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IMN: Group blows hot over NASS invasion, alleges plot to overthrow Buhari government

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The National Democratic Forum, NDF, has in strong terms condemned the invasion of the National Assembly by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, otherwise known as Shiites, on Tuesday.

NDF described the attack on security agencies as an attempt to overthrow an arm of government.

DAILY POST reported that some protesting Shiites members agitating against the continuous incarceration of their leader, Sheik Al-Zakyazky on Tuesday clashed with the security agencies, resulting in the death of some persons and burning of vehicles.

The protesters, who were in large numbers, were heading towards the National Assembly at about 1.15pm but were intercepted by the military personnel already waiting at the gate.

Reacting to the development, NDF wondered why the authorities have continued to threat the issue of the IMN with kids’ gloves.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, shortly after the bloody clash, Dr Abdulakdir Bolaji, Secretary General of NDF, called on the authorities to immediately expel all known IMN members from Abuja.

The group also demanded that all those arrested in connection with the attack on National Assembly must be arraigned for treason and attempt to overthrow the government.

The statement reads in full:

Tuesday July 9, 2019 was the day members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) terrorised the very symbol of our democracy by launching coordinated attacks on the National Assembly. At the end of the attacks, the IMN members had snatched weapons from the security personnel on duty with which they shot two policemen and an officer of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). At least three cars were destroyed while a security post was also vandalized. We are in the process of verifying if anyone died in the attack as reported by some media organizations.

For the duration of the attacks, Nigerians in the National Assembly Complex were terrorised on a scale comparable to last year’s terror attack on the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan; the attacks carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic terrorist organisation based in Pakistan on Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai –India in 2018; and the terror attack of two months ago on Pearl Continental Hotel, Gwadar – Pakistan. The attacks on the National Assembly bear a frightening similarity to these other coordinated terror attacks because of the sheer helplessness that the occupants of these buildings experience for the duration of the barbarity.

Even at height of their madness, Boko Haram never sent their terrorists to attack the National Assembly because they know the implication of such. They are aware that attacking the National Assembly is to add the crime of treason to whatever other criminality they may already be guilty of. The rap sheet for IMN is therefore growing longer with illegal arms possession, operating as an outlawed group, acquiring military training in violation of the constitution, murder, attempted murder and now treason with attempt to overthrow Nigeria’s democracy.

Permit us to mention that we know the Nigerian state is not helpless as some people will think. Without prejudice to whatever investigations will unveil, we believe that the snatching of the weapons from the security operatives was possible because of the directive that security agencies should exercise restraint in the face of IMN extremists. This approach to dealing with the threat posed by the outlawed group has proven to be a wrong call, one that must be immediately jettisoned by the state.

The National Assembly is the highest symbol of Nigeria’s democracy. Whilst IMN was once seen as the problem of Zaria, Kaduna State and Abuja, the Federal Capital territory, by attacking the National Assembly, they have made themselves the problem of all Nigerians because each and every one of us has a representative in the national parliament. The attack is therefore an attack on every state of Nigeria, on every citizen and on everything we stand for as a nation. The action of the IMN is therefore a visitation of terror on the Nigerian state. It is an attack targeted at overthrowing the government by destroying the strongest institution in our democracy.

We will like to point out that we had joined other Nigerians in the past to express reservations about the presence of IMN extremists in the nation’s capital. They hide under the pretext that they are demanding for the release of their leader, Mr Ibraheem ElZakyzaky, who is standing trial before a competent court. Unfortunately, possibly because of the fear of international backlash, the government allowed these extremists to continue to infiltrate the nation’s capital without evicting them.

The concerns we had expressed about the group in the past were because of their violent activities and attacks against state institutions and unwarranted clashes with security operatives. We must not lose sight of the fact that in their bid to acquire more weapons, the IMN fighters attempted to hijack a military convoy that was conveying weapons along the Zuba-Kaduna Expressway, a development that they used to bring the City under siege.

The situation is dire to the point where even residents of Abuja had expressed concerns about the activities of this outlawed group owing to the threat they pose to other Nigerians. This threat is in addition to their menacing protests that they use to deny other people unhindered use of the roads and causing traffic congestion.

Our demand to the Federal Government, in the light of Tuesday’s desecration, is unequivocal. A strong and clear message must be sent to the Islamic Movement in Nigeria in a way that it reverberates even with their sponsor, the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has recently been issuing propaganda to support these terrorists. The message must make it known that no theocratic entity will be allowed to overthrow Nigeria’s democracy, directly or through proxies like IMN.

We, therefore, demand that the Federal Government immediately expel all known IMN members from Abuja while law enforcement agencies are mandated to dismantle all known cells of the group, in the nation’s capital and across the country.

A further demand is that all those arrested in the attack on National Assembly must be arraigned for treason and attempt to overthrow the government. In this case, the government must not cave in to the blackmail of pro-IMN countries and organizations that will wrongly accuse it of rights abuse.

The government must also rise up to the occasion and formally designate IMN as a terrorist group in line with existing anti-terrorism legislation. Had the Federal Government towed the line of the Kaduna state government that outlawed this terrorist group perhaps the country would have been saved from the harrowing experience of having the parliament come under attack.

It is our earnest hope that the government will not allow things to degenerate to the point where Nigerians are compelled to resort to self-help against IMN extremists as the situation is fast approaching the one of “kill or be killed”. Nigerians will not watch docilely while terrorists overrun their capital and attack their representatives. We expect to see actions on the part of the government in the days ahead as a way of reassuring us that terrorists will not be allowed to truncate our democracy.

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Crime

Islamic group attacks CAN, insists Christians abducted Muslim children for Jesus Christ in Kano

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Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has again attacked the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in the North over the recent kidnap of nine children from Kano State.

Recall that MURIC had described the abduction of nine Muslim children in Kano and their alleged conversion to Christianity as kidnapping for Christ.

In its reaction, Northern CAN described MURIC’s statement as ‘reckless, irresponsible, derogatory and provocative utterances.’

However, in a statement to DAILY POST on Monday, MURIC maintained its earlier position on the matter, insisting that CAN should put its house in order.

MURIC’s statement was signed by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

It added, “There is incontrovertible evidence that Muslim children have been kidnapped, converted to Christianity and sold into slavery. It is not the Kano 9 alone.

“There are others. There is also indubitable evidence to prove that it did not start yesterday. What is Northern CAN trying to tell us? They are chasing shadows.

“In our statement last Monday, we separated good Christians from bad ones. We also made it clear that we have both the good and the bad among Muslims too. Here are our exact words: ‘We are aware that not all Christians are involved in this criminal behavior.

“Many adherents of Christianity are decent and peace-loving. Such Christians will never descend so low as to seize, convert and sell Muslim children.

“Instead of joining hands with us to condemn the bad ones among us, Northern CAN is seeking to silence us. That is a tall dream. We advise Northern CAN to put its house in order and stop blaming MURIC.

“Afterall, we did not mention anything about kidnapping for Christ until the issue of Kano 9 occurred and the revelation has exposed other similar cases.

“We advise Northern CAN to launch a campaign of love and harmony in the churches. There is an urgent need to deradicalise Christian elements particularly in the Middle Belt region where Muslims are being killed and dumped inside mysterious ponds and narrow wells.

“The same advocacy should be taken to South Eastern Nigeria from where syndicates sponsor sleeper cells to Northern Nigeria to abduct, convert and sell Muslim children into slavery.

“Enough of denials and sentimentalities. Northern CAN should stop defending the indefensible. Its current body language is not remorseful. Your fellow Christians kidnapped Muslim children and converted them to Christianity.

“The Muslims complain but instead of consoling them and checking your members you are firing at the victims from all cylinders. We know you very well. This has always been your style. You never own up.

“We warn that Northern CAN should not drag Nigerian Christians into a controversy that involves only those who are in the dirty business of kidnapping Muslim children for conversion to Christianity.

“We hold Jesus (peace be upon him) in very high esteem and our statement was not intended to malign him. No true Muslim will do that.

“Extremist Christians can kidnap Muslims for Christ. That does not mean that Christ is involved. In fact Christ did not send them. They are only being more Christian than Christ himself.

“Jesus never taught men to be wicked. He taught love, kindness and righteousness. It is highly mischievous of Northern CAN to attempt to whip up sentiments over mere semantics.

“We find it difficult to believe CAN’s words, ‘No Christian has associated Muslims with such criminal acts. We only cry for our own who are victims’. Really?

“This is a false claim and Nigerians know better. What of all the allegations against us in the early days of Boko Haram attacks on churches?

“On a last note, we invite Northern CAN to put its house in order and join hands with the authorities in fishing out remaining sleeper cells for the kidnapping and conversion of Muslim children to Christianity.

“We can all coexist peacefully but we must first eschew parochialism and address issues objectively. We can change this atmosphere of mutual suspicion if only we can be sincere with ourselves.”

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Arewa

Terrorists kill four soldiers in Borno

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At least four Nigerian soldiers and a militia fighter were killed in clashes with IS-aligned jihadists in Borno State, security sources told AFP on Sunday.

Fighting erupted late on Saturday when troops ambushed a convoy of the Islamic State West Africa Province near Jakana Village, 42 kilometres from the state capital, Maiduguri.

Several troops were also injured and four trucks were lost to the militants, a soldier said.

The jihadists were riding in pick-up trucks fitted with machine guns according to a source, who confirmed the death toll.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the Nigerian military said seven jihadists were killed and eight injured when their vehicle hit a landmine during a clash near Jakana on Friday.

The improvised explosive device had been planted by the jihadists, army spokesman Colonel Aminu Iliyasu was quoted as saying.

The decade-long conflict, which spilt into Nigerian neighbours — Niger, Chad and Cameroon — has killed at least 35,000 people and forced some two million to flee their homes in Nigeria alone.

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Arewa

President Buhari departs Abuja Monday

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President Muhammadu Buhari is to depart Abuja on Monday to attend a three-day Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Russia, between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25.

A statement by the President’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Sunday, said the summit would focus on exploring and expanding opportunities in security, trade and investment, science and technology, and gas production.

During the summit, President Buhari will meet with President Vladimir Putin of Russia to further strengthen relations between Nigeria and Russia.

Shehu stated that the two leaders would hold bilateral talks on security, trade and investment, and building partnership that would enhance Nigeria’s huge gas potential, following Russia’s remarkable success in gas exportation.

“The summit, which will be attended by African Heads of State, will bring fresh perspectives on some global issues and challenges like nuclear technology, energy development, digital transformation, environment, technical security, mining and steel, education, agriculture, infrastructure and development strategies.

“An African Business Forum, which will bring together African and Russian business leaders, will be held during the event to enhance Russian investments in Africa, and promote African business interest in the host country,’’ he added.

Shehu added that Buhari would be accompanied by Governors Muhammad Yahaya of Gombe state, Bello Matawalle of Zamfara and Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.

Others on the trip are: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite and Minister of State, Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.

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