President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Riyadh accepted an invitation from the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, for the establishment of Nigeria- Saudi Council to covertly fight Islamic Movement and the Shi’ah in the name of promoting investments and enhancing relations between both countries.
The decision was the highpoint of a secret bilateral meeting between the Nigerian leader and the Crown Prince, which took place on the margins of the so-called Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference, Garba Shehu, Buhari’s spokesman said in a statement Thursday from Riyadh.
The meeting was initially scheduled to hold in the office of the Crown Prince but was secretly held behind closed doors in Buhari’s hotel room at The Ritz Carlton, Riyadh.
The so-called Nigeria-Saudi Council will be made up of government officials from both countries and the openly listed areas of focus will be economic growth and development, investments in oil and non-oil sectors, and covertly security cooperation.
President Buhari and the Crown Prince agreed that the first assignment for the Council is to establish a legal and operational framework.
Earlier, President Buhari thanked the Crown Prince for the Kingdom’s interest in investing in Nigeria and the initiative to establish the Council which would form the foundation for a stronger Nigeria-Saudi relationship.
The Nigerian president commended the concern by the Saudi authorities to keep the issue of the security situation in Sahel region on the front burner.
The Saudi Crown Prince had noted that the security challenges in the Sahel should be seen as a global issue. “Saudi Arabia is prepared to participate in the engagement and sensitisation of the whole world to the problems in sub-Saharan Africa,’’ he said.
It will be recalled that ever since the infamous Zaria massacre of December 2015, which later was revealed to have been at the behest of the Saudi authorities as confessed to by the Saudi Crown Prince, there have been very high level visits by Nigerian president and officials known to be vehemently opposed to Shi’ah in Nigeria and reciprocal visits by the Saudi Wahabbi kingpins to Nigeria.
Similarly, those who made the most contributions to the persecution of Sheikh Zakzaky and his Movement in Nigeria have been honoured by the Saudi authorities, including the former Defence Minister, Dan Suleiman, the Chief of Army Staff Buratai and the governor of Kano state, Ganduje among others.
Each time Buhari had visited the Saudi Kingdom for one reason or the other, his government seem to tighten the screw against Sheikh Zakzaky and the Islamic Movement.
This visit by the president has in its entourage top security officials including Chief Security Adviser, Mungono, who had in the past toiled in vain to crush the Islamic Movement through series of false flag calls and the Director of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, whose main contributions in the fight against the Islamic Movement and Zakzaky has been to use his men to infiltrate the Movement causing division and infighting within with a view to totally destroying the Movement “beyond recognition.”
The NIA was also behind the botched attempt to assassinate Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife in India in the name of medical treatment some months ago. Since their return, there have only been limited visits to the Sheikh allowed and his health condition remains uncertain.