The interim leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, otherwise known as Shiites, Mallam Yakubu Yahaya, on Saturday, said the movement was ready for dialogue with the Federal Government without conditions.
He made the declaration in Katsina at a press conference in place of the usual symbolic procession to mark the Arba’een (40th) day of the murder of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), killed on the 10th of Muharam.
Yahaya said the movement understood the government despite the fact that the government failed to understand it (IMN).
He said, “Our doors are open for dialogue with the government and whoever wants to dialogue with us. Our doors are open anytime, without conditions for dialogue. We understand the government, it is the government that doesn’t understand us. If they seek our hands of friendship, we are ever ready.
“We are a peace-loving people. And we have no country other than Nigeria, so we won’t allow anybody to use us to destabilise the peace of the country.”
The IMN leader said the movement was not fighting the government because they understood the government but it was the government who was fighting and attacking the group because it did not understand their religion.
“Our religion permits us to rally during the observation of our various occasional events, so if they agree that we have a religion, they should allow us to practise our religion the way we understand it. If there is a law or verse from the Holy books that prohibits our activities, they should prove it to us,” he said.
Yahaya also said that at the last Ashura procession by the movement, over 30 of their members were arrested and they secured their bail while some were still in court.
He said, “Seventeen of our members were killed across the country, six in Bauchi, two in Katsina and so on. Our women have turned to widows and the children are now orphans.”