The Coalition Against Terrorism and Extremism has urged the Federal Government to immediately bring an end to the trekking by members of the Shiite sect, also known as Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN.
Head of CATE secretariat, Gabriel Onoja, told newsmen in Abuja yesterday that government must protect Nigerians from the extremism being promoted by the sect, warning that the country already had enough security concerns.
He said: “With the existential threats facing the country at every turn, the message must be sent out clearly that no religious leader or adherent is above the law. Anyone that tries to further compromise our collective security should be made to answer for their actions.
“We urge religious, traditional and political leaders in the north to call this horde to order. Northern elites have a lot of work to do; those northern youths who attend only Islamic centres to the exclusion of contemporary education must be better managed henceforth as dubious scholars often find them willing recruits for extreme doctrines.
“As part of a longer term solution, the government must begin to prioritize mental health as the sanity of the youths engaging in this exercise must be questioned for courting more troubles on behalf of a man whose act of treasonable felony led to the loss of many souls.”
Onoja said the earlier face-off by the sect with military and security operatives was not unconnected with their penchant for obstructing public roads and depriving other Nigerians of the right of way.
He said: “They are able to do this by resorting to violence and considering the extreme nature of the demand they are making it is not impossible to rule out the potentials for them to turn violent.
“In the light of the above, CATE strongly condemns the trek by IMN members to Abuja and advised them to call it off while seeking alternate avenues that are less provocative for whatever they think their grievances are.
“Pressing ahead with the trek would confirm reports that it is another attempt to breach the peace while at the same recruiting and mobilizing youths form rival terror group to Boko Haram same way the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers is threatening to breach the peace by taking on the Niger Delta Avengers.
“This is why we are warning the Federal Government to immediately take action to manage the situation so that other criminal elements do not begin to draw legitimacy from it.There is the danger that families of detained Boko Haram terrorists will soon start replicating the absurdity being perpetrated by the already proscribed and outlawed IMN.
“In the meantime, we are calling on the security agencies to address the threat posed by the IMN trek because of the danger it poses to national security and religious tolerance.”