BREAKING: Shiite Islamic Movement formally declared ‘insurgent group’
The Kaduna State Government today released the White Paper on the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Zaria clashes of December 2015. The Judicial Commission of Inquiry which examined, among other issues, the immediate and remote causes of the clashes between the Nigerian Army and the outlawed Islamic Movement of Nigeria IMN, submitted its report in July 2016. Following the receipt of the report, the Kaduna State Government made the report public within 10 days, and set up a committee of senior public servants to prepare a draft White Paper.
This White Paper sets out the views and decisions of the Government on all the recommendations that have been made to it by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry. All recommendations that are within the purview of the Kaduna State Government can be accepted, noted or rejected. Those pertaining to institutions or tiers of government not under the direct control of the state government are noted and referred to the appropriate institution for consideration and decision.
After deliberations on the draft White Paper by the Kaduna State Security Council, it was subjected to further review by the Kaduna State Executive Council which amended and approved the White Paper.
Regarding the clashes in the Gyallesu area of Zaria where the Nigerian Army mounted a cordon and search operation, the White Paper observed that many civilians were evacuated from Gyallesu, but that IMN members rejected the opportunity to vacate the area.
The White Paper also acknowledged that the Nigerian Army abided by its Rules of Engagement and further observed that:
The Judicial Commission of Inquiry failed to take into account the years during which the activities of the IMN in Gyallesu had threatened peace and security;
For all intent and purpose, the IMN is an insurgent group and ought to be treated as such;
The sheer numbers of IMN members congregating in Zaria from across the country that night, with many bearing arms, was such that the Nigerian Army was in no position to accurately determine how armed and organised they were and had to be concerned on what their intention for Zaria was.
“With regards to the findings of the Commission on the conduct of the Nigerian Army, the State Government noted the recommendation that members of the Nigerian Army that may have been involved in the unlawful killing of 347 citizens should be brought to trial before a Court of competent jurisdiction.
“The Kaduna State Government is assured that the Federal Government will not condone unlawful killing of any citizen and that this conduct will be further investigated and any culprits identified will first be subjected to court martial by the federal authorities, followed by civil prosecution by the state government.”
“The Kaduna State Government accepted the following recommendations, among others:
The evidence before the Commission, from the testimonies and memoranda submitted to it by the various interest groups and stakeholders, clearly shows that IMN has become a law unto itself; disregarding the authority of the Nigerian State as vested in the police and other security agencies which many a times lead to several confrontations such as the one of 12th to 14th December, 2015 between it and the Nigerian Army;
All incidents of violence and aggression by the members of the IMN against individuals, groups or communities, which have resulted in grievous bodily harm, destruction of properties and deaths, should be fully investigated and culprits brought to book. Where appropriate, compensations should be paid;
The State Government should investigate and repossess all illegally acquired public lands from IMN and utilize same for Public Interest;
Without any hesitance, government must demonstrate the necessary political will to proscribe the existing IMN as an unregistered and unlawful association;
Mechanism should be put in place for the proposed Bill on Religious Preaching to be passed into law as quickly as possible and implemented.”
The inquiry report further asserted that “the IMN has been steadfast and deliberate in refusing to recognise the legitimacy, authority and the Constitution of the Nigerian State. They have operated outside the laws of the State and the Funtua Declaration is their flagship enunciation of the ideology of confrontation with the Nigerian State, its legal system and its security agencies. The result has been a long tradition of IMN refusal to respect, observe and comply with the laws of the country.” The Commission of Inquiry also highlighted the IMN’s allegiance to a foreign power and its pattern of conduct which suggests that the IMN is an insurgent group.
Islamic Movement of Nigeria: Islamic Movement of Nigeria: Islamic Movement of Nigeria: Islamic Movement of Nigeria