Shi’ites hold Ashura procession in Abuja despite police warning

Protesting Shiites in Abuja

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria has fulfilled its promise to embark on the planned Ashura mourning procession in Abuja despite the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu’s warning.

Punch reports that the procession commenced by 8a.m this morning and lasted for about 25 minutes causing traffic gridlock but there was no report of any incident.

The Ashura procession is an annual religious ritual carried out by the Shia Islamic sect all over the world on September 10.

Recall that the police has asked the Shiites not to embark on the procession describing it as “illegal and will be treated as a gathering in the advancement of terrorism”.

The statement reads: “It has come to the knowledge of the Nigeria Police Force that some members of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) intend to embark on a nationwide procession, ostensibly to cause disruption of public peace, order and security in the country.

“The Force notes that in line with the Terrorism (Prevention) Proscription Order Notice 2019 of 26th July, 2019, the activities of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria have been proscribed. Consequently, all gathering or procession by the group remains ultimately illegal and will be treated as a gathering in the advancement of terrorism.

“To this end, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has directed the Commissioners of Police in all the States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja as well as their supervisory Assistant Inspectors-General of Police to put in place concrete measures to avert any planned procession and/or disruption of public peace by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, anywhere in the country.”

Reacting to the police warning, IMN spokesman Ibrahim Musa said the group would go ahead with the planned Ashura procession despite the IG’s warning.

He said: “The government should not contemplate attacking us. It wants to act illegally on our matter. So, I think it is wrong to think that we are supposed to withdraw our plan to hold the procession.

“What right has the government to attack a peaceful procession? Constitutionally and legally, the government has no right to stop us. We should not be stopped by government from carrying out our religious activities.”

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