The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has described the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky as an “animal.”
El-Rufai, who made the comment while featuring on Channels Television programme “Hard Copy,” however stressed, after being asked by the interviewer to retract the comment, that the remark was not meant to denigrate the Shi’ite leader.
The diminutive leader also disclosed that his problem with the El-Zakzaky’s faction of the group was due to their refusal to acknowledge the sovereignty of the Nigerian government.
According to El-Rufai, “Shi’ites are citizens of Nigeria and they are entitled to practice their religion, there is no problem with that. Those protesting for the release of El-Zakzaky are not necessarily Shias, they are members of El-Zakzaky’s movement.
“In Kaduna, there are two other Shi’ite organisations that don’t protest, they don’t block high ways, they recognize the President of Nigeria and me as the governor of the state and we don’t have a problem with them.
“The one that we have problems with is the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, headed by El-Zakzaky, they don’t recognised the President of Nigeria as sovereign, they don’t recognise me as governor. Their allegiance is to another country and their objective is to turn Nigeria into an Islamic republic.
“They are against the state, never recognised the Nigerian constitution.
“I know El-Zakzaky personally, we were both students at the Amadu Bello University in Zaria, we were both active in the Muslim Students Society so I know the animal I’m dealing with. Many of those making comments on this issue don’t know the history, I was in ABU when El-Zakzaky was dismissed, I know him.”
On outlawing the group, El-Rufai said, “Outlawing them is the only solution we see and anybody with different view should tell us.”