Although the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees all citizens the right of peaceful assembly and the right of expression, it would appear that Katsina state has exempted certain people from enjoying these rights. For the past several weeks now, members of the Islamic Movement (IMN) have been prevented from carrying out their normal peaceful religious activities in Katsina in clear violation of their rights. The twice weekly educational session and the weekly preaching session the members of the Islamic Movement have been conducting in Katsina Juma’at mosque peacefully for donkey years have been prohibited by the state government.
Recently, the peace being enjoyed by the city was severely threatened when a section of the military and other security outfits in the state were used to forcibly obstruct and prevent a section of the Muslims from conducting their religious rites on the orders of the state government. Being peace-loving, members of the IMN suspended their religious activities in and around the mosque in order to allow peace to reign. Those who wanted to use that as an opportunity to shed blood of the innocent were put to shame.
Ironically, the State Governor, Aminu Masari recently stated at a function that his government has no intention of denying anybody his religious right. The reality however is a brutal use of force by his government to clampdown on members of the Islamic Movement with impunity. This has continued for quite some time now. This is against the backdrop of the fact that the Islamic Movement has for the past 30 years conducted its religious activities in Katsina without any untoward event. This much was previously acknowledged by the governor himself when he paid a visit to our centre at the inception of his administration. Why he would now turn around to trample on the rights of members of the Islamic Movement in Katsina is mind boggling.
It would appear that he has succumbed to pressures by some people, whose only interest is the use of the instrument of governance to perpetrate their narrow-minded Wahabbi agenda of exterminating those who do not succumb to their religious persuasion. We wish to draw his attention to the dangers inherent in openly leaning to any side as this is in contradiction to the Constitution, which he swore to protect without fear or favor. Thus, the growing animosity by his government towards us will not augur well for anyone.
As we remain peaceful in going about our religious duties, we wish to call on all relevant authorities to allow us to exercise our rights to faith of our choice, our rights of peaceful assembly, our rights to hold an opinion and to propagate our faith without let or hindrance.
PRESIDENT MEDIA FORUM OF THE ISLAMIC MOVEMENT IN NIGERIA
0805 078 6093