Why Buhari Must Think Twice Before Proscribing the Shiites Group

By Sola Adeyemo

The violent clashes of yesterday between the Islamic State In Nigeria (otherwise known as the Shiites) and Nigeria’s security forces which took the lives of DCP Umar and Precious Owolabi – a serving youth corper attached to Channels Television Group – is condemnable to say the least , but I hope lessons have been learnt.

Without beating about the bush, let me quickly tell President Buhari that he should jettison the idea of proscribing the Shii’tes group because of what the action might portend for us as a country especially at this point in time.

I’m not a security expert and do not have the right intels at my disposal but common sense, past antecedents and a few empirical evidences from some parts of the world with similar situations that we’re currently in as a nation state suggest that proscribing the Shi’ites will only make the group become difficult to tame as doing so will make them go underground and ultimately evolve into a pseudo-terrorist group.

Second, using the government’s big sledge hammer on the ISN will most likely polarise the country more along religious lines. And this will amount to the over-heating of the already tense country- or has the President forgotten that the country is tethering on the brink already; with the issue of kidnappings, RUGA and other security-related issues heating the polity. If I were the President, I would tread softly on the issue of El-Zakzaky and his group.

The President should also not forget that the international community is watching the way we handle the issue with keen interest. Well, it is good to please the United States and all of its allies as far as their stance on religious extremism is concerned, President Buhari must realize that our country must devise her own ways of handling this issue without necessarily pandering to the West – may I quickly remind the C-in-C that the nation of Iran and ISIS might be willing to arm this group in order expand their base.That’s another issue of great concern!

Third, let me say that the group may be gradually attracting the sympathy of many lone wolves in Kaduna, the North/East and of course other regions in the country. The way this administration is letting this group breach the security of the FCT at will tells one that the security at the nation’s capital is becoming more and more porous, and as such it’s very easy to swell the rank and file of this group by this same administration that’s trying to cut it to size.

I don’t know what intelligence reports they’re feeding the President, but something is telling me that group may have collaborators in our security apparatus and may have punctured a substantial part of its architecture. President Buhari and his security advisers have to be careful going forward. May I say the President has to rejig the security system and seek help from the West on this delicate issue.

Lastly, since the various courts have told the President that he should release El-Zakzaky to go for his medicals abroad, may I ask the President why he’s not heeding the courts in a democratic setting?

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