A Nigerian court granted government permission to label a local Shi’ite Muslim group a terrorist organisation, the solicitor general told Reuters.
Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) have marched in Abuja calling for the release of their leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky, in detention since 2015 despite a court order to release him.
Protests often turned violent. An IMN spokesman said at least 20 group members were killed last week during demonstrations.
Dayo Apata, Nigeria’s solicitor general, confirmed in a text message that a federal court in Abuja granted government permission to proscribe the IMN, a move offering authorities the chance to clamp down on the group.
An IMN spokesman said they had not received any formal notice adding marches would continue.
Zakzaky’s office said plans to ban the movement had been considered since 2015 and it was not surprised by the move.
A court in Kaduna state is set to decide on Zakzaky’s bail application.
The Shi’ite group can appeal the order.