The Islamic Movement in Nigeria has seriously faulted its proscription on the basis that the law was even never followed as it was not approved by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd).
Justice Nkeonye Maha of the Federal High Court in Abuja issued the proscription against the Islamic Movement on July 26, 2019, relying on a memo by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, claiming to have conveyed the presidential approval for the proscription application to the National Security Adviser, Babagana Mogunno.
The legal team of the Islamic Movement led by Femi Falana (SAN), also referred to a recently leaked memo addressed to the service chiefs, in which the author, Mogunno, accused Kyari of usurping presidential powers regarding matters, particularly relating to security.
These are contained in the Movement’s reply on points of law filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja in support of their suit challenging the court order proscribing and designating them as a terrorist group.
The Federal Government had in its documents filed at the court, insisted that the proscription followed the law.
In the reply filed on February 28, Falana argued that Section 2(1)(c) of the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act 2013 categorically provided that “it is the approval of the President that must be sought and obtained and not that of any Chief of Staff to the President”.
The Islamic Movement argued that its claim in its application for the reversal of the ban that the necessary presidential approval was not obtained has not been debunked by Federal Government.
“Aside from the furious ruse made by the applicant/respondent at paragraph 4.21 – 4.23 of the counter-affidavit, the material allegation raised by the respondent/applicant (IMN) that the approval of the President was never sought and obtained and properly exhibited as required by the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2013 was never disproved and controverted by the application,” Falana argued.
The Islamic Movement also made reference to Monguno’s memo to the service chiefs to corroborate its point that Kyari had no constitutional role and that his memo that claimed to have conveyed Buhari’s approval was a nullity.
Their lawyers said, “Particularly, where the very state official coordinating and supervising all the security apparatus in the country has accused the same Chief Staff (a merely itinerary employee of the President who has no constitutional role whatsoever of usurping the powers of the President, undermining security apparatus, allegations that borders on treason and flagrant desecration of the constitution.”
The Islamic Movement also said Kyari and Moguno’s memos categorised as Exhibit FGN 10, “was referred to in an affidavit” but “was not attached to the said affidavit” therefore “cannot be said to be part of the proceedings so as to be acted upon.”
It will be recalled that the court was deceived into hurriedly issuing a proscription order last July without any thread of evidence that the Islamic Movement has ever engaged on any terrorist act anywhere in Nigeria that costs the life of any citizen or property.
Like all the other steps being taken in the continued persecution of the Movement led by Sheikh Zakzaky, the laws of the land are being jettisoned in an attempt to give a dog a bad name so as to hang it.