The Federal Government is set to commence the implementation of the Friday’s court order proscribing the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, popularly known as Shiites, by publishing the order in the Official Gazette by Monday.
Top officials of the Federal Ministry of Justice, who pleaded not to be named because they were not authorised to speak on the matter, confirmed this to SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday.
The publication of the order in the Official Gazette is part of the Friday’s ruling of the Federal High Court in Abuja, designating the Shiites movement as a terrorist group and proscribing it.
Justice Nkeonye Maha also ordered the government to publish the order in two national newspapers.
“The publication of the order in the newspaper will be done later in the week. But I can assure you that the publication in the Official Gazette will be done by Monday evening,” a source told one of our correspondents.
The Federal Government’s Printing Press, which publishes the Official Gazette, is based in Lagos.
Meanwhile, SUNDAY PUNCH could not obtain an official comment on the development from the Ministry of Justice’s Press and Information Unit, as officials contacted by one of our correspondents on Saturday said if they must speak on the issue, they must be authorised by the ministry’s management.
However, the authorisation could not be obtained at the weekend.
Saturday PUNCH had exclusively reported on July 27, 2019, that the Federal Government obtained the ex parte order on Friday, about three days after a bloody clash between members of the Shiites group and the police in Abuja.
The clash had claimed the lives of the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, Federal Capital Territory Command, Usman Umar; a Channels Television journalist, Precious Owolabi; and scores of Shiites.
The Shiites have for over two years been regularly taking to the streets, particularly in Abuja, to demand the release of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat.
Friday’s ruling saw Justice Maha designating the activities of the Shiites sect in any part of Nigeria “as acts of terrorism and illegality.”
A copy of the ex parte application, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/876/2019, was filed in the name of the ‘Attorney General of the Federation.’
To complete the process of the proscription of the group, the court ordered the AGF “to publish the order proscribing the respondent (Islamic Movement in Nigeria) in the Official Gazette and two national dailies.” (Punch)