Ozekhome slams FG for proscribing Shiites’ group
Says proscription unconstitutional, discriminatory
Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ozekhome, has condemned the order of the Federal High Court in Abuja proscribing the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, also known as Shiites.
Chief Ozekhome declared his position in a statement made available to newsmen on Saturday.
He said the court’s ruling which declared Shiites as a terrorist group was unconstitutional as a religious group could not be banned.
He added that the proscription was discriminatory and a violation of the rights of the members of the group guaranteed under section 38, 40 and 41 of the Constitution.
Ozekhome said, “the Constitution is ruthlessly being shredded by an intolerant and overbearing civilian dictatorship,” adding that “It is not an association that could be banned.
He noted: “Section 10 of the Nigerian Constitution makes Nigeria a secular State. You can’t ban religion, a people’s belief.
“There is also freedom of thought, conscience, and religion in section 38, while sections 40 and 41 allow for freedom of movement and association.”
ElombahNews had earlier reported that a Court had declared the Shiites as a “terrorists organization” following series of violent protest by its members that led to the death of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Usman Umar, and a Channels Television reporter, Mr. Precious Owolabi.
Making the declaration on Friday, the presiding judge, Justice Nkeonye Maha, restrained any person or group of persons from participating in any form of activities in relation to IMN under any name or platform in Nigeria.
Ozekhome wondered why the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government had not proscribed the “herdsmen and their known anchor, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association that has held Nigeria down by the jugular for years”.
He said, “The proscription by the government of the Shi’ites religious group is highly discriminatory, unconstitutional, as was the case of Indigenous People of Biafra.
“What group could be more terrorist than the Herdsmen and their known anchor, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association that has held Nigeria down by the jugular for years, killing, maiming, burning, raping, turning Nigeria into a crimson field of a bloodbath?
“Until the government bans and outlaws these, it is certainly not serious.
“They are demanding for the release of their leader still kept in government dungeon in spite of several court orders.
“The Shi’ite group is a religious group, like the President’s Sunmi group,” he stressed.