PROSCRIPTION OF THE IMN: AN ERROR IN JUDGEMENT
I am afraid of going to farm, not because the Shi’ite exist within our midst but for fear of bandits, kidnappers or thugs. Traveling from Abuja to Kaduna could be exciting but the fear of of daredevil armed robbers and kidnappers has made me developed cold feet about traveling by roads. Zamfara and Sokoto states are under seige by armed bandits and cattle rustlers who kill and maim, destroying towns and villages. Boko Haram violent attacks on citizens in the north east and other suicidal attacks have been sending jitters down the spine of every Nigerian, but never has the Shi’ite movement threatened our corporate existence as a nation nor have their activities been a source of concern for the citizens.
Proscribing the Islamic Movement and declaring its followers terrorists should not be accompanied by applause from those who see it overt as a threat to their sect. A religious movement with an estimated twelve million followers and which had been in existence for over four decades could not be dismissed with the wave of a hand.
Terrorism is difficult to define as it is an act that can be perpetrated by both the government and those being governed. We have state terror, where government terrorized the citizens to submission as in Nazism or Fascism, or the other way round where a group commits violence on civilian targets to achieve certain political goals.
In each case, the IMN has never been found wanton. I have never for once, as a citizen, who lives with members of this group ever felt threatened by their activities. In fact, I have been a beneficiary of their several reach out programmes.
The Shi’ite is a persecuted minority within our midst and they suffer for their belief. Though they have been involved in confrontations with authorities during demonstrations, they have never been known to carry arms against the state or apply the use of force on the citizenry