The Nigerian military has warned members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) protesting against the long detention of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, not to disturb the peace and security of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
To this end, the military authorities vowed to deploy soldiers should the Shiites cross the line beyond what the police can handle.
The Commander, Guards Brigade, Brig-Gen. Umar Musa, stated this yesterday while fielding questions from journalists at the closing ceremony of the Brigades Corporal and below competition in Mambila Barracks, Abuja.
Musa however, noted that the Islamic sect’s activities are within the bound of the law and yet do not warrant the deployment of soldiers.
He further warned that the troops are on standby, monitoring activities of the group within the nation’s capital and would not hesitate to quell and quash any attempt to get out of control.
The commander nevertheless, assured residents of the FCT and its environs to go about their lawful duties as the situation is still at a manageable level that does not require military intervention.
The IMN had for months now, embarking on protest clashing with several police personnel deployed to curtail its and activities with injuries sustained on both sides.
Also, the Shiites have been accused of damaging some operational vehicles belonging to the police, while some resident car owners have had their cars dented.
But Musa had noted that while they are being on alert, most of the activities of the movement are still within the ambit of the Nigerian police who have the constitutional role of protecting life and property of the populace.
He said: “I want to assure the public that the Nigerian army and Guards Brigade in particular have been monitoring the situation closely.
“As it is now, most of the activities of the movement is within the ambit of the Nigerian police who have the constitutional role of protecting life and property of the populace.
“It has not yet reached the time where the military will be involved. But all the same we have been monitoring and we are always on standby at short notice should the situation go out of hand of the Nigerian police.
“But I want to once again assure the public that their activities would not affect the security of the FCT,” he added.
Speaking further, Musa stressed that the Brigade is charged with the responsibilities of providing security for the President, Vice President, other important government officials, FCT and its environs.
He again, maintained that the Brigade had taken note of the daily protest but further warned that should “it get out of the control of the police, the military would deploy at very short notice to curb the situation.”
According to him, “the activities of the Islamic Movement has been on the high particularly in the FCT over the detention of their leader who is facing some charges preffered against him in court.
Musa also said officers and soldiers of the brigade were on alert and watching activities of not just the Shiite movement but other criminal groups who may want to disrupt the peace of the FCT.