Nigeria has issued a warrant for the arrest of the spokesman of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) a few days after banning the group. Ibrahim Musa “owned up to being the spokesperson of an unlawful society,” said the governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai, in a statement released on Sunday.
“This is deemed as a deliberate and determined affront… and the law has to take its course,” he added. After El-Rufai banned the IMN on Friday as part of a state crackdown against the Muslim community, Musa announced the move as illegal and vowed that the group would challenge it through “legitimate means.” Musa then told reporters that he is currently in touch with his lawyers over the arrest warrant. “Meanwhile I’ll not submit myself to the authorities as they requested,” he noted.
On December 13, Nigerian forces raided the house of prominent Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, the leader of the IMN, and arrested him after killing those attempting to protect him, including one of the movement’s senior leaders and its spokesman. The raid occurred a day after Nigerian soldiers attacked Shia Muslims attending a ceremony at a religious center in the city of Zaria, accusing them of blocking the convoy of the army’s chief of staff and attempting to assassinate him.
On August 1, the Islamic Human Rights Commission released a report, saying the Nigerian army killed 348 Shia Muslims during the attack on the religious ceremony. The Sheikh himself, who was shot seven times during the attacks and blinded in one eye, still remains in army custody with no charges filed against him. Despite a Nigerian law which requires that charges be brought in court within 24 hours of an arrest, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari refuses to order Zakzaky’s release.