Andrew Orolua – Abuja
The Federal government last week’s Friday obtained an order of the Federal High Court Abuja proscribing the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), as a terrorist organization.
The proscription followed an application brought by the federal government through the Solicitor General of the Federation, Dayo Apata.
The order issued by Justice Nkeonye Maha, specifically stated, “ a declaration that the activities of the respondent (Islamic Movement in Nigeria) in any part of Nigeria amounts to acts of terrorism and illegality.”
The court said, “An order of this honourable court proscribing the existence and activities of the respondent (Islamic Movement in Nigeria) in any part of Nigeria , under whatever form or guise either in groups or as individuals by whatever names they are called.
“An order restraining any person or group of persons from participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intention or otherwise of the respondent (Islamic Movement in Nigeria) under any other name or platform howsoever called or described in any part of Nigeria.
The federal ministry of justice has since last week Monday published the proscription order in two national dailies as ordered by the court thus giving effect to the proscription.
Members of the proscribed IMN have gone to the court to challenge the order. They have asked the court to vacate the proscription order in an affidavit swore to by a member Haruna Garba Magashi Esq. the movement adduced reasons why the court should vacate the order.
Magashi a male, adult, Muslim, Nigerian citizen and Legal Practitioner of NO 4C, Zainab House, Murtala Mohammed Way, Kano State deposed as follows:
That he is a Legal Practitioner and a Shiite Practicing Muslim in Nigeria under the Leadership and Guidance of SHEIKH IBRAHEEM ZAKZAKY.
That by virtue of my above position, he is very familiar with and well abreast of the facts given rise to the instant application of the Respondent/Applicant.
That he have the consent and authority of other Shia members to depose to this affidavit.
That the facts deposed to herein are facts within my personal knowledge (except wherein expressly stated) which I became conversant with as a Legal Practitioner and a member of the Shia religious community over the years.
That he and other millions of Nigerians are members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, the Respondent/Applicant herein.
That he read in the electronic media on July 27, 2019 that this Honourable Court granted an order ex-parte proscribing the existence and activities of the Respondent in any part of Nigeria and an order restraining any person or group of persons from participating in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intention or otherwise of the Respondent under any other name or platform whatsoever caked or described in any part of Nigeria.
That he and other members of the Respondent have not been served with a copy of the said order ex-parte made by this Honourable Court on July 26, 2019.
That the Respondent/Applicant was never afforded the opportunity to defend the allegation made against it by the Applicant/Respondent before the ex-parte order was made contrary to the provision of Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004.
That in granting the order, no return date was given by this Honorable Court for the hearing of Motion-on-Notice in respect of the ex-parte motion.
That he knew as a fact that the Applicant/Respondent did not file a Motion-on-Notice together with the Motion ex-parte upon which this Honourable Court made the order which we seek to set aside.
That the ex-parte order made by the Honorable Court has determined the fundamental rights of the Respondent/Applicant without affording it fair hearing.
That he also know as a fact that no undertaking was made by the Respondent/Applicant as to damages.
That the Applicant suppressed and misrepresented material facts.
That he have read the facts of the affidavit in support of the motion ex-parte and he know that they are all false and that this Honourable Court was misled to believe them to be true before granting the Ex-parte order.
That the Respondent is a friendly society of members of the Shia Muslims in Nigeria who follow the teachings and guidance of Shiekh Ibraheem Elzakyzaky.
That the Respondent is not a corporate body as it has not been registered under any law in Nigeria.
That the activities of the members of the Respondent are non-violent but peaceful and they have been in existence since the 1970s in Nigeria as a Muslim body.
That he has also seen a copy of the affidavit deposed to by one ENYINNAYA ADIOGU an Assistant Commissioner of Police in Charge of Operations in the FCT Command of the Nigeria Police in support of the motion ex-parte and knows that the facts contained therein are misleading, vexatious and false.
That the facts contained in the said affidavit of ENYINNAYA ADIOGU contain strong allegations of criminality against the members of the Respondent/Applicant for which they have not been tried and found guilty by any competent court.
That this Honourable Court relied on the content of the said affidavit to grant the orders proscribing the Respondent/Applicant without first giving the Respondent/Applicant the right to be heard and defend itself.
That contrary to the depositions of the Applicant/Respondent in their affidavit in support of the motion ex-parte, it is the Federal Government of Nigeria and its Security Agencies that have at all times provoked the Respondent/Applicant members, violently attacking them and, destroying their properties and killing innocent members of the Respondent/Applicant across the States in Nigeria.
That this unwarranted attack was taken to a new height in December 2015 while the Respondent/Applicant members were celebrating the beginning of Maulud which is the birthday anniversary of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when the Nigerian Army led by its Chief of Army Staff, LT. GEN. TUKUR BURATAI launched a vicious attack on peaceful worshippers of our members gathered at Husainiyya Baquiyyatullah our worship center at No 1A Sokoto Road Zaria, Kaduna State.
IMN claimed that in the said attack, properties worth millions of naira were destroyed and several armless and defenseless worshippers numbering over 1000 and including men, women and Children, the aged and people with disabilities.
That on or about December 15- 20, 2015 , the Nigerian Army also proceeded to the House of our Leader SHEIKH IBRAHEEM ZAKZAKY where they killed and injured many armless worshippers including three Children of our leader and his Senior Sister who was set ablaze by rampaging members of the Nigerian Army.
IMN also stated that at the end of the attack about 1000 of our members were killed by the members of the Nigerian Army, our leader and his wife were also fatally wounded from gunshots in the attack and subsequently taken into custody till date without any medical attention.
That the judicial commission of inquiry instituted by the Kaduna State Government confirmed the brutal massacre and burial of members of the Respondent.
That the recommendation of the Judicial Commission that the murderers of the 347 members of the Respondent has not been carried out by the Respondent.
That shortly after the attack and subsequent arrest and detention of our Leader SHEIKH IBRAHEEM ZAKZAKY and his wife, this Honourable Court ordered the release of himself and his wife in SUIT NO:
FHC/ABJ/CS/281/2016 and also ordered that they be paid the sum of N50, 000,000.00 (Fifty Million Naira) as damages and further directed the Applicant/Respondent to build a house for them in any of the 19 Northern States of their Choice with full Police Protection.
Find attached and marked as EXHIBIT B is a certified true copy of the judgment.
That the Applicant/Respondent has refused to comply with that judgment till date.
That it is the failure of the Applicant/Respondent to comply with the said judgment that led to several peaceful processions by Members of the Respondent/Applicant in the city of Abuja and other major cities in Nigeria to draw the attention of the Applicant/Respondent to their continuous violation of the rights of our leader and their disobedience of a valid court order.
That the Applicant/Respondents agent, the Nigerian Army killed 3 sons of Shiekh Ibraheem El ZakyZaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria in 2014.
That the current governor of Kaduna State, Mr. Nasir El Rufai paid a condolence visit to Sheikh El Zaky Zaky at the material time.
That Mr. El Rufai condemned the military attack and described the murderers as Jonathan Genocidal Army. Find attached Mr. El Rufai message on the occasion.
That the members of the Respondent have obtained 6 judgments against the applicant and its agents in the last four years.
That contrary to the orders of the Federal High Court the Applicant has violently attacked the peaceful rallies of the members of the Respondent and in the process killed hundreds of them.
That the Applicant/Respondent has never been comfortable with the activities of the Respondent/Applicant and had at all times employed the use of force, harassment, intimidation and violence to stop the peaceful protest.
That the police and other security agencies have killed several of the armless protesters in the city of Abuja and other cities in Nigeria during their peaceful procession and religious gathering recently and have refused to release the bodies of some of the victims for burial till date.
That the Applicant/Respondent having failed to achieve their aim of using violence to coarse the members of the Respondent/Applicant from continuing with their peaceful procession and religious gathering for the release of their leader have now come to this Honourable Court to use judicial means to label members of the Respondent/Applicant a terrorist organization without any justification or valid evidence of any act of terrorism associated with the Respondent/Applicant members.
That members of the Respondent/Applicant are very peaceful and law abiding citizens of Nigeria who have at all times resorted to the practical application of rule of law to challenge the atrocities of the security agencies against the members of the Respondent/Applicant and have won several court cases against the Applicant/Respondent as against their deposition in the affidavit in support of their ex-parte application which they relied on to mislead this Honourable Court into granting the said ex-parte order.
That the judgments delivered in favour of members of the Respondents by the Federal High Court and the High Courts of Sokoto State, Kaduna State and Kano STate are as follows:
In the STATE V. KASIMU MOHAMED UMAR & 2 ORS IN SUITNO:SS/7C/2018 the High Court of Justice in Sokoto State discharged and acquitted the Accused Persons who were charged with criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide punishable with death.
Find attached and marked as EXHIBIT C is a copy of the judgment.
That in MAL.KASIMU MOHAMED UMAR and 111 ORS V. COP in APPEAL NO: CA/S/71/2014 the court of Appeal Sokoto Division discharged and acquitted the Accused persons of the offences of criminal conspiracy, rioting, armed with dangerous weapons, inciting, breach of the peace etc brought against the members of the Respondent/Applicant by the Applicant/Respondent. Find attached and marked as EXHIBIT D is a copy of the judgment.
That both land mark judgments counter the allegation of the Applicant/Respondent at paragraph 4(c) (ix) of the affidavit in support of the motion ex-parte that it was members of the Respondent/Applicant that killed the Late Islamic Cleric Umar Dan Maishiyya in Sokoto State.
That following the bloody Zaria incident of 2015 wherein the Nigerian Army massacred members of the Respondent/Applicant, some members of the Shia community and survivors of the massacre were arrested and charged before the High Court of Kaduna State for alleged criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide in the case of THE STATE V ALIYU MOHAMED SANI & 9 ORS IN SUIT NO:-KDH/KAD/38C/2016.
However, they were all discharged and acquitted at the end. A copy of the judgment is hereby attached and marked as EXHIBIT E.
Also in THE STATE V. MOHAMMED AUWAL YAKUBU & 39 ORS with SUIT NO: KDH/KAD/37C/2016 the Kaduna State High Court also discharged and acquitted members of the Respondent/Applicant who were falsely charged with the offences of criminal conspiracy, culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disturbance of public peace and wrongful restraint. Find attached and marked as EXHIBIT H is a copy of the ruling of the court.
And in the case of YUSUF MAGAJI ABDULLAHI & 4 ORS V COP KANO in SUIT NO:K/M582/2018 the Kano State High Court declared amongst others as follows:-
The Applicants are entitled to peaceful practice of their religion either alone or in community with others in public or in private.
A declaration that the violent attacks, torture, harassment arrest and detention of the applicants on the 5th November 2017 by the men of the Kano State Police Command under the instruction of the respondent is an infringement of the applicants fundamental rights and therefore unconstitutional.
An injunction restraining the respondent either by himself or any other person(s) acting under his instruction from any further harassment, molestation, and violating, attacking or arresting the applicant during their peaceful religious activities in Kano.
That contrary to the depositions of the Applicant/Respondent in their affidavit in support of their motion ex parte, several internal well known organizations have documented the incident of December 2015 wherein the Nigerian Army an Agent of the Applicant/Respondent where indicted.
Find attached and marked as EXHIBIT J and K are copies of such report. That the facts deposed herein are the true state of affairs between the Applicant/Respondent and the Respondent/Applicant members.
That the Respondent/Applicant members are a set of religious worshippers whose right to worship has being violated by the order of court herein.
That the members of the Respondent/Applicant are Nigerian Citizens whose fundamental right to peaceful assembly, religious worship and right to peaceful procession is guaranteed under the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria and under the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2004.
That unless the order by this Honourable Court made on the 26th of July 2019 proscribing the activities of the Respondent/Applicant is set aside or discharged in its entirety, the Respondent/Applicants members rights to freedom of worship, procession and peaceful assembly as Shiites Muslim Practitioners in Nigeria will be completely eroded and that the Applicant/Respondents by their conduct exhibited so far will stop at nothing to ensure that our rights are continually violated under the guise of enforcing the order of this Honourable Court.
That the Applicant/Respondent will not be prejudiced in any way should this Honourable Court grant this application seeking to set aside the orders made on the 26th of July 2019 against the Respondent/Applicant.
That I do solemnly and sincerely declare, that I make this solemn declaration in good faith, conscientiously believing the contents to be true and correct and in accordance with the Oaths Act.
The federal government is yet to reply to issues canvassed in IMN deposition.