Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) have the warnings by the Inspector General of Police, Muhammaed Adamu not to hold any procession by filing out to carry out its annual Ashura mourning march in Abuja.
The Ashura procession is an annual religious ritual carried out by the Shi’ite Islamic sect all over the world on September 10.
Participants including men, women, and children held the procession for a few kilometres from Berger Roundabout to Wuse in the FCT, and concluded the exercise to avoid a confrontation with security personnel.
It was gathered that the procession which commenced by 8 am lasted for about 25 minutes and caused traffic gridlock in the commercial area, but there was no report of any incident.
The Shi’ites had on Monday, September 9, raised the alarm that the police were planning to attack the Ashura mourning procession in Abuja and other cities in the Northern parts of the country.
The Shi’ites said that they had credible information that the force ‘will employ extrajudicial approach to assault, arrest or kill whoever participates in the religious event.’
A member of the Academic Forum of the IMN, Abdullahi Musa, who said this in a statement, had invited religious leaders, Civil Society Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, the international community, journalists and the public to monitor the conduct of the Ashura procession ‘in order to expose those that are so desperate to cause violence for a pittance.’
In their reaction, the police had warned the sect against carrying out the procession, stating that by virtue of the Terrorism (Prevention) Proscription Order Notice of July 26, 2019, the IMN had been proscribed in the country and cannot hold any procession.
The force spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, said any gathering by the Shi’ites ‘will be treated as a gathering in the advancement of terrorism.’
In the same vein, the IGP has enjoined members of the public to be calm and go about their lawful businesses as the Force is doing all within its capacity to ensure there is no breach of the peace, law and order anywhere in the country.
Following the deluge of enquiries concerning the ban on procession on the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), it has become absolutely imperative to clarify that the ban on processions is applicable to members of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria only.
The IGP has directed all CPs & their respective supervisory AIG of Police in Commands and Zones to give full effect to the above clarifications and ensure that non-IMN Muslims are not in any way restricted from exercising their freedom of religion, worship and peaceful assembly.
Against this backdrop, Muslims marking the commemoration of “Ashura” throughout the country along with other Muslims across the world are free to carry out the annual “Ashura” procession.