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Shiites have right to practice faith – Falana

Shiites have right to practice faith – Falana

Femi Falana, senior advocate of Nigeria and a human rights activist has affirmed the right of the Shiite Islamic sect to practice their religion.
He recalled that the Federal government clarified IMN’s proscription to the effect that the fundamental right of the Shiites to freedom of religion has not been abrogated.
“To the extent that the Shiites are observing a religious rite, it is callous and highhanded on the part of the Sunnis in government to authorise the police to massacre them.
“It is unacceptable to kill religious worshippers by officials of the federal and state governments that are currently negotiating and bribing bandits and kidnappers,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Police arrested four Shi’ites protesters in Kaduna today during the Ashura Day procession in Kaduna and Zaria.
DSP Yakubu Sabo Abubakar, Kaduna State Police Command PPRO, in a statement said the IMN members became violent and unruly on sighting the security men who went to disperse them.
“Today at about 0655hrs, we received an information that members of the outlawed Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) popularly known as Shiites came out en masse along Nnamdi Azikiwe Expressway, Kaduna and at Kasuwan Mata area of Zaria city respectively on procession in respect of the annual Ashura Day, blocking the public highways, causing traffic jam and molesting commuters.
“They were chanting slogans and demanding for the unconditional release of their spiritual leader sheikh Ibrahim Elzak-Zaky despite earlier warning by the Command Tuesday.
“It is on record that both the federal government of Nigeria and the government of Kaduna State have separately proscribed the group recently.
“Thus, teams of Policemen quickly dispatched to the areas with a view to dispersing the unlawful assembly and to manage the traffic.
“However, on sighting the Police, the protesters started throwing stones at them, hitting them with iron bolts using catapults. The situation became very tensed and members became violent and unruly. In view of these therefore, minimum force was used in dispersing them.
“Four suspects were so far arrested and are being investigated. We have also recovered some exhibits which include catapults and iron bolts.
“The Police succeeded in dispersing the unlawful assembly and brought the situation under firm control.
“Meanwhile, patrols are being intensified to avert any possible breach of peace. Members of the public are going about their lawful businesses without hindrance.
“The Command also wants to make it on record that, up to now it has not formally received any report of death casualties as claimed by the proscribed group earlier today.
“The Command therefore, wants to reiterate its warning that, the Kaduna State government has placed ban on procession in the State and to remind members of the IMN that the proscription placed on the group by the federal government of Nigeria and the government of Kaduna State are still in force. The Nigeria Police will always enforce the lawful Order accordingly.
“Members of the public are advised to go about their lawful businesses and to report any suspicious behaviour to the police or any law enforcement agency nearest to them,” he said.

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