Re- Northern Nigeria: An Iranian haven's future implications
By Ibrahim Usman: From all indication, a hand behind the curtain is aggressively impatient to fuel trouble in Nigeria. The series of syndicated write-ups being promoted through the international media (re-echoed by Nigerian media), by so-called research centers, have exposed sponsors of this calculated campaign of calumny. The subjects of these write-ups have always been Iran, Hizbullah and the Islamic Movement under the spiritual guidance of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky. This time around, another sponsored rubbish came from an online platform, The Africa Report, which boasts of “unmatched intelligence” with “the finest African and international journalists, renowned specialists on the continent’s politics, economy, industry and governance”. A critical close-up will however, show that, The Africa Report is only but an extension of CIA-Mossad intelligence in Africa. “Northern Nigeria: An Iranian haven's future implications” is the title of the unintelligent report crafted by duo writers, Konye Obaji Ori and Charles Idem, which they obviously picked the thread from another CIA hub called, Combatting Terrorism Centre at Westpoint. The writers made a futile attempt to link the Islamic Movement in Nigeria under Sheikh Zakzaky with the so-called Boko Haram faceless insurgents, “While it’s clear that Boko Haram wants Sharia law to be introduced across the entire country, the IMN's (Islamic Movement in Nigeria) objective in this regard remains vague”. This is quite untrue. The Islamic Movement being a concept, rather than a name, is a mass movement of people struggling for the establishment of justice and fairness. Several efforts have been made at various points in the history of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria to demystify it, especially through the media, with a deliberate effort to distort and misconceive what it stands for. However, the situation on ground negates the claim by the two writers that the Islamic Movement is vague. The people who are direct beneficiaries of the social services of the Movement can testify to this. At a point in time, the National Blood Transfusion office in Kaduna had awarded a certificate of merit to Sheikh Zakzaky being the only Islamic scholar in Nigeria that encourages blood donation among his followers to save humanity. Many Christians, whose minds are convinced on the need for a change and the establishment of justice and fairness in the face of increasing spate of tyranny, injustice, greed and exploitation perpetrated by those in authority, have now taken interest in Movement. The fact that, the Islamic Movement has called for establishment of Shari’a does not in any way turned it into a violent group. Every Muslims craves for the establishment of Shari’a. Some states in Northern Nigeria have implemented Shari’a, and that did not turned them into Boko Haram. In a blind effort to implicate the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, the writers without clear cut evidence, threw ethics to the pigs and wrote: “In a recent operation, Nigerian security forces intercepted ships smuggling ammunitions and heroine from Iran to IMN operatives in Nigeria”. If this had truly happened, the story wouldn’t have passed unreported by the Nigerian media. For the past thirty years the Islamic Movement in Nigeria under the leadership of Sheikh Zakzaky, is known for peaceful conduct and transparent honesty. It is therefore difficult to comprehend how over night The Africa Report can twist this peaceful conduct and civility into befuddled and vague movement. This is clear evidence that the report by The Africa Report is laced with evil intent. For The Africa Report to say that members of the Islamic Movement are “typically uneducated” is a great fallacy. The Movement had been an intellectual and peaceful mass movement of people from different strata of the society. Because the Movement is intellectual in its approach, it promotes education as a foundation towards success. Presently, it has nursery, primary and secondary schools that adopt the government accredited syllabus in addition to some Islamic studies. It operates freely in the society, with native and English weekly newspapers, Al-Mizan and Pointer Express respectively which can be accessed on the internet at www.almizan.net and www.pointerexpress.net respectively. The Movement also has websites in both native and English, www.islamicmovement.org and www.harkarmusulunci.org with subtitles in Arabic and French. Why does Sheikh Zakzaky appeals to the Nigerian people? The answer can be found in the words of Reverend Joseph Hayap, Special Adviser to the Kaduna State Governor on Christian Matters, at a programme organized by the Islamic Movement: “Sheikh Zakzaky is a genuine embodiment of peace and unity in Nigeria”. Christian clergies regularly pay homage to him, and also listen to his sermons and benefit from his wisdoms. Pastor Yohanna Buru of the Evangelical Church in Kaduna and Chairman, Peace Revival and Reconciliation Movement who is a regular visitor to Sheikh Zakzaky recently called for the establishment of a Christian segment in the fold of the Islamic Movement. The focal point of the Movement had always been demand for social justice, and this affects even non-Muslims as well. Who then is afraid of Sheikh Zakzaky? Those who plunder wealth of Africa and other countries are jittery of the likes of Sheikh Zakzaky, and constantly keep an eye on him, as the write-up demanded. These are the same people that through covert and overt operation, fuel poverty in Nigeria.