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Shiites Proscription Illegal – Falana, Ozekhome

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Two leading Human Rights lawyers, Chief Mike Ozekhome and Femi Falana have both described the proscription of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) as illegal and immoral.

Two leading Human Rights lawyers, Chief Mike Ozekhome and Femi Falana have both described the proscription of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) as illegal and immoral.

The duo who are Senior Advocates of Nigeria said the proscription was “discriminatory”

Shiites Proscription Illegal - Falana, Ozekhome
Mike Ozekhome

Falana who is the legal representative of the IMN leader who is currently in prison, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky urged the federal government to withdraw the order.

“It is particularly opportunistic on the part of the Sunnis occupying public offices to use the instrumentality of the state to liquidate the Shiites.

“The illegal proscription of the IMN should be withdrawn. It will not stand as the fundamental right of the Shiites to freedom of religion is constitutionally guaranteed,” Falana added.

Falana said Buhari’s desperation to keep El-Zakzaky and his wife in prison led to the hasty decision to proscribe the group.

He described the proscription of the group by the Kaduna State government in 2016 as a gazette.

Femi Falana
Femi Falana

Similarly, he said IPOB proscription in 2017 by the same administration regime via an ex-parte order issued by the Federal High Court was also a gazette, adding that the groups have continued to operate in deviant of the proscription.

“However, in a desperate bid to prevent the Shiites from demanding for the release of their detained leader, Elzakzaky and his wife from the custody of the State Security Service, the Buhari administration has proscribed the IMN.

“Since there are millions of Shiites who belong to the IMN, the Federal Government will soon realise that it has merely driven the body underground,” Falana said.

Meanwhile, Ozekhome described it as unconstitutional.

Ozekhome said: “The proscription by the government of the Shiites religious group is highly discriminatory, unconstitutional, as was the case of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).

“What group could be more terrorist than the Herdsmen that has held Nigeria down by the jugular for years, killing, maiming, burning, raping, turning Nigeria into a crimson field of bloodbath? Until the government bans and outlaws these, it is certainly not serious.

“They (Shiite members) are demanding the release of their leader still kept in government dungeon inspite of several court orders. The Shiite group is a religious group, like the President’s Sunni group. It is not an association that could be banned.

“Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution makes Nigeria a secular state. You cannot ban religion, a people’s belief.

“There is also freedom of thought, conscience and religion in Section 38, while sections 40 and 41 allow for freedom of movement and association.

“The Constitution is ruthlessly being shredded by an intolerant and overbearing civilian dictatorship.”

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