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Nigerian Shiites defies ban, hold procession in Abuja, other cities

Members of the Shiites Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, have defied police order by embarking on its Ashura mourning procession in Abuja on Tuesday morning.

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

Participants including men, women, and children held the procession for a few kilometres from Berger Roundabout to Wuse, and hurriedly concluded the exercise to avoid a confrontation with security personnel.

As early as 8.0am, Shiites members were already on the road for about 25 minutes and caused traffic gridlock in the commercial area, but there was no report of any incident.

However, report from various media groups indicates that the procession in Kaduna, Gombe, Bauchi, Niger and Sokoto States were not without incidents.

A member of IMN, who simply identified himself as Abdullahi said that that a minor and two others were shot at by the Police during the procession in Kaduna State.

In Sokoto, one person died, same in Suleja and in Bauchi, about 3 members of the movement were killed by the Police according to Abdullahi.

The Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu had on Monday said that any procession by the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) amounted to terrorism.

A statement issued by Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said it has come to the knowledge of the Nigeria Police Force that some members of the proscribed IMN intended 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 M.A 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.

“The IGP also enjoins the public to avail the Force with useful information as regards the activities of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria.

“In addition, the IGP has also advised parents and guardians to prevail on their children and wards not to be cajoled into embarking on illegal and ill-motivated activities by anyone or group of persons, under any guise whatsoever,” the statement said.

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