Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, have responded to statements credited to Nigerian police tagging them as terrorists.
The Inspector-General of police had on Wednesday, October 31, 2018, directed a total clamp-down on the IMN group over its clash with security operatives.
About 400 members of the group were arrested by the police for alleged destruction of public property over which the police said those being held would be prosecuted on terrorism charges.
Members of the group were accused of disturbance of public peace and law and order in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and setting ablaze of police vehicle.
The police said 31 bottles of petrol bombs and other dangerous weapons were found in possession of some of those arrested, stating that all of them will be arraigned in court after investigation under the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2003.
But in a statement on Thursday, November 1, 2018, by its media forum president, Ibrahim Musa, the Shiite members vowed to resist what they described as attempt to link the Islamic Movement to terrorism.
“The Islamic Movement in Nigeria hereby dissociates itself from the deliberate mischief and narration of impounding petrol bombs and burning police vehicle,” he said.
“This is the plot of the security agents and those instructing them from behind the scene in order to blackmail the movement.”
Mr. Musa said members of the group have “right to practice their religion or belief, assemble, express themselves and protest as enshrined in The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Freedom of Religion. He said they cannot therefore be denied that right with “the scare of mischievously placing the movement on red alert.”
He also called on the general public not to be deceived by the “false allegations and executive lies” being spread with the intention of blackmailing the peaceful movement and depicting it as violent “even without any trace of violence in its almost 40 years of existence.”
Members of the group demanding the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, have since Monday been engaged in pitched battles around Abuja with security agents, resulting in several deaths.