Mike Ozekhome, a constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, has faulted the Federal Government over the proscription of Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, also known as Shi’ite.
Ozekhome described the proscription as highly discriminatory and unconstitutional.
The Federal Government had obtained a court order to proscribe the Shi’ites group.
An Abuja Federal High Court had on Friday ordered the proscription of IMN, following their clashes with security operatives.
The Justice Nkeonye Maha-led court designated the activities of IMN organisation in any part of Nigeria “as acts of terrorism and illegality.”
Recall that members of IMN had on Monday attacked emergency point of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA.
However, the constitutional lawyer likened the action to the case of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, which was proscribed by the government under questionable circumstances.
Speaking, Ozekhome wondered why Federal government had failed to proscribe the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), which had been linked to a serious of acts of terror in the country.
He said: “What group could be more terrorist than the herdsmen and their known anchor, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association? This has held Nigeria down by the jugular for years, killing, maiming, burning, raping and turning Nigeria into a crimson field of blood. Until the government bans and outlaws these kind of groups, it is certainly not serious.
“The Shi’ite group is a religious group just like the President’s Sunni group. It is not an association that could be banned. They are demanding for the release of their leader still kept in government dungeon in spite of several court orders.
“Section 10 of the Nigerian Constitution makes Nigeria a secular state. You can’t ban religion, a people’s belief. There is also freedom of thought, conscience and religion in Section 38, while Sections 40 and 41 allow for freedom of movement and association. The Constitution is ruthlessly being shredded by an intolerant and overbearing civilian dictatorship.”