The Secretary General, Supreme Council of Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN), Mallam Nafiu Baba Ahmed, has observed that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiite poses greater danger to Nigeria than the Boko Haram terrorists.
Ahmed stated this while testifying before the judicial commission of inquiry set up by the Kaduna State government to investigate the December clashes between the Nigerian Army and the Shiite members in Zaria.
He said failure of the government to deal decisively with the alleged excesses of the Shi’ites may be catastrophic for the peaceful coexistence of the country
Ahmed also revealed that the late leader of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf had some relationship with the Shi’ites prior to forming his own group, adding that both Mohammed and the Shiite leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky had similar attitudes in holding onto their respective doctrines, which, according to him, were contrary to Islamic principles.
He alleged that the the Shi’ites had recently started adopting Boko Haram strategy of intimidation and elimination of Ulamas, who were opposed to their doctrines, pointing out that many had refrained from testifying before the commission for fear of the unknown.
Ahmed, who lamented the initial government handling of Boko Haram, noted that small fires would become huge conflagrations if not tackled in an effective and timely manner.
He urged the government to learn from its experience with Boko Haram by dealing decisively with the Shi’ite members to avoid another threat to the fragile peace in the country.
“Failure to act will spell catastrophe for Nigeria,” he added.
The SCSN scribe also emphasized the need for the society to be involved in checkmating the Shi’ite members, pointing out that government decisions were usually dictated by “political expediency”, which may not always reflect the best interest of the people.
According to him, the Shiite leader was attending Kaduna State government Security Council meetings during the administration of former governor Ahmed Makarfi because the former governor regarded El-Zakzaky’s participation as politically expedient due to his large followership.
He attributed the alleged disregard to constituted authorities by the Shi’ite members to the policy of “appeasement and complicity” adopted towards them by successive administrations in Kaduna state with the exception of Col. Hamid Ali (rtd) who, according to him, did not condone their activities.
Ahmed further attributed the Zaria clash to “divine retribution” against the Shi’ite members for their alleged blasphemous utterances, especially their insults on the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Also in his testimony before the commission headed by Justice Muhammed Lawal Garba, Prof. Isa Mohammed Maishanu of the Usumanu Danfodio University Sokoto (UDUS), said the Shiite members had a penchant for violence.
According to him, the series of violent clashes between the Shi’ites and the majority mainstream Muslim population in Sokoto State was as a result of the group’s penchant for provoking the sensitivities of the people in the seat of the Caliphate.
He said based on the activities of the Shiite, it was obvious that they were not interested in peaceful coexistence.
Prof. Maishanu suggested the provision of separate institutions for the Shiite members and other Muslims as practiced in Pakistan, which also has a high population of Shi’ite members, amidst other Muslims.
He however, urged that the “door for dialogue” should not be shut against the Shiite members since they were Nigerians and had nowhere else to go as long as they are ready to avoid provocative attitude and respect the laws of the land.