The Nigerian nation has had more than its fair share of conflicts. From inter-ethnic, intra-ethnic and religious conflicts to land disputes etc. e.g. Shagamu (Yoruba vs Hausa in July 1999; Aguleri vs Umuleri in Anambra State in April, 2000; the Ikulu vs Baju in Zango Kataf; the ethno-religious fracas in parts of Jos, in Sept. 2001, July 2002, and Nov. 2008; acts of militancy in the Niger Delta and most recently the attacks on innocent Nigerians that started in Bauchi and sporadically spread to other States in the North where the Boko Haram adherents had pitched their tents, etc. The latest incident is one attack too many on the psyche of Nigeria as a nation, I am no prophet of doom, but are all these incidents not pointers to the American prediction of the disintegration of the nation in no distant future?
The very foundation of our existence as a nation was rocked violently by the religious bigots called ‘Boko Haram’ literally meaning ‘western education is sin’, who were desirous of ridding the nation of the ‘sins of westernization’ by a futile attempt, to install a parallel government based on the Islamic principles, as according to Ustaz Yusuf, all those Northern Nigeria Governors clamouring for Sharia were hypocrites as reported in the Sunday Sun Newspaper of August 2, 2009 as they do not believe in Islam and in the process over 800 innocent Nigerians were reported to have been killed and properties worth millions of naira destroyed in these senseless attacks. We commend the security agencies that battled to restore peace and order in the northern parts of the country where this incident took place despite the problems confronting by them, ranging from inadequate funds, and use of archaic weapons, against more sophisticated weaponry flaunted by the Boko Haram bigots.
During the uprisings in Jos and other parts of the State, at different times, the stories were tilted to sound as if it were acts of genocide against the Muslims, which is a far cry from the truth. In Maiduguri, Bauchi, Yobe, Kano, etc. States where the Boko Haram people struck, the reportage was presented leaving out the attacks carried out on Christian’s places of worship. For instance, the selective attack on places of Christian worship and the killing of the Pastors and forceful conversion of captured Christians to embrace Islam and join their evil jihad were not reported. The Light Bearer – a newspaper published by the COCIN Church, later presented pictures of burnt places of worship, with charred remains of adherents that met their unfortunate death in the hands of these devils. Why was the media silent on that aspect? Was that a deliberate plan to suppress the truth? Truth, like murder, will always out, as they say. Acts of arson targeted at Christian properties and places of worship have been going on in the country systematically, e.g. in Zaria where 37 Churches were burnt in 1987, and several others cases in Kano, Bauchi, Jos and other places.
Back to the crux of the matter. Why has the National Assembly members suddenly gone to sleep? Have they not heard of the over 4,000 Darul Islam sect members in Mokwa of Niger State that were dislodged and sent to their respective States? If Borno State had taken the bull by the horn and evicted Boko Haram sect members based on Security Reports, would that sect have been able to wreak havoc on the citizenry as they did? For fear of Darul Islam starting a similar attack from the fringes of River Niger, the Chief Servant of Niger State did well by being proactive and directed that the people who inhabited the Mokwa enclave be evicted to wherever they came from. That has since been done, and those that came from Bauchi, Borno, Kano, and even outside the shores of Nigeria, have been deported. A similar thing was belatedly done in Borno State, where the Boko Haram people were pitched and had wreaked havoc on the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The uprisings in Plateau State did not start with Governor Jang. It will be recalled that in September, 2001, there was Muslim vs Christian fracas in Jos, and later in June/July, 2002, there were incidents of uprisings in Barakin Ladi, Shendam, Wase when various indigenous tribes versus the Hausa Fulani settlers, and the November 2008 ethnic/religious crisis over an election conducted in Jos North Local Government Area of the State. For the fact that the crisis erupted before the announcement of the election results is a pointer to the fact that crisis was brewing waiting to be ignited! Governor Jang, in order to nip the brewing crisis in the bud, as would any responsible Chief Security Officer of a State, directed that the Boko Haram(?) people be dislodged from Wase LGA, and taken to their respective States. When that was done, the National Assembly cried foul, that as Nigerians, they were entitled to live in any part of the country and even set up a Committee to investigate the matter! Their eviction caused ripples for those who do not wish peace to be restored in Plateau State as they have sworn that Plateau will know no peace till the indigenous people are subjugated and annihilated. Let us rationally cite the matter of the ASUU strike which has lingered for over three months now, and the Federal Government is reluctant to sign an agreement that would be binding on the State Governments, yet it can set up a Committee to investigate a State crisis – why the double standard? If truly that is the position, the National Assembly should rise from its slumber and set up Committees to Investigate Niger and Borno States for dislodging Darul Islam and Boko Haram members from those States forthwith.
The arrow heads at the National Assembly calling for Governor Jang’s head have so far kept mum. Were those people who were relocated to their villages not Nigerians? Why the double standard for God’s sake? If a smaller incident takes place in Plateau State, the whole nation, especially those who are in a hurry to actualize the American prediction put their propaganda machinery to use, so much so that they make it sound as if it was a 8th wonder of the world! Or could it be said that their silence is now due to the fact that the Director-General, Department of State Security Service in a session with the Committee on Interior, according to Newspaper reports, informed them that the intelligence reports on the Boko Haram group were forwarded to the authorities concerned but that the powers that be treated it with kid gloves and maintained that he wanted to ridicule Islam because he is a Christian? If action had been taken on the Security reports, the mind bogging questions are: Would Nigeria be faced with such wanton destruction of lives and properties? Is there a superior religion in the country? Why are the Christians playing the second fiddle in the land? Is the Constitution of Nigeria no longer supreme, where it guarantees all citizens the freedom of worship and association?
It is said that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands, but we are seeing double standards being exhibited by those that find themselves in the corridors of power by hook or crook. Take for instance, the case of the dislodgement of those miscreants in Wase Local Government Area of Plateau State, who claimed they were nomads, but the Chairman of the Local Government, who incidentally is a Muslim and also a Fulani man, reported that in view of the crisis that had rocked the State, he was weary of the people, as they came without cows nor sheep as the nomads usually do, but they arrived in truck loads, which made him suspicious of their mission, methinks they could be members of the Boko Haram. It would be recalled that after the crisis in parts of Jos North LGA, it was alleged that mercenaries were being used for the attacks and as usual, there were denials, even when some were caught right in the township of Jos and the Okene Local Government Chairman in Kogi State quickly claimed they were Vigilante group members of the Local Government. If indeed his claim is true, what brought them to Jos at that point in time when there was crisis in the State, and who gave them permission to carry fire arms? Not only that they were armed, but also had fake Army and Police uniforms. What has scuttled the Nigeria Police, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, etc. that tax payers money will be used to hire hoodlums that turn back to attack peace loving members of the nation? In a society where the rule of law is being upheld, the Okene Local Government should also joined and prosecuted along with his so-called Vigilante members to serve as a deterrent to those who fan embers of disunity in the country. Those mercenaries were not tried in Plateau State, but taken to the Federal Capital Territory only for the criminals to be freed. Is it that there was no court of competent jurisdiction to try them in Plateau State where they were arrested? The question is: who ordered their release and under what grounds? This gave them the lee way to continue their ungodly activities. One cannot but conclude that there is an evil conspiracy against Plateau State and Christians at large in northern Nigeria.
It is being rumoured that there is an Islamic agenda is being systematically implemented in the country as we recall some years back during the Gen. Ibrahim Babangida regime; Nigeria was surreptitiously smuggled into the membership of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC). If no systematic Islamalization of Nigeria is being discreetly pursued, it should be clear to all reasonable people that what is good for Governor Mu’azu Babaginda is good for Modu Sherif and Governor Jang. If Jang or anyone for that matter falters, his attention should be drawn to it, but where discriminatory policies are meted out on Jang, while his contemporaries who did similar or more heinous things hold sway spells doom for the country. The people are wide awake and are seeing the injustice being done on particularly the Christians in this country and this portends great danger, if not checked, or else we are playing to the gallery to fulfil the prediction of the disintegration of the nation.
Let me conclude by saying that the enemies of Nigeria should not use religion to bring about the disintegration of the country to fruition. If Nigerians unite, no matter their religious beliefs, the country will be the better for it. Our common bond should be the nation, and not ethnic or religious affiliations. The situation as it is now in Jos where Christians occupy a particular section of the city and Muslims on the other side creates room for suspicion among the citizens. Jos is a cosmopolitan city habited by Christians, Moslems, Freethinkers and even the Atheists. With mutual suspicion which has made every kith and kin moving towards one side of the city lends credence to the fact that all is not yet well in Jos township and it will certainly be a hard nut to crack given our recent experiences in the land for cohabitation to take place. I pray that God gives our leaders a foresight to tackle the situation and Nigerians the tolerance to live peacefully with each other in whatever area of their choice. My strong belief is that religion should serve as a means of uniting the people, no matter the differences in beliefs.
This write-up essentially serves as a call-up to all clergies both Muslims and Christians to rise to their callings by ensuring that sound doctrines are taught to their adherents so that the likes of Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf of Gaidam LGA Borno State, killer Pastor King of Lagos will not rise to teach some fallacies and hoodwink the people ultimately leading to loss of lives and destruction of properties. All Nigerians of goodwill should condemn in the strongest terms, these senseless attacks on the citizenry. These are the lessons of Boko Haram which Nigerians have learnt in the hard way. The freedom of religion enshrined in the Nigerian constitution should not be abused, as none of the Holy books have been rewritten to now contain new and strange teachings of how to get to heaven other than those already known, tested and believed by their adherents. May the souls of those innocent people that were killed in these senseless attacks rest in peace, amen.
Mwakuk Jang J.