Islamic Movement of Nigeria leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, has cautioned that actions by the U.S. and France might spur tensions between Nigeria and the Republic of Niger.
El-Zakzaky believes that these Western nations might orchestrate attacks in a way to pin the blame on the neighbouring countries, creating further strife between them.
After the July 26 coup, the U.S. and France have shown varying positions. France advocates for the return of ousted President Mohamed Bazoum to power and leans towards military intervention, a stance shared by some African countries including Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire.
El-Zakzaky, while addressing students from Hauza (Islamic Seminary) at his Abuja residence, said: “How many times has there been a coup here (in Nigeria)? Did anybody ever come and force us to revert to civilian rule? I have never heard of such a thing. How could you just pick up arms, saying you have to wage war (on a country) in the name of ‘Democracy’?
“And it is clear that this is not our war; it is a war between America and France.
Although Niger has closed its airspace, France aircraft still pass through. And they also have ‘terrorist’ camps, some of whom they’d bailed out after they were captured.
That’s the source of the (so-called) ‘Boko Haram’ attacks; their camps are over there.
That’s where they come from, to launch attacks and ferret away mineral resources (gold) to be subsequently shared among them (the stakeholders).
“Now, I’m apprehensive about the possibility of them using those terrorists. Or they themselves (France) may attack from the air, claiming that the attack is from Niger. Under that pretext, it would be said that ‘Niger has attacked us’, then counter-attacks will be launched from Nigeria.
Therefore, if you hear of shootings in Nigeria or cross-border attacks, be assured that they are the handiwork of France and America, not Nigeria, and not Niger!.
“They could trigger a ‘tribal’ conflict within Niger, capitalising on Bazoum’s ethnicity, and pitting them against other ethnic groups, just like they did in Sudan, between the ‘Dinka’ and the ‘Nuer’.”