The police say the ban on ‘Ashura’ procession only applies to members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and not other Muslims observing the day.
Ashura marks the Remembrance of Muharram, the annual commemoration of the death of Husayn and his family and supporters at the Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH (in AHt: Oct. 10, 680 CE).
Mourning for the incident began almost immediately after the battle.
In Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Bahrain and Pakistan, Ashura has become a national holiday, and many ethnic and religious communities participate in it.
Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Frank Mba, in a statement in Abuja, said Muslims in Nigeria were free to carry out peaceful procession alongside their counterparts across the world.
He said the clarification became imperative following the deluge of enquiries concerning the ban on procession by the proscribed (IMN).
He called on Muslims to carry out the procession within the confines of the law.
The FPRO, however, urged them to guard against infiltration by unscrupulous elements who would want to take advantage of the event to disrupt public peace, order and security.
Mba said the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Adamu, had directed all commissioners of police and their respective supervisory assistant inspectors-general of police to give full effect to the clarification.
He said the directive was to ensure that non-IMN Muslims were not restricted from exercising their freedom of religion, worship and peaceful assembly.
“In the same vein, the IGP has enjoined members of the public to be calm and go about their lawful businesses.
“The force is doing all within its capacity to ensure there is no breach of peace, law and order anywhere in the country,’’ he said.