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El Rufai Clamps Down On Religious Freedom, Bans Shi”ite Sect

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Nasir El Rufai, has taken one more step in the direction of clamping down on religious freedom in Kaduna State. In a move that seeks to repress a religious minority, the Kaduna State government has issued an order declaring the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, led by Ibraheem El Zakzkay, an unlawful society.

“This action is taken in the exercise of the government’s duty to preserve peace and security in the state, and to ensure that all persons and organisations are guided by lawful conduct and with due allegiance to the Nigerian state and its constitution,” said Samuel Aruwan, the spokesman of Nasir el-Rufai, in a statement.

Aruwan said that the decision to outlaw the sect was arrived at during an executive council meeting which held on Thursday, October 6, 2016.

“The order, which has been signed by the governor, draws on powers vested by the constitution and the laws of Kaduna state. Section 45 (1) of the constitution categorically vests in the governor the powers to take such measures and actions as are necessary for the promotion and protection of public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or the rights and freedom of all persons in Kaduna state,” it said.

In December 2015, Nigerian soldiers under the command of General Buratai invaded the homes of Shi’ites in Zaria and killed over 800 people according to the Islamic Movement of Nigeria. The Kaduna State government admitted burying over 300 bodies in mass graves following the army action which, for all intents and purposes, was a genocide.

The army alleged that the group had attempted to assassinate the army boss who has been accused of several acts of genocide and human rights abuses since his tenure began as the army boss in 2015.

El Zakzkay was shot several times, dragged out of his home, disrobed, dumped in a wheelbarrow, by Nigerian troops. His picture in that state was taken and circulated online by his attackers, to further humiliate him.

The Shi’ite leader has not been release since his arrest mid-December last year and there are reports that his and his wife, who was arrested with him are in critical health condition.

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria has continued to state peaceful protests calling for the release of the group’s leader and other Shi’ite illegally detained by the government.

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