Chris Steven, Abuja
The Kaduna Youth Coalition for Peace and Development on Friday backed the Kaduna state White paper on the Zaria clash which designated the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) as an insurgent group.
The youths were responding to a letter purportedly written to President Muhammadu Buhari by the Borno Elders Forum in which they warned that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) could become the next Boko Haram because Kaduna State Government has designated it an insurgent group.
Addressing a press briefing in Kaduna, President of the group, Peter Bawa urged the Federal Government not to deal with the IMN with kid gloves, saying it was this same tactics the Borno elders used to blackmail the people until the Boko Haram became a monster.
Bawa expressed shock that even when notable islamic organisations like MURIC has denounce the group, they seem to be enjoying the backing of the Borno elders. He said such backing is suspicious.
He recalled that in the early days of the Boko Haram insurgency in the north east, the elders had kicked against military operations, claiming the government was committing genocide against people of the north.
He accused the Borno Elders of desperation to export terror to other parts of Nigeria now that the Boko Haram insurgency has been defeated in their domain and the regular settlement money they were getting under the previous administration has dried up.
He said, “At the inception of Boko Haram as a ragtag group of misguided youths that were flogging women for not dressing the way they expected, these same Borno Elders kept quiet. When the fanatical youths began targeted assassinations the elders only paid condolence visits at which they gloat over the demise of their perceived political rivals. Even when the terrorism of their protégés spilled all over the country they continue to implore that their sons should be spared and not be treated as terrorists that they are.
“It was only when the Borno Elders became the target of their own sins did they started fleeing into Abuja and Kano, leaving the less fortunate part of the population in IDPs camps did these remorseless men realise the magnitude of their error.
“The terrorists that they groomed have done a good job of their communities such that there is not much to destroy again. These elderly opportunists have therefore thought the best thing is to prop up an emerging terror group in a new geographical area for the purpose of repeating the circle of extortion they deployed Boko Haram for in the north east.
“We like to ask the Borno Elders to go back and do their home work, conduct research and learn that
Kaduna and Borno States have clear differences when it comes to issues of dealing with insurgents or groups that have consistently demonstrated anti-society tendencies.
He said in contrast, the people of Kaduna state endured the excesses of IMN, particularly in Gyallesu where they visited untold hardship on the populace for decades.
According to Bawa, this tolerance for the group was out of the realisation that every faith and sect, including those whose doctrines may be befuddling, are entitled to their freedom of worship.
He said things however came to a head when it was discovered that members of the IMN were engaged in martial training, radicalisation and militarisation of youths.
He said, “if that was not bad enough, when assassination bid on senior state officials in the wake of repeated threats became the order of the day the entire state was jolted to reality.
“But unlike Borno Elders, the people of the state, including the brother of IMN Leader, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakyzaky, came forward to testify before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that investigated the group’s clash with the Nigerian Army.
“The White Paper that is the end product of that Commission labelled IMN as an insurgent group and backed the decision of the stat government to outlaw the fanatical outfit.”