The Federal Government, on Wednesday, accused Iran of sponsoring the detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, to forcefully turn the country into an Islamic State.
In a fresh process it filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja, FG, alleged that El-Zakzaky was being sponsored to replicate a violent revolution that led to the forceful takeover of power in Iran in 1979.
FG told the court that the relationship between El-Zakzaky and Iran started shortly after the said revolution that toppled a sitting government, stressing that currently, members of the IMN, do not recognize President Muhammadu Buhari’s authority.
It said that El-Zakzaky who was a Shia activist in the University, was “heavily influenced” by the Iranian revolution, and had since galvanised his followers and brainwashed them to unleash mayhem against the Nigerian State and its citizens.
Consequently, in a 56-paragraphed counter-affidavit that was deposed to by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in Charge of Operation, FCT Command, Enyinnaya Adiogu, FG, urged the court to dismiss the suit the IMN filed to challenge the order that proscribed its activities in Nigeria.
DCP Adiogu told the court that he had the consent of the Attorney General of the Federation, the National Security Adviser, and the Inspector General of the Police, to depose to the affidavit.
He averred: “That from history and facts available, the Movement Called Islamic Movement of Nigeria founded by El-Zakzaky has its sole aim of creating an Islamic State.
“That Sheik El-Zakzaky was heavily influenced by the Iranian revolution, which saw Ayatollah Khomeini take power in 1979 after the overthrow of the Shah in a popular uprising. Khomeini remains Islamic Movement in Nigeria’s main inspiration.
“That members of IMN First pledge allegiance to Khomeini at their gatherings, and then to their local leader, Sheikh Zakzaky.
“The IMN views itself as a government, and Sheikh Zakzaky as the only legitimate source of authority in Nigeria and it does not recognise the authority of the Nigerian government, and views its leaders both Muslims and Christians as corrupt and ungodly.
“That the Islamic Movement in Nigeria began with a Shia Muslim university activist Ibraheem El-Zakzaky who became so impressed with the 1979 revolution in Iran that he wanted one at home (Nigeria).
“That Later, El-Zakzaky went to Iran, ultimately becoming a Shia cleric.
“That at his return home, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky formed the lslamic Movement of Nigeria and turned it into a vehicle for proselytizing and gaining followers in 1990s.
“That till date Sheikh El-Zakzaky enjoy the support of Iran in all the activities of Islamic Movement in Nigeria, including the agenda to make Nigeria an Islamic State.
“That as a result of El-zakzaky Movement’s activities, many Muslim youth have converted to Shia-Islam of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
“That the main aim of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria is to propagate the ideology in Iran and turn the Country (Nigeria) into an Islamic State as was done in the Iranian Revolution of 1979.
“That the violent acts of the members of the Respondent/Applicant right from its inception up to the 24tg day of July, 2019, is chronicled in affidavit in support of the motion used in proscribing the Respondent/Applicant.
“That considering the violent acts of the members of the Respondent/Appiicant, and their known agenda of achieving an Islamic State in Nigeria, the office of the National Security Adviser wrote to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria requesting for his approval to proscribe the Respondent/Applicant.
“That the Presidential Approval was obtained and same was conveyed by Exhibit 10 attached to the affidavit of the Applicant/Respondent in support of the Motion Exparte dated the 25th July 2019 and the court sighted same during the hearing of the Exparte application.
“That after hearing the motion exparte filed by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, this Honourable Court made an order declaring the Islamic Movement in Nigeria as a terrorist group.
“The Certified True Copy of the Records of proceedings of 26th day of July, 2019 and the Order of the Court is hereby attached and marked Exhibit FGN16 and FGN17, respectively.
“That I was informed by Dayo Apata Esq, Solicitor General of the Federation and one of the Counsel handling this matter on the 23rd day of August, 2019 at about 12.00 13.00 hours during briefing on this matter in his office at the Federal Ministry of Justice Abuja, and verily believe him to be true as follows:
“That Contrary to the deposition of Haruna Garba Magashi in paragraphs 7, 8 and 9, the Prescription process is done without service on the proscribed organisation or its members.
“That Contrary to the deposition in paragraphs 7-9 of the Respondent/Applicant’s supporting affidavit, the procedure for proscription does not require service on the Respondent.
“That one Hammed Ajibola Iimoh Esq, in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1103/2017 between Hammed Ajibola limoh Esq vs Attorney General of the Federation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria challenged the Provision of Section 2 (1) of the Terrorism (Prevention & Prohibition) Act 2011, (as amended 2013) as constituting a breach of fair hearing.
“That the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja per Maha J., followed, relied and adopted the decision of Kafarati CJ. (as he then was) in the case of Attorney of the Federation v. Indigenous People of Biafra, Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/871/2017 decided that Section 2 (1) of the Section 2 (1) of the Terrorism (Prevention & Prohibition) Act, (as amended 2013) is not in breach of fair hearing.
“Certified True Copy of the Judgment of Maha J. , referred to in the above paragraph delivered on the 6th March, 2019 and the Certified True Copy of the Ruling of Kafarati CJ. (as he then was) in Suit No. FHC/ABI/CS/871/2017 delivered on 18/1/2018 are hereby attached and Marked Exhibit FGN19 and FGN2O respectively.
“That the decision of Kafarati CJ (as he then was) in suit No. FHC/ABI/CS/871/2017 delivered on 18/1/2018 upholding the position that Section 2(1) of the Terrorism (Prevention & Prohibition) Act 2011, (as amended 2013) is not in breach of Right to Fair Hearing has been appealed against and the Appeal is still pending at the Court of Appeal Abuja. The Notice of Appeal in Appeal No. CA/A/214/2018 between Indigenous People of Biafra v. Attorney General of the Federation is hereby attached and marked Exhibit FGN21.
“That the proscription process do not require the filing of the exparte motion alongside motion of notice.
“That contrary to the deposition in paragraphs 11 and 20 of the Respondent/Applicant’s supporting affidavit, the proscribed organisation and it members are given the opportunity to approach the court for setting aside the order if they have reasons to do so.
“That undertaking to pay damages is not needed in proscription proceedings.
“That Contrary to paragraphs 13 and 14 of the deposition in the affidavit in support, the Applicant/Respondent did not misrepresent or suppress any fact in the affidavit in support of the motion filed on the 25th of July, 2019.
“That the head of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and its members preach violence cause mayhem on the defenceless and innocent citizens of Nigeria. A video of lbraheem Zakzaky preaching violence in Hausa and its transcription from Hausa to English is hereby attached and marked Exhibit FGN 28.
“That contrary to paragraph 21 of the Respondent/Applicant in the supporting affidavit, the Federal Government and the Nigeria Security Agencies have never attacked worshipers in any Mosque or place of worship or anywhere at all.
“That the members of the Respondent usually block the High Way and access road to prevent other citizens and Government functionaries from using the way which in most case are without an option of alternative.
“That the clash between the Nigeria Army and members of the Respondent in December 2015 was as a result of the violent acts of the members of the Respondent against the Men and Officers of the Nigeria Army, including the Chief of Army Staff.
“That after the said clash the commission of inquiry was set up and the commission indicted members of the Respondent and recommended that the Head of the Respondent be held accountable for all the lives lost due to the violent nature of his members who always pledge total allegiance to him.
“That in line with the recommendation of the Commission of inquiry, the Head of the Respondent and his wife are now standing trial for Culpable Homicide punishable by death among other offences filed by the Kaduna State Government where the killings occurred.
“That the Nigeria Army did not attack the members of the Respondents and neither destroyed any property belonging to members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
“That upon the judgment in suit No. FHC/ABI/CS/281/19 the Federal Government lodged an appeal against the judgment and the appeal is still pending at the Court of Appeal.
“That while the appeal was pending, the Government of Kaduna State filed a 6 count charge against the Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky his wife for Offences bothering on Culpable Homicide punishable by death among others and they were arraigned on the 16th of May. 2019.
“That upon their arraignment they applied for bail and bail was refused by the court on the 7th of November, 2018 and the order refusing them bail and remanding them in Prison Custody in Kaduna State is still subsisting.
“That contrary to the deposition ln paragraphs 30 of the Respondent/Applicant in the supporting affidavit, the unwarranted protest of the members of the Respondent/Appllcnnt has always being Violent. Exhibits FGN lA1C. FGN 2A 8: 28. FGN 3, FGN 4A, FGN 5. FGN 7, FGN 8. FGN 9, and FGN 14 attached to the affidavit In support of motion dated and filed on the 25th July, 2019 through which the prescription Order was obtained show the level of violent acts of the IMN.
“That all the six judgments mentioned in paragraph 34 of the Respondent/Applicant’s supporting affidavit were not obtained against the Applicant/Respondent.
“That all the judgments attached by the Respondent/Applicant as exhibits were cases under state offences and were not prosecuted by the Applicant/Respondent.
“That Contrary to the deposition in paragraph 36 and 37 in the Respondent/Applicant‘s affidavit, the Security agencies have not provoked members of the Respondent/Applicant, and neither have the police killed their members and took away the bodies.
“That on the last violent protest by the members of the Respondent/Applicant on the 22nd day of July, 2019, they killed an DCP in charge of operations in FCT and burnt down a life-saving ambulance worth Millions of Naira which was stationed beside the Foreign affairs Ministry. This can be seen in Exhibits FGN 4A -4E in support of the Motion dated and filed on the 25th of July, 2019.
“That the violent protest in Abuja against the detention of the Sheikh lbraheem El-Zakzaky and other protest by the members of the Respondent resulted into break down of law and order leading to loss of lives and property worth Millions of Naira.
“That there are many video online (YouTube) which captured the violent activities of the members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria. The videos have been downloaded and burn in a DVD plate.
“The DVD plate containing 10 of such Video clips by Oak TV, Channels TV, Daily Trust TV, Sahara TV , TV 360 Nigeria and two recordings posted by a mobile phone is hereby attached and Marked Exhibit FGN 23. The DVD will be played at the hearing of this application.
“That the members of the Respondent/Applicant without any provocation by the National Assembly violently attacked the National Assembly, destroyed some structures. smashed and burnt down both public and private vehicles. As can be seen in Exhibits FGN 2A and 28 attached to the affidavit in support of the motion Exparte dated the 21st day of July, 2019
“That all the time the members of the Respondent/Applicant were violently protesting in Abuja, for the release of Sheikh lbraheem Zakzaky and his wife, they were in lawful custody by an order of the Kaduna State High Court and these facts is well known by the deponent who is a legal practitioner and the Respondent/Applicant’s lead Counsel.
“That as at the time the members of the Respondent/Applicants were violently protesting in Abuja, destroying public property and locking up public offices and causing the death of innocent citizens, the Federal Government of Nigeria had no powers to order the released of their acclaimed leader.
“That Contrary to paragraph 40 of the Respondent/Applicant affidavit, all the cases mentioned therein are criminal cases in which members Government of Sokoto State and that of Kaduna State respectively charged members of the Respondent/Applicant at various times for acts of violence in those states.
“That these cases shows clearly that Members of the Respondent/Applicant are a security threat to the entire Nation as all their action are done in violation of the laws of the land.
“That Contrary to paragraph 42 of the Respondent/Applicant’s affidavit, the members of the Respondent are not prohibited from being Muslims, practicing lslamic Religion and being members of the Shiites (Shia) group of the Islamic Sect.
“That it is not all Shiites (Shia) practising Muslims that are members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and another group of shia (Shiites) group such as Al-Thaqalayn Cultural Fundation, led by Sheikh l-lamza Lawal has condemn the activities if [MN as being against the principles of Islamic . A copy of the Nigerialawyer with an article titled “Shi’ites heads to court over proscription” is attached and Marked Exhibit FGN24.
“That due to the violent nature of the activities of members of the Respondent/Applicant, the Nigeria Union of journalists (NUJ) has urged the Federal Government to curtail activities of the Respondent/Applicant.
“That despite the subsistence of the Court Order, the members of the Respondent have described the proscription as a huge joke and have continued to protest in Abuja and other State.
“That the members of the Respondent/Applicant protested on the 30/07/2019, 31/07/2019, 01/08/2019, 02/08/2019 and 8/08/2019 in violation of the Court Order made on the 26th July, 2019.
“That there are several unregistered organisation such as 1. ‘Abdullah Azzam brigades, 2. AI-Mulathameen, 3. Amaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, 4. Allied Democratic Forces, 5. Ansar al-Sharia Dema , 6. Ansar aI-Sharia (Libva), 7. Ansar aI-Sharia Tunisia 8. Ansar Bait al-Ma-disAnsar ul Islam 2.Ansaru Armed Islamic Grouof Aheria, 10. AI-Barakat, Boko Haram, 11. Egyptian Islamic Jihad, 12. Al-Jama’a al-lslamia 13. Islamic State in Somalia, 14. Al-Itihaad al-Islamia, 15. Jabhatul Islamia, 16. Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. 17. Lord’s Resistance Army, 18. Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, 19. AI-Mourabitoun militant group, 20. Jama’at Nasr al-lslam wal Muslimin, 21. Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, 22. Muaskar Anole, 23. Mu’ahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem 24. Muslim Brotherhood, 25. Muslim Brotherhood in Ezwt, 26. Ras Kamboni Brigades, 27. Al-Shabaab militant group, 28. Soldiers of Egypt, and 29. Tunisian Combatant Group, that are not registered but are designated as terrorist groups in Africa.
“That incorporation or Registration is not a criteria for the designation or proscription of an organisation or named group as a terrorist group.
“That once an association of person under a name have decided to wreak havoc on a state and its citizenry, that organisation can be proscribe and designated a terrorist group.
“That some other organisation of the Shiites (Shia) practising Muslims such as the group led by Hamza Muhammed Lawal have distanced themselves from the Respondent.
“That I know of fact that the 5 pillars of Islam are: Declaration of faith (shahadah), Performing prayers five times daily (Salat) in Charity and alms giving (Zakat), Fasting during Ramadan (Sawm), Pilgrimage to Meéca (Hajj).
“That Violent protest, burning down of public property, threatening revenge by killing government functionaries are not among the pillars of Islam
“That I know as of fact that after the proscription, no member of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria has been denied access to a mosque to perform his religious obligation.
“That I make this counter-affidavit in good faith conscientiously believing the facts to be true and in accordance with the Oaths Act 2004”.
Buhari Signs Prisoner Swap Deal With Macao
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday assented to an agreement for the exchange of prisoners between the Nigerian government and the Macao government in China.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the Instrument of Ratification of the Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons between the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China,” presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said in a statement.
Adesina disclosed that Buhari signing the bill was an aftermath of deliberations from the Federal Executive Council conclusion on August 1, 2018.
The presidential spokesman said the government had directed Nigeria’s attorney-general justice minister Abubakar Malami to prepare the instrument of ratification of the agreement for the President Buhari’s signature.
“President Buhari’s assent formally executes the Agreement,” Adesina said.
Nigeria Will End North-East Insurgency Just Like Civil War — Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that Nigeria will soon see the end of the insurgence that has bedeviled the North-Eastern part of the country in the last few years.
He gave the assurance on Friday at the State House in Abuja while receiving the European Union (EU) Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic, saying that Nigeria had seen similar occasions in the past, but managed to overcome and forged on.
The President also assured that the newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development will effectively manage all attendant crises from the insurgency.
Recalling his experience of the Nigerian Civil War, the President noted that the current security challenge in the North-East, though might take some time, will also be subdued, saying “If we were capable to fight a 30-month civil war and reorganised our country, I wonder why people are thinking that Nigeria cannot do it”.
According to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, President Buhari emphasised the devastating effect of the Libyan crisis on the whole of the Sahel region of the continent, citing the activities of terror groups in Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso in recent times.
He, however, assured the European Union envoy of Nigeria’s continued cooperation with the EU, saying “I assure you of Nigeria’s commitment to enhance and deepen cooperation with the EU in all areas.
“Our priorities in the next level is to ensure that Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, are rehabilitated so that livelihood should be established and the children should not lose the opportunity to go back to school, which is very important for the future of that area and Nigeria generally.
“We have the experience of the civil war. I could recall the role of the military, the army, each commander had in his pocket how to behave himself and how to allow international bodies like yourself to go round and see for themselves that people are treated in the most humane way. We have this experience and I assure you that we also have this confidence in your organisation. That is why I feel that Nigeria is capable of handling this crisis, it may take long but we are capable of handling it.
“The important thing really is weapons reaching the Sahel; the instability it is causing. Look at the casualties in Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali; Libya has a direct impact on the stability of the Sahel. As for Boko Haram, we try to disabuse the mind of the people and I think our people now understand the basic dishonesty in it. With my experience personally in the civil war, I am sure we will get over it.
“I assure you that we are aware of these problems and we will continue to do our best. The newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs is coordinating NEMA and others, to make sure that whatever resources we get are well utilised. The ministry will be accountable to the government instead of having too many bodies doing the same thing. We are also reaching out to foreign countries explaining to them our position, and we are confident we will get over it”, the President said.
The EU Commissioner emphasized that Nigeria plays a big role in the African continent and globally in economic, social and other spheres and asked for the development of a plan between the EU and Nigeria concerning the issues in the Northeast. He said he had visited Borno State and appreciates government’s efforts to end the conflict there.
“We would like to support your efforts. We believe all relevant actors; military, civilian as well as humanitarian should come together. The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs is suggesting such high level dialogue.
“In situations such as what we have in the northeast, international law and international humanitarian law should apply. We believe in your efforts to end the conflict; military effort alone probably will not be sufficient without identifying and addressing the socio-economic factors causing it,“ he stated.
I Never Said Amotekun Is Illegal — Malami
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has denied declaring the South-West regional security outfit codenamed ‘Operation Amotekun’ illegal.
He stated he was misquoted on his interpretation of the outfit established by the six South West Governors.
Responding to chat on Radio Nigeria Abuja on Thursday morning, Malami said: “I was misinterpreted on Operation Amotekun. I did not say it’s illegal.
“I said the Operation Amotekun should be properly backed by law, so if at the end of this government, if the operation has been backed by law, any government that eventually succeeded this government would not rubbish the operation.
“I said if they failed to enact a law in support of Amotekun in the South-West Region of Nigeria, another government can come and say it’s illegal and this is because it is not backed up by any law.
“So, it is just a piece of advice to the state governors to use their power and the State Houses of Assembly in their various states to enact a law that will make the operation more effective.”
However his media aide, Dr Umar Gwandu, maintained that the constitution did not recognise regional security outfit.
Gwandu quoted Malami as insisting that regional security architectural arrangement by states was not tolerated by the constitution.
The minister said: “The planning, execution, consummation of whatever security arrangement must be naturally grounded in law, rooted in the constitution and tolerated by the law.
“For any arrangement to stand within the law, the bottom line is that constitutionality and legality must be factored.
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“Provided that there is an aberration relating to constitutional compliance, I think the right thing to do is to ensure constitutionality and legality both in spirit, planning, concept, and consummation.
“If you are talking of regional arrangement, for example, at what point did the state assemblies come together as a region for the purpose of coming up with a statue or a law that can operate within the context of the constitution, taking into consideration the federating arrangement that does not allow or tolerate a regional state House of Assembly arrangement.
“You cannot independently, unilaterally operate in the provision of the constitution without recourse to the constitutional authority that is the bottom line.
“Working together, helping the Federal Government in the provision of security is indeed a welcome development but it has to be rooted in the law and within the context of working arrangement with institutions constitutionally established and not a unilateral exclusive arrangement by a regional body.
“In the circumstances of Amotekun, it is the idea of unilateral control that it is the problem without recourse to the institutional and constitutional arrangement that is put in place by our constitution.
“You can indeed provide whatever support and consideration but definitely it must be rooted in the constitutional arrangement and so self-help by way of unilateral arrangement cannot be tolerated with particular reference to a regional arrangement which is not rooted in the constitution within the context of security.”