The Nigerian Army has spoken on the confrontation with members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) also known as the Shi’ites warning the religious movement to desist from such actions in the future.
The Shi’ites clashed with soldiers in some parts of Abuja last week leading to casualties.
It was confirmed by the army three Shi’ites lost their lives while four soldiers sustained injuries with the IMN claiming to have suffered a far higher number of casualties.
The spokesman of the defence headquarters (DHQ), John Agim, denied reports the army aimed to disrupt the procession of the movement accusing nay-sayers of trying to dent the image of the army.
“There are different narratives out there that are not correct. It is not true that the military is being used to stop the Shi’ites from their normal procession,” Agim said.
“Right from 2015, we have been hearing about the issue of Shi’ites and the military. It has never been that the military was sent to stop whatever thing they are doing.
“The problem emanates from the philosophy that guide the movement. The clash that you see, in fact, three times now, is that the Shi’ites obstruct the military from doing their job. They are a law unto themselves. They do anything.
“They are supposed to be a religious organisation. Where did they get those arms and ammunition? This was how Boko Haram started, in fact, it was not even as serious as this.
“The narrative is being given by an international community and it is very simple. They want to make the military look unprofessional.
“They have the right to protest. But when you protest, protest lawfully. Anybody that does not obey the laws of the land should be sanctioned.
“So they are attacking the military to show their satisfaction with the government, then they should be ready for the consequence.
“We don’t have rubber bullets when we are sent on assignments. So, if any organisation that is not happy with the government want to take on the military, then they should be ready for the consequence.
“Whatever the problem of the Shi’ites with the federal government, let them take it constitutionally. You take on any military in the world and you will be taken down.
“The solution is that Shi’ites must be a religious organisation. Obey the laws of the land. Nobody can take on the military and they will not have casualties”.