Ozekhome, Falana: Shii’te proscription illegal, immoral

Leading rights activists Chief Mike Ozekhome and Femi Falana, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria, on Saturday described the proscription of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) as illegal and immoral.

While Ozekhome said the proscription was “discriminatory”, Falana, who represents IMN leader Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, urged the Federal Government to withdraw the order.

Ozekhome said: “The proscription by the government of the Shiites religious group is highly discriminatory, unconstitutional, as was the case of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).

“What group could be more terrorist than the Herdsmen that has held Nigeria down by the jugular for years, killing, maiming, burning, raping, turning Nigeria into a crimson field of bloodbath? Until the government bans and outlaws these, it is certainly not serious.

“They (Shiite members) are demanding the release of their leader still kept in government dungeon inspite of several court orders. The Shiite group is a religious group, like the President’s Sunni group. It is not an association that could be banned.

“Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution makes Nigeria a secular state. You cannot 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.”
For Falana, the proscription is immoral and illegal.

He noted that the IMN’s proscription by the Kaduna State government in 2016 was gazette, yet IMN has continued to operate in defiance of the proscription.

Similarly, he said IPOB’s proscription in 2017 by the Buhari regime via an ex parte order issued by the Federal High Court was also gazette, but IPOB has continued to operate in spite of the proscription.

“However, in a desperate bid to prevent the Shiitesfrom demanding for the release of their detained leader, Elzakzaky and his wife from the custody of the State Security Service, the Buhari administration has proscribed the IMN.

“Since there are millions of Shiites who belong to the IMN, the Federal Government will soon realise that it has merely driven the body underground,” Falana said.

The respected activist-lawyer recalled that in 2003, General Buhari and other members of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) held a rally in Kano to protest the rigging of the 2003 General Election.

The rally was violently attacked by the Police on the ground that the ANPP leaders did not obtain police permit.

“On the instructions of General Buhari and other the ANPP leaders, I challenged the disruption of the rally and the legal validity of police permit for rallies and political meetings at the Federal High Court. ANPP won the case.

“Apart from condemning the violent disruption of the rally by the Police, the court declared that police permit for rallies was illegal and unconstitutional. The appeal filed against the judgment by the Police was dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

“In fact, the Justices of the Court of Appeal unanimously held that the right of Nigerians to protest against the policies of the government is part of the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution.

“Therefore, the proscription of the IMN for the demonstrations of the Shiites against the disobedience of court orders by the Buhari regime is immoral and illegal in every material particular,” he said.

Falana called for the withdrawal of the proscription order.

“It is particularly opportunistic on the part of the Sunnis occupying public offices to use the instrumentality of the state to liquidate the Shiites.

“The illegal proscription of the IMN should be withdrawn. It will not stand as the fundamental right of the Shiites to freedom of religion is constitutionally guaranteed,” Falana added.

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1 Response

  1. Yemi Aanu says:

    Ozekhome???? Let me leave that one alone. Politicians are in various shades. But it beclouds expertise and erudite scholarship. See what my learned colleague Falana has become now because of politics.

    Would he like to be seen as trying to become their lawyer and be paid in Dollars from the evil purposed Islamic fund by Iran??? He should answer this question that borders on conscience.

    When we rendered our youths jobless and disoriented, foreign axis of evil line Iran can pump money to some crude characters to pay them for evil machinations, all in the name of religion.

    Our polity is daily bombarded with fears and cringe for terrorist threats. A white man that met me recently in my Sumner holidays said Nigeria too is a terrorist Islamic nation. I was trying to mend the image. Nigeria is all we have.

    Apart from being educated and professionals, we are elders too.

    Won’t we begin to meditate of this nation that seems to be heading to where??? Is it this border-less, lacking in purpose, direction and longtime sustainable plan is all we would leave for our children?

    In our own youthful days, did our age groups ( as elders) not get brand new car immediately we resumed Level8 job in ministry etc? Did we not have about 25years Mortgage at our finger tips? Did our public servants not also have workers insurance, furniture loan and allowances, stewards etc. Unlike now that only politics and politicians is the good worker and profession? Were our universities not competing with the best in the world? Where is the Bursary, LG Scholarship, Regional Scholarship, Federal Scholarship, Foreign scholarship, holiday jobs, Sumner travel for students, secondary schools with many white men as teachers because we had good salary. Not volunteers; where is the job almost waiting for us? Where is the efficient, disciplined police who were neat, well equipped with Walkie-talkie on all their Land Rovers, Rover Cars, and bikes and refused bribes, got medal for arresting a notorious criminal?

    Where’s the scholarship, jobs, and other opportunities you get simply for merit even when you are child if a poor illiterate parents in the village? Where is the golden Nigeria that myself and the age groups of the lines of Falana enjoyed?

    Won’t our Elder age groups weep for these golden pits handed over to us by the white but we broke it and handing over nothing to our children?

    Do any of us think that sending our children overseas or hiding them away from Ajegunle & Imushin is our refuge for them?

    The children of Azikiwe, Herbert Macaulay, Awolowo etc attended public primary schools. I was classmate of Akintola’s children in a public school. I got employment at the then NBC/TV under Christopher Kolade purely on merit.

    Zik, Awolowo,and Okotieboh were walking freely without armed guards. Akintola, while representing Western Region in Lagos used to come to the Barbing saloon at Berkeley Street for haircuts.

    I was holding the hand of a little girl at the round about of the then Race Course ( TBS) and Late Emperor Haile Seilaise of Ethiopia in open Landrover beside Gowon was almost shaking her hands. That’s how close we were to a Head of State passing by. Now, even Zakzaky in the genre of terrorist islamists included themselves in the woes that catalyzed our gross insecurity and peace. And a judgement of the state High court in its wisdom denied him bail while for federal
    Courts trial he was granted bail for that allegation. So, which one is Buhari at fault?

    Won’t we weep for the spoiler and destroyer our age grades have been?

    Yet we name it politics, professionalism, tribalism and all undue labels that disobey good conscience.

    I thought Falana would address the brazen illegality of Iran interfering in Nigeria’s sovereignty by asking for Nigeria to release her own citizen to Iran. Do we tell them they must stop cutting off heads of Christian missionaries falsely accused of drugs and tried in shady courts? What does Iran think of herself? Arabs had never seen we Africans as human beings. They started capturing us to be sold as slaves in arabia centuries before the white man came because they got gun powder before us.

    May we repent for God to heal what we applied for our children.

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