The Islamic Movement of Nigeria has reacted to the banning of its practice in Kaduna State by Governor Nasir El-Rufai, despite the Freedom of Religion being one of the fundamental human rights every Nigerian is entitled to, according to the 1999 Constitution.
On Thursday 20 October 2016, the group said in a statement by its spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, who was declared wanted by Police,
“Kaduna State government, on Wednesday, officially released a Gazette No.21 of October 7,2016, that has declared the IMN an unlawful society. At the same time, Governor El-rufai said his government ‘did not and cannot ban any religion.’
“This two-faced comment of the government of Kaduna State is not only ambiguous but also, indeed, incongruent with reason, logic, law and sanity.
“The Islamic Movement is not a society or association or organization. It is a global concept. Its members are conscious and practicing Muslims who practice Islam the way it ought to.
“Banning the IMN is akin to banning our faith or stopping us from practicing Islamic religion the way we understand it, which KDSG itself admittedly affirmed it has no right to do. To claim otherwise is incongruous.”
“Governor Elrufai went to the extreme in his quest to justify this ambivalent position on the so-called ban. One moment he plays the jury and the next he acts the prosecutor at the same time.
“His comment that ‘It solemnly declared unlawful a specific group that continues to threaten public order in the state’ is bereft of reasons. So is his assertion that ‘the IMN was never a registered organization and it refused to conduct itself with full adherence to the laws of this state.’ It would be pertinent for KDSG to answer this poser: When was the IMN ever taken to a court of law and convicted of being a threat to public order?
“Elrufai’s twisted imagination seeks to mischievously label IMN as violent. This is contrary to evidence anywhere anytime. Only recently, a report by a crisis monitoring group, listed 18 new armed groups that sprang up in Nigeria in the last 17 months, with many of them involved in the killings and kidnap in Kaduna. Not only was IMN not listed, but Governor Elrufai has not turned his attention to those by banning them.
“This ban order is nothing but the portrayal of Kaduna state government as intolerant of religious minorities, and if allowed to stand unchallenged by the good people of Kaduna state, it will lead to a ban on other religious minorities, especially Christians and the Muslims following the Sufi order.
“Governor Elrufai cunningly hides behind the discredited findings and recommendations of Justice Muhammad Garba Judicial Commission of Inquiry to the Zaria massacre, without issuing a white paper on it, which he promised after receiving the report. If the Governor is sincere enough in the peaceful coexistence of Kaduna state, why won’t he as well prosecute the Army officers indicted by the Commission for the mass murder of at least 347 people and dumping them in mass grave secretly in the middle of the night?
“IMN rightly believes, Governor Elrufai wants to cover up his complicity in the murder of over a thousand innocent souls in Zaria.”