IGP orders arrest of Shi’ite leaders nationwide

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria may be in for a new ordeal as the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the arrest of all identified Shi’ite leaders across the country.

He has also directed a team of special police to dismantle the structures of the IMN in the country immediately.

Adamu, in a signal to the operatives dated August 30, 2019, said the force would not allow the Shi’ite members to violate the proscription of the IMN by the court.

He blamed the violent protest by the group on July 22 for the killing of the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations, Federal Capital Territory Police Command, Umar Usman, and a youth corps member, Precious Owolabi.

The IG further stated that a special investigation team set up to probe the murder had gone far in its investigations.

The signal, sighted by our correspondent on Saturday, read in part, “You will also recall that given the odious activities of the movement, the Federal Government obtained an order proscribing the group.

“NIGPOL FORCID (Nigeria Police Force Criminal Investigation Department) directs you (to) ensure that identified leaders of the group and their structures are dismantled and their activities contained.

“You are to inform me of your action for discreet investigation and possible prosecution of violators of the proscription order. Treat as very important.”

The police had earlier arrested 54 Shi’ite members after the July 22 violent clash between the force and the IMN members in Abuja.

But, the fate of the detainees could not be ascertained as the police have failed to provide information on their status.

The force headquarters informed one of our correspondents that the suspects were being held by the FCT police command, but the command in turn directed one of our correspondents to the FCID for further inquiries.

The Shi’ites had been protesting the detention of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who had been in the custody of the Department of State Services for over three years.

El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, held in a detention facility in Kaduna, were recently granted bail by a Kaduna State High Court on medical grounds on August 5.

When contacted for reaction to the planned onslaught against the IMN leaders, the Shi’ites spokesman, Musa Ibrahim, said the group’s leadership was aware of the IG’s order, adding that a statement would be issued today (Sunday).

The Federal Government had on July 30, 2019, proscribed the Islamic Movement in Nigeria following a July 26, 2019 court order which designated the activities of the Shi’ites organisation in any part of Nigeria “as acts of terrorism and illegality.”

Justice Nkeonye Maha of the Federal High Court in Abuja, in her ruling, directed the Federal Government to publish the order in its gazette and in two national dailies. This was subsequently done.