The Shiite Uprising in Nigeria and Implications for Nigeria’s Relations with Iran: Role of the Media
Keywords:Shiites, Iran, Media, Nigeria, Terrorism
The recent clashes between the Nigerian government and the Shiites, represented by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), have raised concerns about the potential implications for Nigeria’s security and smooth diplomatic ties with the Republic of Iran. The State of Iran is well known to be a solid backer and support for the IMN movement in Nigeria and on the other hand, enjoys a cordial trade relationship with Nigeria. However, Nigeria’s cordial relationship with the likes of the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel with whom Iran has rough diplomatic patches, is a serious source of concern for security experts who interpret the trade relations between Iran and Nigeria as merely a marriage of convenience with many potential dangers. The violent Shiite uprisings against the Nigerian State in recent times, instigated by the continuous illegal detention of Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, which is often met with severe use of force by security personnel, have been interpreted by some as providing a lee-way for Iran to use them as instruments of initiating terror and destabilizing Nigeria’s security system. The media reportage of the uprising may have been politically motivated and not from the point of view of religion as a fundamental right. This paper thus suggested that the Nigerian State be advised to be more diplomatic and shrewd in the handling of the Shiite crisis.