Government & Politics

Shi’ites Becoming Insurgents Like Boko Haram – Nigerian Lawmakers Lament

The House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to hold talks with members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, also known as Shi’ites, to resolve their grievances.

The lawmakers at the plenary on Wednesday warned the Shi’ites were becoming security threats like Boko Haram.

The lawmakers gave the warning as the Senate condemned attack by Shiites on the National Assembly on Tuesday and asked the police to secure the federal parliament.

Members of the House of Representatives, while recalling the injuries caused and property damaged by the Shi’ites’ attack on the National Assembly on Tuesday, warned that another insurgent group was emerging.

Some of the lawmakers said that the Federal Government had ignored orders by various courts asking the Department of State Services to release the leader of the Islamic sect, Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky.

While debating a motion moved by the Minority Leader, Mr Ndudi Elumelu, entitled, ‘The Invasion of the Shi’ites in National Assembly Yesterday.” the lawmakers unanimously approved prayers of the motion.

Among others, the motion said the internal security of the National Assembly should be assessed and adequate measures employed to investigate against further occurrence.”

It also stated, “That government should as a matter of urgency engage this Shi’ite group so as to amicably resolve whatever is their grievances.”

Seconding the motion, Mr Nicholas Ossai recalled that the chamber had passed a resolution in the Eighth National Assembly to allow sergeants-at-arms to bear arms and that the leadership of the Assembly liaise with the executive on the process.

Commenting, Mr Mohammed Monguno, described the incessant attacks by the Shi’ites as a dangerous signal, likening it to the emergence of Boko Haram.

Monguno said, “I am contributing to this motion as it affects the polity generally because of my experience in the emergence of Boko Haram. There are danger signals coming from the dreaded gang called Shi’ites, going about clamouring for the freedom of their leader.

“Those of us that are coming from Borno State, the epic-centre of the Boko Haram insurgency, are deeply informed that Boko Haram started the same way the Shi’ites sect is now masquerading themselves, in the name of fighting for the freedom of their leader; in the name of protests for the freedom of their leader, before it finally became a full-blown crisis that can consume the whole country.

“So, there is the need for the relevant agencies in the executive arm of government and this National Assembly to nip this crisis in the bud, so that it will not develop into a full-blown security crisis that is going to affect the whole country.”

At the upper chamber of the National Assembly, senators described the attack by the IMN as the desecration of the sacred National Legislative Institution of Nigeria.

Chairman of the Senate ad hoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, stated this while addressing journalists on the issue.

Adeyeye noted with concern, the “unwarranted affront to the federal parliament,” which he said led to abrupt adjournment of the House of Representatives plenary.

He said, “The Senate hereby urge all law enforcement agencies to rise up to their biding and urgently fish out the perpetrators of this dastardly act with the law taking its full course.”

On his part, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, warned the Islamic Movement of Nigeria against fomenting crisis, noting that the force was ready to combat their violent activities.

The IG gave the warning on Wednesday when he visited policemen who were injured during the protest.

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