John Agim, spokesman of the defence headquarters (DHQ), has told members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) to be ready to face the consequences if they take on the military.
Members of the movement better known as Shi’ites clashed with soldiers in some parts of Abuja last week.
The army confirmed that three Shi’ites were killed while four soldiers sustained injuries but the group declared 1,000 of its members missing.
Speaking in an interview with Osasu Igbinedion on The Osasu Show, Agim denied allegations that the military was sent to disrupt the procession of the movement, saying those accusing the military wanted to paint it bad.
“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 guides 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 organization. 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.”
Asked why the Shi’ites are asked to obey the law while the federal government has refused to obey the court order to release Zakzaky, Agim said: “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 organization 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.”
He said if the Shi’ites are left to protest freely, people ask where the military is, but if the military intervenes, “you people you are still blaming the military. Why don’t you let these people be?
“The solution is that Shi’ites must be a religious organization. Obey the laws of the land. Nobody can take on the military and they will not have casualties,” he said
Speaking on his assessment of the role of the judiciary in the fight against corruption, Agim said the third arm of government is not doing enough.
“I think the area where we are having a serious problem in the fight against insecurity is that the judiciary has not been part of it. Anywhere that there must be law and order, people should fear sanctions,” he said.
“Several times, those people were arrested and they were released without any sanction. We have a country where nobody is sanctioned for doing something wrong. Evans, the kingpin kidnapper, he came out confessing. Over one year now, what has happened?”