The Jama’atu Izalatil Bid’ah Wa’ikamatis Sunnah (JIBWIS) in Borno State yesterday said operatives of the Joint Task Force (JTF) have arrested its 32 members and denied them access to their families.
A statement by the chairman and general secretary of the group, Babagana Ibrahim and Baba Goni Abdu, alleged that 16 members were picked on Saturday at a mosque in London Ciki area of Maiduguri shortly after the Zuhr (noon) prayers.
Sixteen others, including Imams and members of the aid group wing of the organization, were arrested in the past weeks in Mafa, Maiduguri, Damboa and Bama local government areas. “The JIBWIS wishes to draw the attention of the general public and the JTF, Borno State command over the unconstitutional arrest of the members of the organization.
“The command (JTF) arrested our members and denied us access to see them, talk less of seeking for their bail. Not only that, several attempts have been made by the organization to see the commandant to discuss on the issue but (were) told that civilians were not allowed (to see the commandant).
“This is inhuman because how can a military outfit dealing with security matters that involve civilians denied audience to civil societies or organizations,” the statement said.“We are Muslims and law abiding citizens. It is therefore surprising that would our members would be arrested while praying in the mosque. We are actually facing difficult times because some unknown gunmen have killed three of our members recently.”
When contacted, spokesman for the JTF, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa, said he was not aware of the arrest. “I am yet to see the any member of the Izala movement and did not receive any letter from them. We have distributed our phone numbers to the general public for easy access,” he said.