Shitte group. NAN

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), whose members are known as Shiites, has been officially declared as a terrorist group by the Federal Government.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, announced this at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday.

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The police chief said anyone who associates with the group will be treated as “an enemy of the state”.

Concise News had reported that the federal government had obtained an order from the Federal High Court, Abuja, to ban the Islamic group.

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.”

The IMN will become the second group to be proscribed by the Buhari administration after the Nigerian government banned a separatist group Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) in late 2017.

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, Sheik Ibrahim el-Zakzaky.

Recently, a Channels TV reporter Precious Owolabi was killed by a stray bullet during a clash between members of the group and the police in Abuja.

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.

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.

The soldiers, Concise News recalls, accused members of the group of blocking a major road being used by the army chief.

A Federal High Court had in 2016 ordered their unconditional release but the government refused to obey the order.