By Taiye Agbaje
A coalition of 22 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), on Thursday, cautioned politicians against hijacking the clash between members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and the military for personal gain.
The Convener of the group and National Coordinator, Guardians of Democracy and Development (GDD), Mr Solomon Adodo, gave the caution in a statement in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the IMN, also known as Shi’ite, had on Oct. 27, clashed with the military in Zuba, a satellite town of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), resulting in the deaths of some of its members.
According to Adodo, another worrisome dimension is the revelation that members of the opposition parties in Nigeria have hijacked the activities of the IMN to destabilise the peace that the citizens are currently enjoying.
He said the activities of the Shi’ite must be curtailed before they snowballed into hardened extremism and terrorism.
“Monday, Oct. 29, was rendered violent by IMN members, who surfaced in the Karu/Nyanyan/Mararaba axis with the same goal of attempting to overwhelm Abuja in their numbers to carry out violent protests under the guise of demanding the release of El-Zakyzaky.
“This act of criminality forced hardworking Nigerians to trek long distances to get to their homes while children in the affected vicinity were traumatised by the ringing of gunshots.
“On Tuesday, Oct. 30, in their determination to provoke security agencies, the IMN members set ablaze a police vehicle in Wuse 11 where they openly attacked security agents and other citizens randomly,” he said.
According to him, previous demonstrations or protests by IMN members were equally violent.
“There are enough video clips and pictures on the internet showing these people attacking security and military personnel.
“As it is the case now, some of these people carry weapons while a large number of them deploy projectiles of various forms.
“Another thing that stands out in the IMN violence is the destruction targeted at public and private property.
“In the last few days under consideration, they willfully destroyed cars belonging to law abiding Nigerians while also destroying vehicles belonging to law enforcement agents and the military,’’ he said.
Adodo stressed that the group had become a threat to the nation’s security.
“In the space of a few weeks, IMN is on the verge of adding Abuja to the list of cities that are not safe for international travel and investment.
“If they succeed in doing this or if we collectively permit it, then they would have assisted Iran in destroying Nigeria without invading us,” he said.
Adodo, who called on the Federal Government to proscribe IMN without delay, declared that failure to act within the next 72 hours would force them to stage a mass protest in Abuja to press home their demand.
He also called the United Nations (UN) and other international bodies to intervene in the natter.