Groups seek Iranian envoy’s expulsion over Army, Shi’ite clash

By Wahab Akanji, Abuja


A coalition of human rights and pro-democracy based civil society organizations has urged the Federal Government to report the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations (UN) for trying to undermine Nigeria’s internal security.


They accused the envoy of allegedly supporting a group, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria to cause chaos in the country.


Speaking at a world press conference in Abuja, Convener/ National President of the Coalition, Comrade Ibrahim Abubakar urged President Muhammadu Buhari to expel the Iranian Ambassador, Saeed Koozechi from Nigeria.


Abubakar explained that the comments credited to the Iranian ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Saeed Koozechi, following the clash between the Army and members of the Shiite,  were very undiplomatic and could amount to a threat to Nigeria’s internal security


He also said the President should take the further step of severing all diplomatic ties with the government of Iran until they commit to staying out of the internal affairs of Nigeria.


He said, “That Iran can continue to undermine Nigeria after Mr President’s recent visit to that country makes the message obviously clear that cordial relations with Iran will not add value to us.


“We also appeal to the media to consider national interest in the course of reporting. It will be counter productive to help a belligerent country further its propaganda that is aimed at destabilising our country as it is obvious that the Iranian Ambassador is counting on Nigeria’s liberal media environment to help spread fear and encourage insurgency. In his home country, no media organisation would have dared to publish a story that is critical of the government how much more of stories that are meant to undermine Iran.”


He said for the fact that the Iranian government is yet to recall its ambassador after such unguarded statement, shows he enjoys the support of his government. Abubakar however warned that Nigerians cannot allow external interference with Nigeria’s internal security matters.


He said, “Nigeria, being a member of the United Nations, UN is bound by all the relevant conventions on Human Rights and other protocols,  does not require a lecture from Iran on how to manage its internal affairs, particularly when the issue under consideration borders on security and survival of the nation.


By the way, Iran should first put its house in order before trying to lecture another country, on what constitutes Human Right and how to safeguard it.


“We should have by now reported Iran to the UN. The arms found in Shiite enclave came from somewhere; our intelligence agencies certainly must have a clue to this.


“We still have the unresolved problem of some high calibre armaments which includes missiles illegally shipped into this country. Gentlemen, recall that sometimes ago a cache of firearms and other weapons were uncovered in Kano and it has all the fingerprints of a country on it.


“The right thing therefore, is for Iran to have tried hiding its involvement in the militarisation of the Shi’ite in Nigeria and not try to intimidate a sovereign nation for defending itself against Iranian proxies.” 

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