Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, shared his thoughts on the recent military coup in Niger Republic during an interview with Iran Press in Abuja. According to him, the coup is a people’s revolution and signifies the end of European and American domination in Africa.
Meanwhile, protests against France’s military presence in Niamey continue, with demands for the complete removal of the former colonial power and its ambassador.
Below is the full text of the interview:
“France has been dominating African countries, what they created as “Francophone countries,” there are about 14 countries that have the whole right to take all the resources for their own good. They take the resources and developed France and leave these countries poor, particularly Niger, which is considered one of the poorest countries,” Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky said.
Leader of the Nigeria Islamic Movement added: “They said in the rank of poor countries, Niger is the second most poorest country in the world. And Niger has Gold, it has uranium, it has potassium. It has so many mineral resources but France takes all these resources and leaves Niger poor. Not only that they take the resources, they even pollute the area in the cause of mining”.
The pollution caused cancer to so many people. So many people are dying. They (France) don’t even help people with medicine. They don’t care about people. Some might see it as simple as that but is much more than that. You can see that first, France and the United States have all condemned the coup (in Niger), and now they instigated the ECOWAS to use the military to attack Niger, He said.
Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky said: We hope that can never happen. But why are the US and France so worried? This is because France depends on Africa for its energy. Similarly, the US is now installing pipes that will tap the Nigerian oil, from Nigeria through Niger, through Cameroon, to the Mediterranean to Europe, to replace the one they used to get from Russia.
“You know, Russia has a pipe that supplies gas to Europe. During the Ukrainian war, they imposed sanctions on their oil and stopped buying, and even they went to destroying that pipe in the sea,” He added.
Now they want to replace this with Nigerian oil which they will take free of charge, without paying anything. It will be the same. Nigeria will give Europe oil and Niger will give Europe uranium, and both of them (Nigeria and Niger) will also give Europe gold. The will continue. The attack is not only on Niger but on the West African region and Africa as a whole, Sheikh Zakzaki said.
Now, our fear is, that people might see it as simple as that. Russians will not stand ideal, looking at Europe fighting them with energy from Africa. So, they will do everything to stop this energy going to Europe. They will stop uranium and that pipe which they will now lay from Nigeria to Europe. Russia will try also to stop it, even attacking the pipe in the Mediterranean and destroying it the same way they (the West) destroyed their own, he added.
Sheikh Zakzaki said: “At the end of the day, it may be a war between the East and the West. We hope it will not happen. But they (the West) want to make Africa the battleground. It means that when this war starts, it may even escalate to a third world war, and at the end of it, the Africans will suffer because they have the resources and the energy the West needs.”
However, Russia does not need African energy because they also have it. Russia has energy gas and oil. They even have uranium. They are the largest uranium-exporting country in the world. Even when the US imposed sanctions on them, they (the US) did not impose sanctions on their uranium. They still buy their uranium, Leader of the Nigeria Islamic Movement said.
“So, Russia will be here in order to stop Europe and the United States from getting that energy not because they (Russians) need the energy themselves. So, at the end of the day, Africa will be a battleground for the so-called “superpowers.” As one proverb said, I don’t whether it is a Nigerian proverb. We say “When elephants fight, grasses suffer,” He added.
Europe and America will have to understand that the days of their dominations over African soil are over. Africans are now rising up. They are saying that their resources in their own countries belong to them. It doesn’t belong to the West. It is their own. If the West need it, they will have to come and there should be a trade in which the African people will decide how much will be sold and at what price, Zakzaki said.
Zakzaki said: The day of stealing our resources will soon come to an end. It will be a thing of the past. They (America and Europe) can not continue to do this for decades as they have done or been doing. It will come to an end, God willing.
If somebody is following the event (in Niger), he will find out that, even though nobody likes military rule, you can see that people supported it. Why did they support it? Because the military severs relationships with their former colonialists. So, you can see that it is a sort of people revolution, not military, He added.
“People are rising. You see, they have been able to force French troops out of Mali through these demonstrations. The people didn’t want French troops in Mali. And then, they (France’s soldiers ) shifted to Niger. Now, the people of Niger say they don’t want them there as well. So, it is a people’s revolution.”
“They (the West) have to understand if they will attack Niger, they will not fight the authorities only, rather, they will fight the whole population in Niger and that will be difficult for them because the people are waking up. It is people’s will and they (West) have to respect people’s positive way.”