*Says it’s convinced Shi’ites transgressed
*MURIC neither pro-Shi’ite nor anti-Rufai, Rights group clears self
*Nonplussed Shi’ites don’t recognise officially installed leaders
By Kemi Kasumu
Barely 24 hours after issuing a statement countering the Kaduna State Government declaration of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) as insurgent group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has retracted its earlier position saying he is now convinced that the Mallam Nasir el-Rufai-led government is right.
The Muslim rights organisation had, in the statement signed by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola on Tuesday, cautioned the government of Kaduna State on the issue of the Shiites which it declared as insurgent group.
But the group the group quickly retracted the statement saying, “Well-meaning Nigerians, particularly from the North where the impact of the group has been felt most, have sincerely intervened and thrown more light on the activities and status of the IMN.
“Fresh information has revealed IMN’s attack on the Emir of Zaria, its alleged involvement in the assassination of some Muslim clerics, its lack of respect for constituted authority, its posturing as a government within a government, its alleged possession of arms, etc.
“In the face of these fresh facts, we are obliged to incorporate the opinions of our members who are up-North. This is necessary in order to carry them along. Who feels it knows it. Those who live very close to the IMN must know IMN better.
“Even while we are not holding brief for the authors of the allegations, MURIC wishes to state clearly, categorically and unequivocally that at no point in time had we been pro-Shiite. Neither do we share any doctrinal identity with IMN. Our interest lies in the maintenance of peace in the Nigerian society and the need to avoid creating another monster like Boko Haram.
“MURIC is as worried as every other Islamic organisation about the doctrinal differences and heretic inclinations of Shiism. But sectarian differences are not limited to Islam. Above all, we are gravely concerned about the self-imposed isolationist disposition of IMN in relation with mainstream Islam in Nigeria. We are equally nonplussed by the group’s refusal to recognise officially installed leaders. These are big and questionable minuses for IMN.
“In the light of the above, we affirm that MURIC remains committed to the goals and aspirations of mainstream Islamdom which has been pursuing peaceful coexistence, neighbourliness, tolerance, love, forgiveness and, above all, sacrifice for our great country, Nigeria under the umbrella of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA). We advise IMN to retrace its footsteps in character and doctrine. In particular, IMN needs better image laundering in Kaduna State and the North in general.
“Nonetheless, we stand by our word of caution. Everything possible must be done to avoid turning IMN into another terror machine. What we need in Nigeria to get out of the current recession is peace. We also need peace for economic growth and political stability. We cannot afford another Boko Haram.
“As we round up, we appeal to Governor El-Rufai to ignore IMN’s unnecessary verbal war against his administration, avoid further bloody crackdown on the group and concentrate on the good work he has been doing in governance. We call on the Federal Government to investigate the serious allegation of possession of arms leveled against IMN. This will rest the controversy surrounding the labeling of IMN as an insurgent group once and for all,” MURIC said in a fresh statement also signed by his Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
Records have it that the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has since been outlawed to cease to exist in Kaduna State. Despite government’s ban on it, leaders and members of the group continued to threaten the peace and security of the state, The DEFENDER gathered, until it was finally declared as insurgents group by the government of the state.
More puzzling, a reliable source said, is the worry about the support the Shi’ite group get from the Iranian Embassy under the watch of Nigerian government. “If the government once and for all has taken a step, who says anything done to save Nigerian people from being plunged into fresh insecurity situation is too not right, considering the cost and energy expended in solving such problems?” The source said under condition of anonymity.