Emerging information reveals that the Islamic Republic of Iran has recalled its ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Saheed Kozechi, Wednesday to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation. Although no reason was given by the country’s External Affairs Ministry, a very reliable source has informed that Kozechi was recalled to avert litigation and brewing diplomatic row between Iran and Nigeria over former ambassador’s unguarded utterances, which went as far as threatening Nigeria and the Federal Government.
It was equally gathered Kozechi was fingered in the clandestine funding and instigation of the Shiite sect in Nigeria, a situation that should have earned him outright expulsion but for the intervention of Russia. A top diplomatic source who pleaded anonymity told our correspondent that the country withdrew Mr Kozechi “to avoid litigation filed against the country and the ambassador in Nigeria and other international fora from ECOWAS Court to ICC”.
The source said, “After much pleading he (Kozechi) was able to get influential Nigerians to ensure he was still able to say his official farewell at the Presidential Villa because you realize that from the way he carried on about the Nigerians state he should not have been accorded such courtesy.”
His removal was brought about by the doggedness of some civil society groups that took Kozechi to task over his vituperative utterances and stoking the embers of religious extremism which they argued could lead to another round of terrorism by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, a branch of Shiite Sect in Nigeria which for long was accused of militarizing its followers to the point of attempting to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff late last year.
The ambassador’s removal might also not be unconnected to likely indictment and recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission and the Kaduna State Judicial Commission of Inquiry which would soon make their findings public.
The recall could be seen as a saving face measures to avoid outright expulsion, which the country could ill-afford. Attempt to reach the outgoing Ambassador for his reaction was unsuccessful while a lady who identified herself as a Personal Assistant disclosed to our correspondent that there is a standing instruction for any one speaking on any issue to confirm from the Iranian External Affairs Minister as to avoid any unhealthy relationship with Nigeria.