Former lawmaker Shehu Sani has urged the Sultan of Sokoto and other prominent Islamic leaders to stand as guarantors to enable the federal government release leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim el-ZakZaky, and his wife.
Concise News reports that members of the Islamic group have, at several times, clashed with security operatives, majorly the police, in mostly Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, over the continuous detention of their leader.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations in the Federal Capital Territory, DCP Usman Musa, also lost his life as a result of the clash, with the Shiites vowing to continue protesting the detention of their leader.
Meanwhile, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has obtained an order from the Federal High Court, Abuja, to ban the IMN.
Concise News reports that Justice Nkeonye Maha issued the order on Friday, designating the activities of the Shiite organisation in any part of Nigeria “as acts of terrorism and illegality.”
But the immediate past representative of Kaduna Central in the Nigerian Senate, Sani, did not welcome the proscription of the group, saying it was not in the best interest of national peace and security.
Sani told newsmen in Kano that “the solution to IMN problem in my own personal opinion are like four: the first, is that the Sultan of Sokoto and other religious leaders should provide guarantee to the Federal Government on which the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria would be released to them, that is one;
“Secondly, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria should seize all form of protest whether peaceful or violence.
“The third aspect of it, the government should move towards addressing the problems of those of their members that were killed and their homes were destroyed in compliance with the previous Court Orders.
“The fourth aspect of it is that the movement should ceaee all its alleged relationship with nations outside of Nigeria that pose security threats on our country.
“If they are a Movement, they should be a Movement as the name implies a Nigeria Movement to pursue their ideas, their beliefs and also whatever they preach.
“But when these issues are put on the table, I believe we can have a better way of solving them but we must avoid a situation where the Movement that we can see, the Movement that we can feel, the Movement we can touch, the Movement that we know they have members, leaders and structures that will suddenly disappear out of our own radar and do something sinister.
“The Movement that has been existing for four decades and they have faced a lot of persecution from successive governments and we must not in any way create more problems than the one we are confronted with in this country.”
He added: “You see, we have a culture of hiding our pepper in our nose or trying to quench the fire by creating walls of curtain. That is the way we are going.
“The court of law cannot address a problem of either insurgency or agitation or crushing this kind of idea. We have heard several laws on terrorism and it is 10 years today but we are still battling Boko Haram that is one.
“Secondly, which one do we prefer—the Islamic Movement that has a leader we can arrest, that has members we can see, that has an identity that we can prosecute or a group that can be forced to go underground and pose a serious security danger on the country, I think the option is ours.
“It is either we prefer an organisation like the Islamic Movement, that is the one we can see, or the one we cannot see.
“We have not been able to crush the one we cannot see and we are already creating a new one.”
El-Zakzaky and his wife have been in detention since his arrest by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) in December 2015.
He was arrested following a clash between followers of his group and soldiers in the convoy of the Chief of Army State, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, in Zaria, Kaduna state, northwest Nigeria.
A Federal High Court had in 2016 ordered their unconditional release but the government refused to obey the order.