BY DANLADI BUHARI in Kano•
A religious group, Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) Bauchi State chapter, warned President Muhammadu Buhari over the 2019 elections just as it condemned his government for the killings of its group.
The group’s leader, Sheik Ahmed Yusuf Yashi condemned the alleged killing of two of their members during their yearly procession Arbaeen trek in Kano on Sunday, saying the families of victims will never support the government in 2019.
Interacting with newsmen at the NUJ Secretariat in Bauchi Wednesday, Yashi that lamented security forces under the All Progressive Congress (APC)- led government has allegedly killed over 1000 members since coming into power.
The cleric recalled during the confrontation with the military in Zaria last year, “After killing almost 1000 members, set our leader’s house ablaze, shot him at close range (11 bullets), killed three of his sons, after killing three previously in 2014, shot his wife at the abdomen, till now no statement from the leader that followers should take a needle to attack.”
He said that during this year’s zonal procession of faithful from Gombe, Bauchi, Taraba, Adamawa, Jalingo at Pambeguwa, near Zaria, security forces again disrupted their congregation as they prepared to trek to Zaria for their annual religious rites.
He alleged that after killing their members in Kano, the heavily armed security forces were not yet done as they tear-gassed followers of the movement as they prepared to trek to Zaria on Sunday for annual religious rite.
Yashi said that security forces has no reason for allegedly killing their members and disrupting their procession this year, adding that the allegation that their members were armed and dangerous was not true.
He said the movement would continue to remain peaceful and resist taking the law into their hands despite the unwarranted provocation from the government security forces.
The Islamic Movement cleric said that security forces of the country have clearly violated movement’s fundamental right to practice their religion.
“The constitution gives us right to practice our chosen religion. There is freedom of religion. As far as the law is there, nothing will prevent us from pursuing our rights. We will never be confrontational, but we will do what we can do.
“When they attacked us at Pambeguwa, we advised our people to go back.
We are living in a democratic dispensation where by everybody has rights, so let them not prevent people from exercising rights that the constitution has given.
“If they continue to engage in that, things will not go well. They are coming for 2019. They should not forget that the people that they killed, their relatives will remind them when they come out to campaign.
“We have taken legal action and we have some cases in the court and we have legal practitioners pursuing our rights for us. This rite started almost 60 years ago. Millions are gathered in Iraq right now. It is not a political activity where we have to seek permission from government, why are they stopping us now if we have been doing it for several years?
“We usually send jingle to media outfits announcing to the public the period of the event and therefore it is a known event, it is not violent. It is nothing that we have to seek the permission of government
We are peaceful, we use to give gifts to people on the road, nobody can prove us guilty as far as peaceful is concern. Our people are armless and will continue to be harmless. We will continue to pursue our legal right as citizens in the country.