The Islamic Movement in Nigeria has condemned its branding as a militia group by the Kaduna State Police Commissioner, Umar Muri, describing the action as mischievous.
Muri had on Thursday while parading criminals before journalists at the police headquarters in Kaduna described IMN as a criminal group.
“I am delighted to inform you that the command in the last few weeks, in its numerous tasks of securing lives and property of law abiding citizens of Kaduna State has succeeded in arresting one hundred and fifty-seven suspects for various crimes which include armed banditry, armed robbery, kidnapping, cattle rustling, culpable homicide, rape, shop breaking, looting of government private warehouses, theft, Shi’ite (IMN) militias to mention but a few,” the police boss said.
Reacting in a statement on Thursday, Ibrahim Musa, Secretary of the Academic Forum of the IMN, said none of the group’s member was paraded to justify the commissioner’s claim.
The statement read, “It is clearly a mischievous and deliberate attempt at blackmail to not only mention the Islamic Movement in a row of renown crimes, but to also insinuate that it is a militia, a false accusation the Kaduna State Government had failed to prove before the state High Court despite all efforts. It is pertinent for the peaceful Islamic Movement engaged in purely religious activities to condemn such act of falsehood of branding it as criminal and also insinuating that it is a militia. Lest the Police Commissioner forgets, the meaning of a militia is a military force that is raised from the civil population to engage in rebel or terrorist activities in opposition to a regular army.
“In this wise, it is worth educating him to set the record straight that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria under the revered leadership of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky is a religious movement aiming to establish divine guidance and salvage the souls of people and not to kill them. The movement uses knowledge and logic and does not need or use arms in achieving its lofty goals. So it is a deliberate mischief to label it as a militia.
“More so, the newsmen present at the press briefing didn’t actually take the commissioner serious on his false claims about the Islamic Movement as none of the followers of the movement was paraded on that day along with the various crime perpetrators to justify his unfounded claim. We are forced to believe that the Police Commissioner, having understood the level of crimes against humanity committed against followers of the movement, and the instruction to put in place a judicial committee to investigate such crimes in the state, false branding of the Islamic Movement might provide them with a soft landing.
“The police in Kaduna have severally extra judicially killed followers of the movement peacefully protesting and exercising their constitutional rights to assembly and association. The Movement therefore, by this statement, sets the records straight that it is not, and will never be a militia group, does not and will never have any criminal tendencies.
“We use this opportunity to renew our call for the unconditional release of our revered leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, his wife and many others, a reason why several of our colleagues have been extra judicially killed by the trigger happy police on the streets of Kaduna.”