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President Buhari Will Proscribe Shiites Today If…

President Muhammadu Buhari is considering the proscription of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Premium Times has learnt from security and administration sources.

The proscription followed the bloody violence that greeted the procession of the Shiites group in Abuja yesterday which saw the death of scores of members and non-members.

Among the victims, who paid the supreme price was Deputy Commissioner of Police Usman A.K. Umar and a National Youth Service Corps [NYSC] member attached to Channels TV.

Hell was let loose when security operatives tried to stop the Shiites, who have been agitating for the release of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, from protest.

The Shiite cleric was taken into custody four years ago by security operatives and has since been held despite several court orders for his release.

The ensuing fracas led to the deaths as well the burning down of the safety and rescue bay of the National Emergency Maintenance Agency [NEMA].

Unofficial sources said that eleven members of the Islamic group were killed during the violence.

According to the Premium Times report, the proscription, which is likely to come in form of an executive order, is expected to be made public today.

An emergency meeting of security chiefs held at the State House late Monday afternoon, and the conclusion was that the IMN will be declared an illegal organisation in Nigeria.

Mr El-Zakzaky was arrested following an invasion of his residence in Zaria, northern Nigeria, between December 12-14, 2015.

The official death toll of the invasion, which was carried out by Nigerian soldiers in the dead of the night, was 347 for Shi’a adherents.

The IMN said the official death toll was grossly downplayed and insisted more than 1,000 of its members were killed in that single attack.

A panel of enquiry constituted by the Kaduna State Government indicted Nigerian Army officers for the massacre, and also recommended the prosecution of some IMN leaders for various offences.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai accepted the conclusions of the judicial panel, but partially implemented its recommendations by proscribing the Shiite movement in Kaduna State.

No action was taken against the military officers indicted by the panel.

The Buhari administration has long categorised IMN as a violent group and encourages the use of force to suppress its agitations.

“This proscription will put an end to the madness of Shiites in Nigeria,” one of the official sources who confirmed the discussion on the executive order for proscription told Premium Times Monday night.

Another source said Buhari would cite the Terrorism Prevention Act to ban the Shiite movement in Nigeria. The law was introduced under President Goodluck Jonathan to proscribe Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation and intensify the crackdown on its members.

Premium Times learnt that the police have concluded that they might not be able to contain Shiite protesters in Abuja any longer.

But the administration had now become reluctant to deploy soldiers to crush protests in downtown Abuja because of its negative perception.

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