The suspension of street protests announced by the spokesperson of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has revealed a crack in the ranks of the Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky led group.
Backstory: El-Zakzaky’s daughter, Suhaila Ibraheem Zakzaky disowned the IMN’s spokesperson as she rejected the call via a Facebook video. Suhalia announced that there was no going back on the protests until her father regains his freedom.
“This person (IMN spokesperson) has nothing to do with the people organising this protest that have been going on in Abuja and will continue to go on till El-Zakzaky is freed.”
- Per Ibrahim Musa, IMN’s spokesperson, the suspension of the protest is based on the advise of their lawyers to seek new ideas on the resolution of the problems. This followed the court order proscribing the group and the fiat issued by the Inspector General of Police.
“We are committed to exploring the new openings we have seen in resolving this protracted issue. We, therefore, reiterate our demand that our leader, his wife, and several others in detention be given their freedom denied to them since 2015.”
What it means: A security analyst,Murtala Abdullahi described the signs of the split within the group as a “disaster”.
Endangered protesters may resort to taking up arms. The Nigerian Police will most likely carry out its threat of the police treating IMN protesters as terrorists and this will serve as a springboard for the radicalization of the group.
Bottomline: The different IMN camps appear to be waiting for the August 5 Kaduna High Court ruling. The court will decide whether El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, can travel overseas for treatment or not. This judgement will definitely see a change in the course of the organization’s engagement strategy.