Press TV, the Iranian international news network, broadcasting in English, discussed “The Fate of Islamic Movement in Nigeria” during its “The Debate” programme last night. The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) is a Shia movement led by Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, who has been detained by Nigerian authorities since his residence was raided by soldiers in December 2015.
Yesterday, Zakzaky was charged with murder – a charge rejected vehemently by his followers. On the same day, the presenter on “The Debate” on Press TV aired the stunning charge that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bragged in an interview how the Saudis ordered the Nigerian government to attack and shut down IMN to reduce Iran’s influence in Nigeria.
Iran is predominantly Shia and has a long history of hostility and proxy wars with the mainly Sunni Saudi Arabia. The alleged comments were also reported here.
Strangely enough, none of the two guests, Abayomi Azikiwe, the editor of Pan-African News Wire from Detroit, and Frederick Peterson, a US congressional defense policy adviser from New York – who had little of note to say, shed any more light on the issue.
Watch the programme below:
In response to the question why the US, the UN and others that claim to believe in human rights have stayed largely silent as the Nigerian authorities crack down on IMN members, killing up to nine since January, while refusing to release Zakzaky despite a court order, Azikiwe said the US wants to contain and curtail Iranian influence in Africa.
Nigeria is almost evenly split between Christians and Muslims, but the majority of Muslims in the country, including Buhari, belong to the Sunni sect. Over 300 men, women and children, including some of Zakzaky’s sons, were killed by Nigerian soldiers when his compound in Zaria, Kaduna State, was attacked in 2015. No soldier has been prosecuted for the mass murder, despite a Kaduna State government inquiry indicting the army commander in the area.