
contend that Christian groups are most hypocritical. They support the
Shiites because they tend to see it as an opportunity to decimate
Islamdom, particularly in Nigeria. What really matters to them is how to
weaken Islam in the country. It sounds too much like ‘the enemy of my
enemy is my friend’.
“It is well known that the present conflict
is between the Shiites, FG and the Kaduna State government. Mainstream
Islam is not involved. Knowing the excesses of their Shiite neighbours,
other Islamic organisations decided to remain aloof ab initio. Christian
leaders who want to exploit the silence of Islamic organisations as an
opportunity to create more division between the Sunnis and the Shiites
now started pretending to sympathise with the Shiites. The latter is
quick to grab the straw.
“Otherwise why should they be the ones
defending a Muslim group which even mainstream Muslims regard as
dangerous? Why this sudden act of ‘benevolence’? Come to think of it:
who opposed Nigeria’s membership of the Organisation of Islamic
Conference (OIC)? Who kicked against the introduction of Shariah? Who
fought the advent of Islamic banking tooth and nail? Who is behind the
infringement on the rights of Muslims particularly the hijab issue in
the South West?
“Is it not paradoxical that those who have been
accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of attempting to Islamise Nigeria
are the same people supporting an Islamic sect which refuses to
recognise any government but Shiite authority? We put it to Christian
groups in the country that they are shedding crocodile tears on the
Shiite imbroglio. But the wind has blown and we have seen the ruff of
the hen. It is time to back off.
As for members of the civil
society, many of them have no sympathy for Muslims and they have never
manifested genuine concern for the latter. The same civil society which
pretends to be protecting the girl-child by crying foul over early
marriage maintains conspiratorial silence over the hijab saga. None of
them sees anything wrong with locking hundreds of Muslim girls out of
school on account of an ordinary headscarf. It is such a big shame. But
we are not deceived.
“MURIC recognises the right of Shiites to
practice their faith but strictly within recognised rules of engagement.
Shiites must respect Allah-given fundamental rights of their
neighbours. They must genuinely renounce violence and pledge to stop the
harassment of other citizens. Not only that, they must review their
revolutionary tenets particularly that which refuses to recognise
federal and state governments. It is treasonable to vehemently persist
that they will only recognise an Islamic government based on Shiite
“In this respect, we are constrained to warn the
Iranian government to desist from interfering in the internal affairs of
Nigeria. Iran is known to have executed Sunni Muslim leaders in its
domain even without the latter engaging in any criminal activity.
Therefore Iran has no moral right to dictate to the Nigerian government
on how to handle Shiite excesses. This is a sovereign nation and any
attempt to export the Ayatollah-style bloody revolution to Nigeria will
be stiffly resisted by mainstream Muslims in the country.
the avoidance of doubt, MURIC is not interested in promoting a
Sunni-Shiite dichotomy. We are for all Islamic groups. We are simply
here to project, promote and protect the rights of all adherents of
Islam. Nonetheless, we reject those who smear the image of Islam in any
way and those who kill and maim followers of other religions and their
fellow Muslims. We recognise the authority of the Federal Government of
Nigeria as well as those of state governments and we will not associate
with those who seek to render asunder the sovereignty of our great
“In our closing remarks, we charge Nigerians to
allow FG to handle the situation. IMN was proscribed for its violent
propensity. It can be deproscribed when there is enough evidence that
the group is no more violent. We appeal to Christian leaders to stop
shedding crocodile tears over Shiite-FG imbroglio. We urge civil society
and individual activists to desist from selective activism. Those who
are silent on the hijab question vis a vis the oppression of the Muslim
girl-child should not be quick to comment on the Shiite affair. It is
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC