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Security Concerns Over Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Operational in Nigeria

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While the US and Iran biker over the death of Iranian General, Qassem Soleimani, – a front line leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), since 1998.

There are growing concerns over its implications to nations like Nigeria – away from oil prices, there’s already an intelligence report that some domestic interests in Nigeria are planning to embark on massive public disturbances and sabotage” following the killing of Soleimani according to the Nigerian Police.

SBM Intelligence in its January 6th, 2020 report of the year made available to NewsWireNGR, pointed that the exact scale and direction of Iran’s operations in Africa is unclear, but the illegal arms shipment that was intercepted in Nigeria is proof that there is a lot of interest from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Nigeria.

The report by the research group recalled that in October 2010, an Iranian national said to be a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps was caught in Lagos’ Apapa Port trying to bring thirteen containers of weapons into the country.

The report reads in parts, “It was not entirely clear if the weapons were merely in transit or were meant to be used in Nigeria. The Iranian, Azim Aghajani, was eventually given a five-year jail term along with his Nigerian accomplice.”

“The IRGC is closely tied to the Lebanese Shi’a militia Hezbollah and Nigeria hosts a large Lebanese community. In theory, there is the distinct possibility that there could be cells operational or being set up in parts of Nigeria and the country’s lax and poorly-secured environment could provide a tempting choice of soft targets associated with the US”. the report titled, How could the Soleimani killing impact Nigeria? reads.

Nigeria currently host an estimated 2 million Shia Muslims, with the continued detention of the leader Ibraheem ZakzakyIbrahim Al-Zakzaky an outspoken and prominent Shi’a Muslim leader in Nigeria – they’re concerns but to SBM group, “Any attacks could provide an increasingly heavy-handed Nigerian government justification for increased restrictions on the rights of citizens”.

The Nigerian military committed “mass slaughter” and used “unlawful and excessive force” in clashes with members of a Shiite sect, according to Amnesty International.

Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN)— led by Iranian-inspired cleric Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky—clashed with Nigerian soldiers between December 12 and 14, 2015, in the northern Nigerian city of Zaria, Kaduna state. The Nigerian Army said the clashes began after IMN members attempted to assassinate the chief of army staff, while the IMN claims it was an unprovoked attack by the army.

More than 350 people are believed to have been unlawfully killed by the military in the clashes, according to Amnesty’s report

But Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, already announced the placement Police Commands and Formations nationwide on red alert. 

The spokesman of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Frank Mba in a statement on Sunday said, “This proactive measure follows Intelligence Report that sequel to the recent killing of an Iranian General; some domestic interests are planning to embark on massive public disturbances and sabotage.”

He said, “Consequently, Zonal AIGs and Command Commissioners of Police have been directed to ensure maximum surveillance and security of lives and property across the nation.”

Mba said the Police Commanders have been directed to ensure strategic deployments of both overt and covert Police operatives to ensure adequate security and safety of citizens, foreigners especially diplomats and diplomatic missions domiciled in Nigeria as well as the protection of critical national assets.

He also said, the IGP has assured all Nigerians and foreigners resident in Nigeria of adequate security, while warning all potential troublemakers to steer clear of the streets and territory of Nigeria.

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