US-Iran Tension: NSCIA Sues for Calm as Shiites Protest in Abuja

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By Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

Tempers flared in Abuja on Monday as members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), generally known as Shiites, protested against the United States, for carrying out a drone strike in Baghdad, Iraq last Friday which killed Iranian military commander, General Qasem Soleimani.

The Shiites turned up in large numbers and marched through the major suburbs of Nyanyan, Mararaba and Masaka in the FCT and Nasarawa State to protest against the US action, which has led to the escalation of tension in the Middle East. Tension arose over possible Iranian response and further military action by the US.

Their protest was in defiance of the appeal by the NSCIA against any planned solidarity march by Muslim youths across the country over the crisis.

The Council pleaded with the Muslim youths not to allow their emotions to becloud the dangers ahead.

In a statement issued on Monday by NSCIA spokesman, Aselemi Ibrahim, the Council said it believed that the present diplomatic impasse between the United States and Iran over the latest crisis could only be deescalated through the engagement of bilateral dialogue between both countries. It urged Nigerian Muslim youths not to breach public order over the crisis.

“The attention of the leadership of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has been drawn to a planned solidarity march by some Muslim youth in the country as a way of venting their anger over the killing of a top Iranian commander, Gen. Sulaimani Qsaim in Iraq. Although protests are an integral part of civil democracies all over the world, yet, the Council believes that the timing is wrong as leads to loss of lives,” NSCIA said.

During Monday’s march in Abuja, the Shiites echoed anti US and Israeli chants.

As a show of solidarity, they also burned the flags of both countries, describing the Americans and the Israelis as enemies of Islam.