Governor Lalong of Plateau state is reportedly said to have copied the ban order arbitrarily placed by Governor Elrufai on the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).
Even more ridiculous was what was reported from him as the reasons for this misadventure. He was quoted to have said, “I have read it that the movement is already banned in its headquarters in Kaduna, why should a branch then exist here? There should be no branch operating on the Plateau.” Adding that, “whoever is bringing another thing based on religion or ethnicity to Plateau State should please take it back to where it is coming from.” These words are nothing but unbecoming of a Governor.
It is perplexing that the premise upon which Plateau state governor has placed his own ban was simply because of the ban in Kaduna. No recourse to the dictates of the law, reason or logic. He is merely copying Kaduna State without basis. This is awkward to say the least.
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This baseless ban on IMN activities in Plateau state, like its counterpart in Kaduna State only strips citizens of the two states of their inalienable rights to practice their faith without molestation, and we believe Governor Lalong is fully aware of this and his limitation.
Plateau state is the least expected to copy this infringement of citizens Rights. Of all the myriad of crises bedeviling the state, IMN has never been implicated in any. It therefore beats imagination why the state would target it for persecution.
Governor Lalong only seems to be playing to the gallery in making this ill-advised illegal and illogical move.
Governor Lalong appears to have jettisoned a more reasonable stand taken by his Press Secretary, Emmanuel Nanle, who was credited in an earlier report, while reacting to rumours of the ban, to have said that Shi’ites had a right to their religious activities.
He has now joined hands with evil forces to persecute innocent people, including the record arrest, detention of 44 people, including pregnant and nursing mothers, minors as young as 4 years and other vulnerable population in the state such as the wounded who are still languishing in jail without proper medical care.
We unequivocally call on Lalong to rescind his decision to act the Kaduna way on matters concerning IMN. We believe he should stand for justice, fairness and obedience to the rule of law. We call on him to exercise his powers in ordering for the release of members of IMN in detention immediately, pay compensation to IMN members who lost properties in the state-sponsored terror attacks on IMN in his state. We also expect him to prosecute those soldiers and thugs involved in the carnage during Ashura commemoration anniversary in Jos.
IBRAHIM MUSA is PRESIDENT MEDIA FORUM OF IMN