Nigeria is in the grip of terrorists’ groups. Boko Haram is being degraded in the North-East. Niger-Delta militants could soon be pacified at talks in the South-South. Separatists in the South-East are tending towards intellectual struggle. Only the Shiite Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) is proving recalcitrant.
IMN extremism is spreading. The group is no longer confined to what used to be it’s enclave in Zaria, Kaduna state. It is desirous of spreading it’s influence – Plateau, Niger, Katsina, Kano, Sokoto, Yobe and other northern states are in it’s crosshair for the short term. In the wake of an outright ban of it’s activities by the Kaduna State Government it is looking to test the waters in other states. Any willing state becomes the new hub for it’s criminal precessions. Governors of neighbouring states to Kaduna must be bold to confront this threat.
IMN is testing the waters elsewhere. It found the Nigerian Army formidable and beat a tactical retreat. It fights the army and wages war against the military in the media and cyberspace. It’s experience cannot be disregarded. Iran provides tactical training for fighting on the streets while unleashing propaganda in the media and online. The truth placed the military above IMN.
The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is IMN’s new test case. It appears to want to use it’s failed strategy against the army on the NPF. Fanatics attacked policemen on legitimate duty to stop a protest in Kano. They were intent on killing other Nigerians. Previous lies about being the victim instead of the problem was a perfect cover for the sectarian fanatics. They expected the police to stay quiet while officers and men are slaughtered like sacrificial lamb. They have ramped up the propaganda that the police is an execution squad. The lies would be repeated all over again.
The lies were coded by Iran. Proxies in Nigeria would deliver them. Dangerously Iran is sending more than lies to Nigeria. IMN members go to the Islamic Republic to acquire fighting skills. Iran sends in experts to manage propaganda for IMN. We are all reeling from the deluge of misinformation that proceed from this crime.
Iran tramples our sovereignty. IMN is it’s fighting force in Nigeria. The Islamic Republic is invading Nigeria by proxy. If the Iranian Revolutionary Guards were to invade our country there would be global outcry. Such invasion would violate all known international conventions. Each country has the right to manage its internal affairs.
But using IMN as it’s fighting force in Nigeria is not alarming to the world.
The outcry from several concerned Nigerians and patriotic groups are ignored. Iran ensures that, each time IMN attacks state institutions, she is on standby with it’s Ambassador to deploy resources to fight for the extremists. The strategy has been consistent, limiting the ability of security agencies to respond to terrorist threats using human rights as the weapon.
The same strategy is being deployed against the police. Iran pretends the police is executing Shiites. No one talks about the men killed in the course of doing their legitimate work. They are seen as not having families. IMN pretends security agencies are on a mission to clamp down on sectarian freedom. They do not highlight how Nigerians rejected Iranian occupation when they were stopped in several cities from hiding under Ashura processions to commit terror acts. Nigerians fought against foreign repression.
Now that IMN has turned its attention to the Nigerian Police we should be worried. It marks a growing boldness on the part of a group positioning to be the next terror group. If the police gets drawn into the IMN quicksand it will cripple its ability to fight crimes. All IMN criminality would be covered with informal immunity that the group desperately seeks. Other Nigerians would be left at the mercy of the extremists group’s reign of terror. Zaria would be visited upon all of us. We cannot afford that.
Other nations must rise up to condemn Iran’s interference with Nigeria’s internal affairs. The Islamic Republic must be told to keep its international export of terror away from Nigeria in the interest of global peace. A destabilisation of Nigeria will have consequences for the entire globe. The entire African continent would be impacted. A global meltdown is the least that will be expected.
The recent IMN clash with Police in Kano is therefore not a headache for the NPF alone. It is not even headache for the Nigerian state alone. It is a concern that the world must tackle with dispatch. The concern should be underscored by the recalcitrance of IMN where other security concerns in Nigeria are tending towards solutions. Global pressure must thus be brought to bear in stopping Iranian support for IMN. Without Iranian support the IMN threat will dissipate. This is the direction the nations of earth should tread. They must also back Nigeria in designating IMN as a terror group.
****Kolawole Phd is a University lecturer and contributed this article from Keffi, Nasarawa State.