Shia sect is not the proscribed El-Zakzaky’s IMN – Lawyers

It would be against the Nigeria law for members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) to take part in any form of street march until its proscription order is over-ruled in court opined some lawyers, The Nation reports.

However, some other law experts said Shi’ite members’ who carried out their Ashura mourning procession, are just exercising their fundamental right as citizens to move and worship freely. They are of the opinion that there is a difference between Shia worshippers and IMN members.

The lawyers observed that since the court pronouncement did not ban Shia Muslim faithful, Shi’ites can practice their religion in accordance with the law.

Ahmed Raji, a Senior Advocate Nigeria (SAN) said “IMN members, led by Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, cannot stage any form of march.

“Until the proscription is set aside or nullified by the court or the government de-proscribes them, it will appear to be unlawful for them to gather.

“Until the court overturns the proscription, it would appear to be illegal for them to stage a religious march or protest.”

The senior advocate, said “the Federal Government never banned Shi’ites. What the government proscribed is IMN. The government never proscribed Shia, which is a recognized sect in Islam.

“What is banned is the group headed by El-Zakzaky known as IMN. That is what I understand the government to be saying.”

Activist-lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) said: “To the extent that the Shiites are observing a religious rite, it is callous and highhanded on the part of the Sunnis in government to authorize the police to massacre them.

“It is unacceptable to kill religious worshippers by officials of the federal and state governments that are currently negotiating and bribing bandits and kidnappers.”

Falana (SAN) said Shiite members have the right to practice their religion.

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