Kaduna based renowned Islamic scholar, Dr Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, yesterday reflected on the recent deadly clash between the Nigerian Army and Islamic Movement in Nigeria, also known as Shi’ites in Zaria, saying he had earlier warned the sect’s leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky against blocking the highways during Arbaeen.
He said the Shi’ite leader had been running a parallel government in most parts of the North in the past 40 years just as he described the confrontation between the movement and security forces over two weeks ago as ‘divine intervention’ to prevent what he termed a catastrophe in the mould of Boko Haram.
The Islamic scholar, who expressed these views in a chat with reporters in Kaduna yesterday, alleged that the Shi’ites had been undergoing military training and producing military cadets and soldiers, adding: “They are operating a state within a state”.
According to Sheikh Gumi: “The Islamic Movement of Nigeria does not recognise the corporate entity of Nigeria and the group is not registered, they operate above the law and they get direct foreign aid”.
“Former President Umaru Yar’Adua had told me of the massive importation of ammunitions and weapons to different parts of the country, the president had mentioned Iran as supplying arms to the Shittes. The recent clash between the army and Shiites is a divine intervention to prevent a catastrophe like that of Boko Haram. It came suddenly and was so powerful to eradicate and uproot any plan that they must have been nursing to harm the society.
“I had written Zakzaky about a year ago, warning him of the dangers of blocking roads during the annual Ar’baeen trek, where his followers travel on foot from all over the country to Zaria”, he said.
The scholar, however, warned that the North would continue to be underdeveloped if the twin evils of Shi’ites and Boko Haram are not eradicated, adding that the strife and unnecessary blocking of roads and chanting of slogans on the highways increases tension in the region.
The Shi’ite group, however, said: “Gumi’s allegation that we ran a parallel govt is not true, because a government exists when it has a standing army and a territory, which we don’t have. We don’t even own a mosque, we pray with other Muslims.
“How can there be two governments for 40 years in the same territory without war? We pay taxes and are law-abiding. For the past 40 years, nobody can claim we attacked or molested him”.