By Abdulmumin Giwa
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria has decried recent activities of some civil society groups waging campaign of calumny against it in the media,
The Movement is accusing the groups of being sponsored by perpetrators of the Zaria massacre of 2015 in what it termed as ‘subtle campaign of calumny’ against it.
This is contained in a statement issued on Friday by the President of the Media Forum of the Movement Ibrahim Musa.
The statement reads as follows:
“The Islamic Movement in Nigeria has recently noticed some subtle campaigns of calumny against it by some faceless organisations under the cover of civil society groups. The first one called itself Coalition of Arewa CSO for Progress and Change, while the other one goes by the acronym SERG, which describes itself as a pan Igbo group. While the former alleged that the Islamic Movement paid one Dr. Idris Ahmed a whopping N250m to discredit the military, the latter called for its designation as a terrorist group.
“Were it not that some people may misconstrued our silence over these spurious allegations as facts, we wouldn’t have bothered to join issues with these paid groups because we know where they are coming from and have clearly seen where they are heading to.
“The wild claim made by one Jacob Ogwuche, the National President of the so called Arewa Coalition that “Dr. Idris Ahmed and his CUPS organization is heavily funded by some categories of people,” including the “Islamic Movement in Nigeria,” is a compound lie devoid of any iota of truth whatsoever. We challenge him to publish the details of the so-called payments made by the Islamic Movement if it wasn’t merely a pigment of his imagination.
“The other group, SERG, under one Charles Mbani, that wants the Islamic Movement to be designated as a terrorist group, we challenge it to point one single terrorist act carried out by the Islamic Movement in its 40 years history.
“Even those strongly opposed to our beliefs had laboured in vain to associate us with violence talk less of being terrorists. The recent successes in various courts affirming our constitutional Rights and acquitting some of our members of similar allegations have no doubt not gone well with the backers of these shady groups, and they have now resorted to wild media campaigns.
“Just as the Nigerian military and those who were responsible for the heinous Zaria massacre of December 2015 failed in their desperate efforts at tarnishing our image, so would their current plots and schemes end in ruin. Not even their attempts at planting moles within the Movement would work because our modus operandi has been clearly demonstrated in the last four decades and especially in the last three years of extreme persecution using state-sponsored terror tactics against us. We are the victims of terror and not its perpetrators. Terrorism is simply not in our character.
“The attempts at pitching the Islamic Movement against the Igbos by the so-called SERG has failed from inception. We have no issues against them or any regional or religious group. We have a very long history of mutual understanding which is clearly demonstrated during ethnic and religious conflicts engineered and fueled by groups like SERG, when the Islamic Movement provides safe heaven for Igbo Christian and other minority groups. This is in the records and nothing such groups like SERG or their backers would do to erase or change that. The Islamic Movement stands for justice, equity and freedom of religion and on these we can’t be cowed into submission.
“The sponsors of these faceless organisations and groups existing only on paper should note that the killing of over a thousand innocent souls in Zaria cannot simply be swept under the carpet. It remains a monumental crime against humanity, which burying in mass grave has not covered up. On a day in the not too distant future, it will be squarely addressed and the culprits brought to book, and no amount of tarnishing of image of victims and survivors would change that.
“Our appeal to well-meaning Nigerians is to understand the antics of these people supporting and applauding the Saudi-sponsored Zaria killings. They should join us in unmasking them and in the agitation for justice to the victims of this carnage.
“On a final note, we reiterate our unequivocal call on the federal government to release our Leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and the hundreds of our members still being unjustifiably held in various detention centres across the country.”
PRESIDENT MEDIA FORUM OF ISLAMIC MOVEMENT IN NIGERIA