President Muhammadu Buhari is considering the proscription of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), PREMIUM TIMES has learnt from security and administration sources.
The proscription, which is likely to come in form of an executive order, is expected to be made public between today and tomorrow, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
An emergency meeting of security chiefs held at the State House late Monday afternoon, and the conclusion was that the IMN will be declared an illegal organization in Nigeria.
It is a direct response to the protests that turned violent Monday when members of Shiite IMN took over the streets of central Abuja, the Nigerian capital.
The demonstration was billed as just another instalment of relentless agitation for the release of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, a foremost Nigerian Shiite cleric who was taken into custody four years ago.
It, however, ended with casualties, including the death of a deputy police commissioner. The IMN said 11 of its members were killed during the violence.
Presidential spokespersons, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, did not immediately return requests for comments about the president’s consideration of a Shiite proscription on Monday night.
Mr El-Zakzaky was arrested following an invasion of his residence in Zaria, northern Nigeria, between December 12-14, 2015.
The official death toll of the invasion, which was carried out by Nigerian soldiers in the dead of the night, was 347 for Shi’a adherents. The IMN said the official death toll was grossly downplayed and insisted more than 1,000 of its members were killed in that single attack.
The military said the protesters had attempted to block the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, from the free passage on a highway that runs through the Shi’a headquarters in Zaria in the evening of December 12, 2015, and soldiers had no choice but to open fire when the Shiites became unruly.
The IMN strongly disputed the military’s account, saying its members were peaceful during the encounter.
They also questioned why the Nigerian Army deployed heavily armed soldiers, bulldozers and excavators to demolish both the headquarters and Mr El-Zakzaky’s residence in an operation that lasted two days.