By Temitope Owotoki
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) on Wednesday announced the suspension of its demonstrations to free its leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
Ibrahim Musa, IMN Spokesperson, in a statement, said the decision was in respect to some eminent personalities and groups who have intervened in its problem with the government.
”The move was taken in good faith out of respect for some eminent people and groups, whose input in the resolution of the problems appears genuine and we sincerely hope an amicable way could be found to solve the crises surrounding the illegal detention of our leader for almost four years now,” the statement said.
The announcement comes a week after the Federal High Court, though an application of the Federal Government proclaimed the IMN a terrorist organisation and the Police vowed harsh consequences against anyone caught associating with it.
The government said the ban was only targeted at allegedly violent elements in the IMN, and strongly argued its action was constitutional.
It came after a top Police officer and a reporter alongside some members of IMN were killed during a protest on July 22. The IMN members protests, which had held almost daily since 1915 to demand the release of Mr El-Zakzaky from the custody of Nigerian secret police, had also led to the death of dozens of the IMN members.
Although the IMN initially dismissed the proscription and threatened legal action as well as further protests, the group backed down on Wednesday, citing an ongoing dialogue between respected Nigerian citizens and the Buhari administration.
“If at all any protests occur anywhere in the country, it might be this notice hasn’t reached those in the field or this message is misunderstood or it is some security agents who are mischievously behind it as they have been doing in an attempt to smear our image and be seen as unruly people rather than as victims of savage oppression since 2015,” the group said.
The IMN said it would observe the progress of the dialogue and announce a review in the coming days if necessary.