The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites, has flayed and distanced itself from the activities of the Boko Haram sect, insisting that they share nothing in common.
The group was refuting an insinuation by former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, that the movement had a linkage with the terrorist group.
In a statement by its spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, the movement noted: “The attention of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria has been drawn to a piece titled, “Nigeria’s Treatment of Shia Minority Recalls That of Boko Haram,” written by a former American Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, posted on the website of the American think-tank organisation, Council on Foreign Relations, which gained wide coverage in Nigeria’s media.”
According to him, the erstwhile envoy drew “similarities between the dreaded Boko Haram and the Islamic Movement, under the able leadership of our illegally detained leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky.”
Musa said that the remark was a “deliberate blackmail, witch-hunt and mischief inherently being pursued by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari against the IMN.”He described Campbell’s assertion that there were striking ideological similarities between IMN and Boko Haram as “most unfortunate”.
Musa went on: “His claim that both see the secular state as evil, both want an Islamic state based on Islamic law, and both want the end to Western influence, including in education, is grossly misleading.
“Equally mischievous was his summation that both also seek the end of northern Nigeria’s traditional political and religious elite. For IMN, the model appears to be the aspirations of the post-revolutionary Iranian Islamic state. Boko Haram’s vision appears more nebulous and less developed, but both try to function as a state-within-state.”
“For the records, we and Boko Haram are clearly poles apart. As Sheikh Zakzaky himself repeatedly pointed out, Boko Haram is the creation of the oil-hungry West, a claim, Ambassador Campbell erroneously said is implausible. However, it is on record that the equally dreaded ISIS organisation wreaking havoc in the Middle East, to which Boko Haram gives its allegiance, is the creation of the United States.”
The spokesman argued: “Boko Haram simply sprang up, hitherto unknown to anybody as to its teachings, schools and media and started terrorising people. On the contrary, the Islamic Movement is a mass movement and its leader, Sheikh Zakzaky, has been calling for inter and intra-faith unity, tolerance and peace for decades. “He is reputed to have sheltered and protected Christians in Gyallesu, Zaria during the post-2011 election violence. He always adds his voice to the oppressed irrespective of their religion or region or any other geographical or social divisions whatsoever.”