Nigeria has accused Iran of sponsoring detained Shiek Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, Leader, Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).
Iran, Nigeria said is sponsoring IMN to replicate the 1979 violent revolution that led to the forceful takeover of power in that country.
El-Zakzaky with his base in Zaria, Kaduna state had been in detention since December 2015 for the violent clash of his sect members with the military which resulted in the death of 347 people.
He is currently undergoing trial for alleged culpable homicide in Kaduna.
In a fresh process it filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja, the federal government stressed that currently, members of the IMN, do not recognise President Muhammadu Buhari’s authority.
It argued that the plan of the IMN leader and his sponsor was to forcefully turn the country into an Islamic State.
The federal government therefore, urged the court to dismiss the suit the IMN filed to challenge the order that proscribed its activities in Nigeria.
It told the court that the relationship between El-Zakzaky and Iran started shortly after the said revolution that toppled a sitting government,
It said that El-Zakzaky who was a Shia activist in the university was “heavily influenced” by the Iranian revolution, and had since galvanised his followers and brainwashed them to unleash mayhem against the Nigerian state and its citizens.
In a 56-paragraph counter-affidavit that was deposed to by Deputy Commissioner of Police in Charge of Operation, FCT Command, Enyinnaya Adiogu, FG, told the court that he had the consent of the Attorney General of the Federation, the National Security Adviser, and the Inspector General of Police, to depose to the affidavit.
DCP Adiogu said: “That from history and facts available, the Movement Called Islamic Movement of Nigeria founded by El-Zakzaky has its sole aim of creating an Islamic State.’’
El-Zakzaky was heavily influenced by the Iranian revolution, which saw Ayatollah Khomeini take power in 1979 after the overthrow of the Shah in a popular uprising.
“Khomeini remains the Islamic Movement in Nigeria’s main inspiration.’’
Nigeria said that members of IMN First pledge allegiance to Khomeini at their gatherings, and then to their local leader, Sheikh Zakzaky.
“The IMN views itself as a government, and Sheikh Zakzaky as the only legitimate source of authority in Nigeria and it does not recognise the authority of the Nigerian government, and views its leaders both Muslims and Christians as corrupt and ungodly.’’
Islamic Movement in Nigeria began with a Shia Muslim university activist, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, who became so impressed with the 1979 revolution in Iran that he wanted one at home (Nigeria).
El-Zakzaky went to Iran, ultimately becoming a Shia cleric.
On return home, El-Zakzaky formed the Islamic Movement of Nigeria and turned it into a vehicle for proselytizing and gaining followers in 1990s.
“That till date, Sheikh El-Zakzaky enjoys the support of Iran in all the activities of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, including the agenda to make Nigeria an Islamic State.
“That as a result of El-zakzaky Movement’s activities, many Muslim youths have converted to Shia-Islam of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
“That the main aim of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria is to propagate the ideology in Iran and turn the Country (Nigeria) into an Islamic State as was done in the Iranian Revolution of 1979.”