Constitutional lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome has kicked against the proscription by the Federal government of the Shiites religious group under the umbrella of Islamic Movement of Nigeria, describing it as “highly discriminatory, unconstitutional, as was the case of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB.”
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Saturday in a reaction to the ruling of an Abuja Federal High Court which described the group on Friday as a terrorist organisation.
According to him, “what group could be more terrorist than the herdsmen and their known anchor, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association that has held Nigeria down by the jugular for years, killing, maiming, burning, raping, turning Nigeria into a crimson field of bloodbath?”
The legal luminary declared that “until the government bans and outlaws these, it is certainly not serious.”
According to him, “they are demanding for the release of their leader still kept in government dungeon in spite of several court orders The Shiites group is a religious group, like the President’s Sunni group. It is not an association that could be banned.
Section 10 of the Nigerian Constitution makes Nigeria a secular state. You can’t ban religion, a people’s belief. There is also freedom of thought, conscience and religion in section 38, while sections 40 and 41 allow for freedom of movement and association.”
Ozekhome lamented that it was unfortunate that the nation’s constitution “is ruthlessly being shredded by an intolerant and overbearing civilian dictatorship.”