Inside Story

Why has Nigeria banned the main Shia Muslim group?

Nigeria’s government has labelled the Islamic Movement of Nigeria a ‘terrorist’ organisation.

The Nigerian government has banned a Shia Muslim group after a spate of deadly clashes at protests in the capital Abuja, and following a court decision allowing authorities to call it a “terrorist” organisation.

Ibrahim el-Zakzay, leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), has been in jail since 2015, when 350 of his followers were killed in confrontations with security forces.

More IMN supporters were killed in protests last week while demanding his release.

Observers say the government is handling the group in a similar way to Boko Haram, which turned violent a decade ago when its leader died in police custody.

Could the latest crackdown provoke a new conflict?

Presenter: Martine Dennis


Ibrahim Musa – President of the media forum, Islamic Movement in Nigeria

Matthew Page – Associate fellow, Africa Programme, Chatham House

Anietie Ewang – Nigeria researcher, Human Rights Watch

Ini Dele-Adedeji – Research associate, University of York