We are in the know that the Sokoto state Governor, Aminu Tambuwal has consented to a grand plot to stage a massive crackdown on IMN and its members in Sokoto state. This will involve massive killing of members, including women and children, as well as wanton destruction of properties that will include residential houses and business premises. In preparation of this therefore, series of secret meetings were held in and out of the state, wherein it was decided by the conveners of the meetings that the incumbent Governor will only get a second term if his government is seen to be fighting Shia tooth and nail. It is reckoned that his government’s scorecard in terms of developmental projects is nothing to write home about, hence the only bait is to be seen to adopt a stern anti-Shia posture.
It is in pursuance of such a devilish scheme that the government has since last month been using the state police command to harass and intimidate IMN members as they go about their religious observances. There was even a public announcement purportedly banning the activities of IMN in the state. Only last week, a faceless organisation called Mabera Magaji Community was contracted to write a petition to the state police commissioner demanding the immediate demolition or relocation of the house of a prominent leader of IMN, claiming that those in its neighborhood no longer feel safe.
The Islamic movement in Nigeria (IMN) will like to categorically remind the Governor that a second term will not be guaranteed merely by fighting Shi’a in the state. What it will certainly guarantee him rather is the wrath of Allah, for the Shia in the state have not broken any law. A cursory look at his predecessor, Senator Wamakko, should prove to him that persecution of Shia does not pay anyone in the long run. He killed and maimed, he imprisoned hundreds and massively destroyed their properties and above all, he framed up charges against several others and wrongly detained them. Yet the courts discharged and acquitted the Shiites and awarded damages against the state government, which is yet to be paid. Meanwhile, Shias remain and are waxing stronger in Sokoto, much beyond his misrule. And definitely the court of the Lord of the worlds awaits him as well, sooner or later. It is therefore pertinent that Governor Tambuwal tread with caution on this sectarian fight. He will be held responsible for any attack on IMN members, leaders and properties in Sokoto state.
Those behind the faceless organisation called Mabera Magaji Community, should know that IMN members are equally bonafide indigenes of Sokoto. The letter to the CP only exposed their intolerance because they failed to cite a single criminal activity carried out by IMN members in their midst to make them feel unsafe.
Let it be clear that Shia members in Mabera, like in all others in parts of Sokoto state and the country at large, are peace loving and responsible members of their communities. There is simply no reason to malign them on the prodding of some mischief makers. IMN members in Mabera in particular have always conducted themselves peacefully, respecting the rights of neighbors. Yet the Sokoto state government wants to turn the hitherto peaceful neighbourhood into a war theatre.
Finally, we loudly call on Governor Tambuwal to let peace reign in the state and allow all citizens to enjoy the freedoms guaranteed them in the Constitution. As a lawyer, we hope he will at least respect this aspect of the laws of the country.
PRESIDENT MEDIA FORUM OF IMN