A group of legal practitioners in the country under the aegis of Lawyers Initiative For Civil Rights Advancement in Nigeria have petitioned the United States Embassy in Nigeria alerting it of the imminent security threat posed by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
The letter, which was addressed to the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, said the threat posed by the “radical Shiite movement” has several security implications not just for Nigeria, but other West African countries.
The petition was equally copied to the British High Commissioner, German Ambassador and the UN mission in Nigeria.
The letter, which was signed by the LICRAN Director of Research and Advocacy, Unande Tersagh, and made available to journalists, described the IMN as an Iranian-backed rebel group.
Tersagh, who described LICRAN as an umbrella body of pro-democracy lawyers dedicated to the advancement of civil rights, justice, equality and rule of law in Nigeria, said it is within public domain that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been harassing Nigeria using members of the IMN.
He said buoyed by Iran’s backing, IMN members in October and early November unleashed violence across several Nigerian cities in the North under the cover of the Ashura procession.
According to him, this led to several deaths in Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna and Katsina States.
Tersagh said Nigerians were surprised that IMN propaganda machine used the widespread mayhem as an excuse to allege clampdown on Shiism in Nigeria contrary to the fact on ground.
He said it is on record that members of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps have in previous years been named in illegal shipment of weapons that were deliberately mislabeled as other goods into Nigeria.
He stated further: “There have also been reports that the IMN members visit Iran under the cover of academic scholarships to be trained as terrorists by the same Revolutionary Guards Corps. This will be consistent with recent revelations by Salar Abnoush, Deputy Commander of Iran’s Khatam-al-Anbia Garrison, a branch of the Revolutionary Guards Corps that his country is sending out sleeper cell assets to infiltrate other nations.”
Tersagh urged the ambassador to prevail on the US Government to declare the Islamic Movement in Nigeria as a terror organization bearing in mind that their modus operandi is strikingly similar to that of Boko Haram, Al-Shabab and ISIS.
The group added: “In the light of foregoing, we passionately appeal for peace and justice by calling on your good offices in collaboration with those of other members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council to swiftly lend support to the Nigeria government in her bid to shut the door against all emerging and potential terrorist groups so as to strengthen the fragile peace that we are enjoying at the moment.”