Sheikh Elzakzaky praying on the graves on his children killed in previous army/Shiite clash a year ago before the recent clash.
Coalition of human rights and pro democracy Civil Society Organizations, yesterday February 3, issued a press release condemning the Islamic Republic of Iran’s interference in Nigeria’s internal affairs over the recent army/Shiite clash in Zaria over the blockade of road by the Shiite Muslim sects during their procession. The Chief of Defense Staff was on official duty in Zaria when the Shiite procession was going on and plying the road the Shiite sect blocked. The army pleaded with the crowd of stone and stick carrying Shiite members to allow their boss pass but they refused in a video released on social media after the clash. The army later cleared the road for their boss by shooting in the air. Unfortunately it was reported about 3 Shiite members were killed and four injured. The same day the army stormed the procession to arrest Shiite leader, Sheikh Elzazacky.
After the clash that went viral on social media, the Shiite leadership have claimed that over 700 of their members were killed. The Iranian government and people in Iran and Shiite members all over the world have protested against the Nigerian government for what they refer to as unjust attack on their members.
Coalition of human rights and pro democracy Civil Society Organizations in their statement stated that, “We are aware that there are several steps taken by the Nigerian authorities to get to the root cause of the unfortunate incidence that led to the loss of lives and properties but also prevent a reoccurrence. The life of any human being is sacred and for us a a nation the life of every Nigerian is even more precious and the consciousness to threat it as such is improving.
“Similar to the sanctity of life is the right to freedom, hence concerns about those still in custody over the Zaria Shiite incident continue to illicit reactions in Nigeria. This, to us, is an indication that Nigerians, irrespective their ethnic, religious or sectarian affiliations, continue to defend the right of their fellow citizens and have never hesitated to hold the authorities to account. This is a gain from our growing democratic credentials and something that the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria MUST protect at any cost in line with the provisions of the constitution it is sworn to uphold in pursuit of Nigeria’s territorial integrity and general well being.
“It is on this note that we condemn the meddlesomeness of the Islamic republic of Iran in our country’s affairs in it totality. First was the phone call by President Rouhani to his Nigerian counterpart on a matter that bothers on criminality. Then the many unguarded and unpalatable utterances of its Ambassador to Nigeria to the extent of threatening the whole nation. We hope that the Iranian government would have recalled its ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Saeed Koozechi, on account of the incendiary utterances in the past weeks. The recent umbrage from the ambassador was him threatening Nigeria not to pour fuel over fire with continued detention of El-Zazacky. The fact that this has not happened is enough proof that he truly speaks for his government as an envoy.
“We see this Iranian interference as part of a desperate attempt to create a Shiite axis of power as compensation for the sliding influence of the sect in the Middle East where the Sunni brand of Islam gaining the upper hand. Unfortunately for Iran, they blatantly ignored the reality that Islam in Nigeria is not known to be heavily polarized along sectarian lines as it would want it to be. The guarantee of secularism in the Nigerian Constitution ensures that the adherents of any faith or sects are citizens of Nigeria must submit to constituted authorities, including our Armed Forces. No group or sect has the right to hijack public infrastructure to the hardship of other citizens and bearing of unlicensed arms is a crime in nay functional country.”
They also call on President Muhammadu Buhari to expel the Iranian Ambassador, Saeed Koozechi from Nigeria, stating that they fear that the whole of this support for Shiite sect in Nigeria on so called humanitarian ground is a ploy to plunge Nigeria into further crisis, disrupt sales of Nigerian crude oil in the international market, and create space for Iranian oil as it is just emerging from crippling sanctions that had prevented it from selling oil.
In their closing statement they appeal to the media to consider national interest in the course of reporting. Before the recent clash there was also an earlier clash between the Shiite and the army a year ago before the recent procession where three children of sheikh Elzakzaky lost their lives and seven others members were killed. Many Nigerians have also condemned the Shiite for their incessant blockage of highways all over Northern Nigeria.