Nigeria: Iran remains quiet over seized arms ship

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Nigerian authorities have failed to get any comments from the Iranian embassy in Nigeria concerning an arms-loaded ship from Iran which was seized by Nigerian port security authorities.

Iran’s embassy in Nigeria says it won’t comment further on the seized military-grade weaponry.

Nigerian security officials seized the weapons shipment, which was hidden inside 13 shipping containers supposedly containing building materials, on Tuesday October 26.

“Any unnecessary word would add to the confusion already existing,” a statement from the Iranian embassy read.

The shipment which contained 107 mm artillery rockets and other weapons, came from Iran, and Israeli officials claim the weapons were heading to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Hamas has denied the claim, while the Iranian embassy in Nigeria says no Iranian had been arrested over the weapons seizure.

Nonetheless, Nigerian authorities, Iranian authorities and Israeli authorities must now work together to resolve any tensions that may arise from the arrest of the armed ship from Iran, allegedly heading to the Gaza Strip from Nigeria.

Observers had initially expressed concerns over the seizure of the ship, especially as it came in the backdrop of campaigns for a highly contested presidential election.

After its seizure, State Security Service spokesperson (SSS), Marilyn Ogar had linked the arms cargo to the car bombings that targeted the country’s October 1 independence celebrations.

“After the October 1 bombs, we had information that arms were being brought into the country. State Security Service spokesperson agents had only gone through eight crates inside of one shipping container labeled as carrying Building Materials. Four crates contained floor tiles, while the other four crates contained military-grade armaments,” Marilyn Ogar had said.

Others were also worried that extremist groups were arming themselves. While targeted killings allegedly committed by a radical Islamic sect remain a concern, especially in northern Nigeria, the threat of renewed violence in the oil-rich Niger Delta is even higher.

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