The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), a Muslim group comprising followers of a Shiite preacher, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, has denied insinuations within the security community that it is involved in attacks being planned by Boko Haram on military formations and other government buildings.
In a statement signed by its President, Ibrahim Musa, IMN said its name has appeared in an intelligence report of dubious veracity, suggesting that it is in a "strategic alliance" with Boko Haram to carry out the said attacks.
The group, which brands the alleged link with Boko Haram as the handiwork of desperate security agencies, said it would have ignored the "intelligence report," but could not do so because it has been widely circulated within the intelligence community.
IMN, said the statement, rejects every attempt to associate it with violence and other militant activities.
"Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, our revered leader, has said it many times without number that: 'Our weapon is positive reasoning, truth and good conduct. Guns are for the reckless and foolhardy only. We have been conducting our affairs peacefully, calling people to the truth for the last 36 years. So you cannot come overnight and attribute violence to us that we now resort to killing people. This is impossible. We save lives not kill them,” the group said.
It also vowed never to depart from the teaching of Zakzaky despite provocation by the Federal Government and its security agents.
"We at this moment state categorically that there are no connections or any links whatsoever between the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and Boko Haram.
"IMN in the first place is not the creation of any foreign security agencies, which is common with all the various terrorist groups globally.
" It was borne out of the desire of Muslims to live according to the teachings of Islam.
"IMN has been around at least in Nigeria for almost four decades now, with its various educational programmes now commonly known in many Nigerian villages, towns, and cities and with all its activities peacefully and transparently conducted," explained IMN.
The group also rejected comparisons with Boko Haram, which it described as a terrorist organization and a creation of global imperialism with the goal of ruining Islam's reputation and pointed to attacks on its members in Potiskum, Yobe State, as evidence of the gap between its beliefs and those of the Boko Haram.
"…It is the same so-called Boko Haram that bombed our brothers and sisters during an Ashura procession in Potiskum, Yobe state in 2014, and also sent suicide bombers to the Arba’een trek along Kano –Zaria highway killing many innocent people, including women and children. It beats any sane imagination that IMN will now turn to the same group in what the intelligence agents term "strategic alliance."
Islam, the IMN reiterated, is a religion of peace, an attribute that makes it illogical to ascribe violence to true Muslims.
The IMN added that it was in possession of information showing that the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase; Director General of the Department of State Security (DSS), Lawan Musa Dura; and top shots of other security agencies held a meeting where they discussed how to crush IMN before the month of Ramadan.
In preparation for the grand onslaught on the IMN, claimed the group, some Muslim clerics have been commissioned by security agencies to ramp up their hate campaigns against the Shia sect in all their sermons.
"This treacherous act has already started in earnest in various mosques across the country. One of such Sheikhs on the payroll of the government was even heard saying to those around him, “leave them (Shiites), they will be finished off in the next two weeks,” the IMN alleged.
The group added that it will keep demanding the unconditional release of Zakzaky and that punishment be meted out to the military men that killed Zakzaky's followers in Zaria last December. "We still demand that our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky be released unconditionally since after over four months the authorities have failed to accuse him of committing any crime," the IMN concluded.