A Nigerian activist has lashed out at Saudi Arabia for trying to propagate its Wahhabi ideas in Nigeria by spending petrodollars.
According to the Tasnim News Agency, Haroun Banawi, a member of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), said the Al Saud has funneled millions of dollars in oil revenues to Nigeria, particularly to its northern areas, as part of a plot to promote Wahhabism in the African nation and deflect Sunnism.
He also voiced strong opposition to the Nigerian government’s behavior towards the Shiite Muslims.
Banawi then recalled the heinous crimes against the Shiite community in Zaria in December 2015, which resulted in the deaths of many people and the arrest of Shiite cleric and leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky.
He said Sheikh Zakzaky is being kept in prison in terrible conditions.
According to Banawi, the cleric’s relatives and even lawyer are prevented from visiting him in the prison.
On December 12 last year, Nigerian soldiers attacked Shiite Muslims attending a ceremony at a religious center in Zaria, accusing them of blocking the convoy of the army’s chief of staff and attempting to assassinate him. The Shiites have categorically denied the allegations.
The following day, Nigerian forces also raided Zakzaky’s home and arrested him after reportedly killing those attempting to protect him, including one of the IMN’s senior leaders and its spokesman.
The two attacks led to the deaths of hundreds of members of the religious community, including three of Zakzaky’s sons.
The IMN has vowed to continue its peaceful campaign to secure the release of Sheikh Zakzaky and the other detainees.
Last December, the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) said there was credible evidence of mass graves in Nigeria following the deadly attack on Shiites.
The rights group said the Nigerian military had secretly buried hundreds of bodies in the graves after storming the house of the Shiite cleric.
Human rights organizations have called for a full investigation into the deadly attacks by Nigerian forces.
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