To curb the growing tide of extremists activities in the country, participants at a one day seminar for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) and other critical stakeholders held in Abuja have recommended prosecution of IMN Leaders and members for terrorism.
A communique issued at the end of the seminar and signed by Jonathan Audu, Abubakar Wakil Mohammad and Osita Egbuniwehe said the activities of IMN members if not urgently checked may constitute another insurgent war.
The seminar reviewed recent events in the country as they pertain to extremism and terrorism with focus on the confrontations between the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and security organizations in the country and the attendant deaths and heightening of the threats to the safety and security of Nigerians.
The event doubled as the launch of a book, “Terror in the Caliphate: An Exposition of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (Shiites)” by Sunday Attah, which detailed the background of IMN and its members’ violent relationship with the Nigerian state.
Participants at the seminar said IMN has in the second half of 2018 made repeated attempt to relocate its operational base to Abuja under the guise of rallying in the nation’s capital to demand the release of its leader, Mr. Ibraheem El-Zakyzaky, whose bail application is a matter presently before a Kaduna High Court.
The Communique said, ” The true intentions of the IMN have been revealed by the series of violent protests it has staged in Abuja, which has resulted in security operatives being attacked with various weapons, operational vehicles being burnt in clear cases of arson and terrorism, innocent Nigerians – residents of the city being harassed, and some members of the sect dying.
“The IMN has a formidable propaganda capabilities that has framed law enforcement organizations as aggressors that are committing crimes while the group’s members are projected as victims.
“Experts are of the view that the success of this kind of propaganda is providing IMN the cover to consolidate its position as a terror group since government is handicapped in dealing with its acts of terror.
“The Federal Government has continued to foot drag in activating the necessary anti-terrorism legislation to properly designate IMN as a terror group so that its activities can be fully proscribed in all parts of the country. The time lapse between when Kaduna state outlawed IMN and when its members began attempting to overrun Abuja without the Federal Government listing it as a terror group poses danger to other citizens.
“IMN designated events and anniversary are no longer innocuous as they have all been turned into triggers for violence against the state and citizens. The impending December 14 anniversary of its clash with security organizations in Zaria is a potential start of another round of violence that cannot be ignored.
“There is an indifference towards acknowledging the roles being played by those that provide intellectual support for IMN and their acts of terror. The recruitment of celebrity activists and paid agitators into the ranks of IMN with the likes of Charlie Boy, Deji Adeyanju and others indicate that the group is mutating and expanding its catchment criteria for recruiting fighters”the communique said
It also condemned in strongest terms the invasion of the nation’s capital by IMN members owing to its symbolic depiction of terrorism.
It also urged CSOs, CBOs and FBOs are to engage the Federal Government to within a specified timeframe designate IMN as a terrorist organization and also demanded that the government dismantles IMN’s terror infrastructure including but not limited to identifying and blocking its source of funding and to stop the ability of its members to acquire weapons.
“Government should also tightens the vetting and issuance of visas to aliens known to pose as clerics for the purpose of indoctrinating youths to joins extremists movements.
“To seek funding that would make the book “Terror in the Caliphate: An Exposition of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (Shi’ites)” by Sunday Attah widely available to youths, especially in areas prone to being used as recruitment ground by the IMN.
“To carry out quarterly review of the progress made in containing IMN among others”
Presentations to participants included a Paper titled: “Religions as a catalyst for Peace Building, National Integration and Conflict Management in Nigeria” by Dr Mahfouz Adedimeji,
“Comparative Analyses of South East Asia Fundamentalist Movement and The IMN; Why Nigeria Must act Fast” presented by Mr Don Pathan, “IMN; The New National Security Threat That Must be Stopped” By Dr. Oliver Tersoo Agundu and a presentation via Skype by John Fiegener from Rome entitled: “IMN-ISIS; Foreign Interests and Distabilisation Agenda”
Boko Haram: Northern elders disagree with Afenifere over Service Chiefs’ tenure
….insist war against terror is yielding positive results
The leadership and members of the Northern Elders, Professionals and Stakeholders’ Forum [NEPSF] have faulted the recent call for the sack of service chiefs by the pan Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere.
The group asked Buhari to ignore the recent call, saying that some political enemies have infiltrated their midst.
Chief Simon Shango, National President of the group in a communique after a stakeholders’ meeting mourned with President Buhari over the recent murder of some soldiers in Melete, Borno State.
Shango, a formed editor of Daily Times Newspapers and Publicity Secretary of NPN lauded Buhari for his efforts to restore peace to the nation.
The communique reads in full.
There is no doubt that these soldiers died for us to live and we are optimistic, the supreme price they paid for Nigerians and our fatherland would not go in vain. As we mourn their sudden passage to eternity, we pray Almighty God to grant their gentle souls peaceful rest in His bosom, as well as comfort the nation.
Sir, we consider it another rare compelling reason for us to scribble these few lines to you. Though, you are still in mourning mood, but we are also stimulated by the prevailing tragedy which befell the nation to empathize with you.
It is completely unnecessary to repeat what is already known to you and millions of Nigerians. But for the sake of emphasis, let us remind you about some of the issues which have already come to your attention.
It belittles reasoning and sense of patriotism that ethnic bigots, enemies of Nigeria, political charlatans, particularly, the opposition elements in Nigeria to so bizarrely seek to use the deaths of our soldiers in the hands of our mortal enemies as campaign weapon to fester their political nests. It is against the precepts of morality and spirit of fraternity or commiseration for families of the slain soldiers.
We perused some of the recent outbursts, the latest emanating from Afenifere, the Pan-Yoruba socio-political group. We disappointedly discovered to our dismay that these anti-Nigerian forces may have infiltrated their ranks.
So, the agenda to lend supportive pillars to the atrocities of Boko Haram terrorists through media propaganda is only deemed complete, when their internal allies intentionally disparage your laudable efforts to contain these religious extremists bent on violent occupation of Nigeria.
The pro-Boko Haram disposition of these tribal associations, manifested more glaringly in the communiqué issued by Afenifere after its monthly meeting, which took place in Akure, Ondo state at the house of its leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti.
To say, we were shocked that the Afenifere enlivened the campaign for the sack of the incumbent Service Chiefs is to put it politely. But the infusion of a political tone into an otherwise mournful comments by praying God to “…give us a leadership that is more than equal to the challenges we face,” grassed the partisanship of the group on the matter.
And smarting from this mindset, Afenifere besmirched every effort made by your administration in the past three years, which has given respite to Nigerians, especially the communities in the Northeast, where the furnace of Boko Haram insurgency burned very hotly.
This is not a platform for us to engage the elders of Afenifere on a battle of words; but suffice it to say, their remarks were uncharitable, unpatriotic, misplaced, mendacious and grossly leading. The comments are condemnable and a tacit bolstering of the terrorists triumph and burgeoning to rise against our nation in pseudo might. That’s why they freely quoted unofficial and inflated figures of casualties of soldiers in the Metele attacks.
Indisputably, Afenifere is not blind to the commendable result-orientated selfless efforts of your Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of the counter-insurgency operations, Lt.Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai in the war against insurgency.
The welfare of troops is his topmost priority. And in spite of his tight schedules reflected in the supervision of troops all over the country, Gen. Buratai regularly visits the theatre of operation in the Northeast. It has been his commitment and cardinal focus since he became leader of the counter-insurgency operations.
Nigerians with untainted hearts have seen and felt the victories of our gallant troops against Boko Haram terrorists a countless times. And the determination of the Nigerian troops to sustain the winning streak against insurgents has remained unbroken and stanch.
But desirous to smear the image of your Presidency, the Afenifere has unconscionably queried the utilization of the $1 billion released for arms and ammunitions procurement. This in itself, is crying wolf where there is none, as attested by the Nigerian Army’s massive killings of the insurgents in their hideouts in Guzamala and other parts of the north-east.
We reiterate that the war against insurgency under your command and watch has recorded resounding success. Nigerian territories seized by Boko Haram terrorists have been reclaimed; nearly 20,000 thousands of Nigerians held hostage by terrorists have been rescued; sounds of bomb blasts no longer resonate in Abuja and other cities of Northern Nigeria, which insurgents held by the jugular before your Presidency. We are proud of you.
We have no scintilla of doubt that the war against terrorism as championed by the Nigerian Army and other security agencies is on course. And Nigerians are poised to resist any attempt to politicize these efforts. We shall not accept any unwarranted criticisms, as we encourage you to ride on. We pledge our continued support.
In all honesty, Afenifere cannot pretend ignorance of these milestones in the counter-insurgency operations. To therefore, berate your efforts because of the deaths of some soldiers, painful as it is, should not offer them a window to promote their narrow political interests. It is disservice to our nation.
We are obliged to call for more synergy among the various arms of the Nigerian military in the fight against insurgency in our nation. We want to see more support to our ground troops from the Air Force, especially at critical times, as revealed by the incident in Metele.