Last Friday, the Department of State Services (DSS), on Friday issued a statement that they uncovered plans by Boko Haram to attack Abuja and some northern cities like Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna and Maiduguri by infiltrating what they termed the ranks of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN). According to this malicious report, terrorists would join IMN members in their procession and unleash mayhem in the cities.
IMN finds this statement by DSS to be quite ridiculous. First, this is an unintelligent overused storyline aimed at unleashing mayhem on innocent civilians and attributing it to other people. In this case, the DSS had wanted to plant explosives in the aforementioned places and then make the claim that Boko Haram had infiltrated our ranks. This was exactly what they did a few days before the Zaria massacre In November, 2015, when they sent two suicide bombers to detonate their lethal load in the Kano axis of that year’s Arba’een trek. It resulted in the death of scores of our members. It will be recalled that DSS had earlier similarly issued a warning that they were aware of plots to detonate explosives in places of worship in Abuja, Kaduna and Kano. Thus, it is nothing new. DSS would be held responsible should explosives go off anywhere and it has nothing to do with IMN.
Secondly, if it were true that they have intelligence reports that a certain group intends to cause mayhem, and it was not their plot, they should have simply rounded them up and arrested them, thereby avoiding the unnecessary waste of civilian lives.
We have not forgotten how in the immediate period before the gruesome Zaria attacks of December 12, 2015 the so called Boko Haram announced their plan to exterminate members of IMN. We are all witnesses to what followed that announcement – the senseless and unjustified massive attacks on leader, members and properties of IMN as started by Nigerian army.
It is in this light that we view the present statement by the DSS to mean that they still want to further massively shed blood of innocent citizens. Thus, rather than use Boko Haram as a bait, they should have been bold enough to say they will infiltrate our peaceful processions to cause mayhem on the general public.
This is what they did in Kaduna on Friday, 23/06/17, when plain cloth security agents pretending to be thugs collaborated with soldiers and police and attacked the International Quds day procession in Kaduna metropolis. Clearly, Federal Government is playing the Boko Haram card to attack us. Friday’s (23/6/2017) attack was in broad daylight with many witnesses among whom were non-Muslim observers, human rights activists and other non- partisan witnesses.
It is shameful that explanations and excuses for the attack should come from the Army spokesman from 1 Mechanized Division, Col. Umoh. What brought the military in a purely civil matter except that the DSS had set the tone as they have done in the past as a prelude to attack us? The military spokesman even suggested that we were attacked by Kasuwan Barci community and they only came in to restore peace! indeed we were not attacked by any community. We are very much part of that community. We have stalls in the market and we are fully socialized with other members of that market community. The attack therefore has nothing to do with the market community. The thugs in display and action yesterday were ‘imported’ by the military/police coalition against us and were brought in police vehicles and their funding is from Kaduna state government.
What further gave them away in the sinister plot was when the DSS operative, Tony Opuiyo also warned members of the IMN to “desist from carrying out any form of demonstration as the terrorists will make use of the opportunity for their attacks.”
We have seen all these before. Last year October 2016, during the annual Ashura procession, we were similarly attacked by the same coalition. It was clearly demonstrated that the thugs were even ferried in police vehicles. Was it any community too that did that?
The authorities had always sought to portray the belief that we are being attacked by the public. This has not been successful till this day. Was it the public that possess tear gas and live bullets and the military and police trucks used in the attacks? Was the community also responsible for the arrest of our members?
Finally, we wish to draw the attention of the world, and Nigerians in particular, to the fact that we remain committed to peaceful and legal pursuits of our rights. No amount of blackmail or intimidation would deter us. We reiterate our call for the immediate and unconditional release of our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and all those being unjustifiably held in Kaduna prison and other undisclosed detention centres.
PRESIDENT MEDIA FORUM OF IMN