From John Shiklam in Kaduna
Former Vice Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Prof. Abdullahi Mahdi, on Tuesday alleged that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as Shiite poses serious threat to the security and sovereignty of Nigeria.
He also described Iran, which he alleged as the sponsor of Shiite, as “Nigeria’s number one enemy”.
Mahdi, who made these allegations while testifying before the judicial commission of inquiry investigating the December 12-14, 2015 clashes between the movement and the Nigerian Army in Zaria, maintained that the IMN thrives on violence, saying that the group operates as a state within a state.
Giving insight into the history of the movement, Mahdi said Shiism was introduced in Nigeria by a Pakistani called Islamul-Haq who was a lecturer in the department of economics at ABU Zaria from the mid 1970s and 1980s.
“As a matter of fact he tried to induct me into Shiism but I refused. He however succeeded in luring Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky who was a student in the department of economics.
“Islamul-Haq house became a laboratory for the recruitment centre and induction of Shiism ” he recalled.
Tracing the activities of the Shiite, Mahdi recalled that in 1979, residents of Zaria and the university community woke one day and saw how Bill boards, public and private buildings, tarred roads and public places were adorned with the slogan “Islam only”.
He said from his personal experience and authentic information he had gathered, violence rather than peace has characterized the activities of Shiite in Zaria, Sokoto, Gombe and elsewhere.
According to him, the movement is very organized and operate a state within a state.
Giving further details about how the Shiite operates, Mahdi said: “Generally they operate in cells, in complete secrecy, the cells are spread across many parts of the country, especially in Northern Nigeria.
“There is a kind of Central Working Committee which meets frequently under the leadership of El-Zakzaky. At the state level, each state has a governor and a secretariat.
“At the central and the state levels, they have committees such as education, finance, recruitment and logistics.
“They have well organized training programmes, especially for the training of cadets and different categories of militia.
Iranian envoys and probably specialized groups from Iran offer them ideological and other forms of training, especially military training, this can be observed from the video clip.
“There is reason to believe that Shiite are patronized or supported by some politicians and even some ruling houses who are not on the throne. I have observed this development for sometime.
“Without the active support of the Iranian and local elite, they will not arrogate themselves to the power they flagrantly display.”
Continuing, he said: “Some Shiites are now occupying top positions in the civil service and government. They provide Shiite with ideological, psychological and financial support as well. Iranians use money as a tool for recruitment into Shiism in foreign countries.
“Residents of Zaria and its environs for years have been asking if there is a government in this country at all! There was clear breakdown of law and order in Zaria for many years to the extent that even the security agencies were living in a state of trepidation.
“Shiite propaganda gave the youths false hope regarding their future, that the emergence of an alternative government in Nigeria was imminent- a Shiite government under the control of Zakzaky,” he further said.
He added that the activities of Shiite have serious security threat to the stability and integrity of Nigeria. They constitute security threat to all communities they are found in the minority.
“Iran, their sponsors are well known for exporting terrorism all over the world. Iranian government use Shiites minorities as tools in Muslim countries or countries with a sizable Muslim population.
“They exist in foreign countries to interfere into their internal affairs. They subvert governments and compromise their sovereignty. Lebanon is a case in point……
There cannot be any doubt that Iran is the number one enemy of Nigeria,” he submitted.