Following the violent protests by the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, in some parts of the nation over the continued detention of their leader, El-Zakzaky, an interfaith group known as Forum of Muslim and Christian Faithful in Abuja, has decried continuous terror acts by the sect.
Recall that the group had last week invaded the national assembly complex, vandalizing vehicles and killing a security officer in the process.
Speaking at a joint press conference on Wednesday in Abuja, the religious forum warned the sect to stop acts of terror in the country.
A statement jointly signed by Rev. Nathaniel Atawodi, Convener, Nurudeen Abdul-Gafar
Deputy Convener, called on the Nigerian government, through the Nigerian Police Force, the Department of State Services (DSS), Civil Defence and even the military, to clamp down on the terrorist activities of the IMN so that the brand of terrorism it is seeking to spread is not allowed to take over Abuja.
The forum also called on the international community to call the violent group to order.
The statement reads.
We have followed with interest the various security advisory issued by diplomatic missions, supra-national bodies and international organizations to their nationals and staff living in Nigeria, particularly Abuja, since this is where most of them are based. Whilst some contrived incidents might have given rise to the issuance of these advisories, we have deemed it right to weigh in on the situation.
It is imperative to categorically state that Abuja has not only remained safe but that it remains one of the safest capitals in the world today. The sense of insecurity being attributed to the capital city arises from the activities of bandits in the north-west, the remaining traces of terrorism in the north-east and kidnapping in the outlying neighbors of Abuja.
These criminal activities spiked following the elections held earlier in the year. There have been reports that these crimes are the manifestations of the threats by the opposition that killings will continue and intensify if they did not win the election.
This is by no means to say that Abuja has not recorded its own share of muggings, car burglary and some other crimes that are common with cities of Abuja’s status. These crimes exist but fortunately the state of security in Abuja and environs have remained within a healthy threshold since President Muhammadu Buhari came on board. Security agencies and their military counterparts have continued to collaborate to keep criminals out of the city and their efforts and the resulting success must be commended.
The only serious blot on the security landscape of Abuja remains the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) whose members have continued to torment residents of the city. IMN members have now made it a routine to deny other road users the right of way while their frequent confrontation with the police usually lead to entire districts being sealed off. This has taken heavy tolls on quality of life and businesses.
The peace, which the city has been known for since President Buhari came into office, is now being threatened with the terror attack launched on the National Assembly by IMN elements last week. It is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue. We cannot again have a situation where terrorists will take over the capital and be killing security operatives like Boko Haram did before the military flushed them into the desert and Sambisa Forest.
This attack, in which IMN members used firearms against law enforcement officers, is totally condemnable because person that have been radicalized on the scale of the IMN members should not be allowed anywhere close to weapons. It is an unacceptable development because it clearly conflicts with the lies they had always told that they are harmless. With this development, it is now clear for all to see that the IMN protests have nothing peaceful about them as there is nowhere in the world where bearing arms for protests is considered peaceful and neither is civil disobedience equated with openly attacking persons that are providing security for the country.
What we found worrisome is that the IMN’s attack has triggered an avalanche of these advisories and questionable reports that are now making Abuja sound like a war zone when the reverse is the case. It is inconceivable that one sect will make it its life mission to destroy a city that many of us have labored to build and call home. It is most ridiculous that the so called IMN members are not even taxpaying individuals in addition to their disavowal of the Nigerian state of which Abuja is the capital. We therefore wonder on what basis they have decided to import terrorism into our city.
We have no option than to warn IMN and its members that they must stop committing their acts of violence and terrorism in Abuja, and indeed in any other part of the country since that has a way of having knock on effects here in our city. IMN must realize at this stage that no one has the monopoly of violence.
Intelligence report have also suggested that the upsurge in incidents of muggings, car burglary and robberies being witnessed in Abuja coincided with mass exodus of IMN members into the city under the guise of coming to protest to demand for the release of their detained leader. An additional point that has been noted is that these IMN members resorted to these crimes to finance their stay in Abuja since they are not gainfully employed in the day time other than taking part in violent protests.
Abuja cannot and must not suffer the double jeopardy of having IMN shooting and killing policemen by day while attempting to sack the National Assembly and robbing or mugging residents at night to finance their ill fated campaign. The daytime and nighttime terrorism must both be stopped. We cannot begin to live under constant fear of not knowing when IMN members will strike and make life unbearable for the rest of us.
We therefore call on the Nigerian state, through the Nigerian Police Force, the Department of State Services (DSS), Civil Defence and even the military, to clamp down on the terrorist activities of the IMN so that the brand of terrorism it is seeking to spread is not allowed to take over Abuja. It is also crucial that their fanatical activities are checked so that other persons of faith are not mistaken for sectarian fanatics and harmed in any way.
The international community is invited condemn the IMN’s act of terror. Countries with missions in Nigeria should endeavor to get the correct brief from their consular staff on the IMN issue so that they would not be misguided into wrongly siding with terrorists. Home countries must further ensure that their staffers in Nigeria have not been compromised by the huge funding that IMN has deployed to manipulate the true account of its complicity in terrorism.