Yakubu Yahaya, interim leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), says the group is ready to dialogue with the federal government.
He made this known during a press conference in Katsina state on Saturday.
Yahaya said the group understands the government and is ready to dialogue without condition.
“Our doors are open for dialogue with the government and whoever wants to dialogue with us. Our doors are open anytime, without condition for dialogue. Because we understand the government, it is the government that doesn’t understand us. If they seek our hands of friendship, we are ever ready.
“We are peace-loving people. And we have no country other than Nigeria, so we won’t allow anybody to use us to destabilise the peace of the country.”
The federal government had proscribed the movement after the violence which broke out between the police and members of the sect during a protest for the release of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, IMN founder.
However, the interim leader said the group is not at war with the government.
“We are not fighting the government because we understand them but it is the government who is fighting and attacking us because they don’t understand our religion,” he said.
“Our religion permits us to rally during the observation of our various occasional events so if they agree that we have a religion they should allow us to practice our religion the way we understand it. If there is a law or verse from the Holy Book that prohibits our activities they should prove it to us.”
El-Zakzaky has been in detention since 2015.