FEATURE ARTICLE

E O EkeSaturday, July 19, 2014
eoeke@aol.com


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NIGERIA, THE SURVIVAL OF THE ARMED

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hen will Nigerian Government act to protect those at risk of Fulani herdsmen attack and allow the rule if law to prevail?

Hardly a week passes without news of some sort of atrocity in Nigeria involving the loss of lives of innocent law abiding citizens going about their daily lives or the government attempt to have its way by all means. If there is any doubt that the Nigeria state has failed, these are the evidence. Its citizens are no longer safe within its borders and live in fear of sudden death from audacious criminals, power obsessed murderous politicians and people who are waging war against the country and have taken the laws into their own hands.

About three years ago, in a six part article, I chronicled the descent of Nigeria into abyss and wondered aloud, what the government was doing. Today as the Fulani militia, and boko haram terrorist run riot in north Nigeria, and kidnappers, armed robbers and hired killers have a field day in the south, it is clear that the government did nothing.

For many years, Fulani herdsmen and Islamic fundamentalist have unleashed a genocidal war on the predominantly Christian ethnic minority groups in north Nigeria and the people have been told to pray to God and the government had not put anything in place to protect the people from this known danger. Day after day, families are wiped out, villagers flee and their settlement burnt and yet, the government has not put the whole country on war footing.

In the early 1990s when I worked in north Nigeria, I remember the night in early 1993, when one of the workers in the hospital came to knock on my door in the middle of the night. I thought that there was a medical emergency and prepared to go and see the patient. He gave me a very distressing news and told me that he had come to warn me that the minority Hausa-Fulani community were planning to start killing the majority ethnic group in that part of Jos , south of Kaduna state.

We took the hospital ambulance and drove near their settlement and saw two big open back Lorries where they were loading their women and children. I drove to the police station along Zaria road at the Jengre junction and reported the matter and the police sent for reinforcement and mounted a road block. After about an hour and half, the two Lorries arrived at the road block and were detained. When the men heard that their women and children have been detained, they called off the planned massacre.

I was later told that they included me among the people to be killed because they said I look at the private part of their women, when they come to the hospital to deliver and it is not allowed in Islam. I have wondered how a doctor can deliver a woman of a child without looking at the place the child comes out from. This is the thinking and mind set of the people who we need to contend with and defeat to give Nigeria a future. Few months later, on the 10th of June 1993, I left north Nigeria for good and have not been back.

I suppose it is time for Nigerian government and people to stop kidding themselves, by thinking that what is happening in north Nigeria will go away and that it would not spread to the south. The reality is that, it would get much worse before it would get better. An ethno-religious war is going on in Nigeria and it is only a matter of time before it spreads to all parts of the country.

For many years, the Fulani militia which disguises itself as herdsmen and Islamic extremists have unleashed a genocidal war on the predominantly Christian ethnic minorities of the north, Middle belt and Igbos living in the north. In the last three years, these attacks have increased and metamorphosed into a Janjaweed style ethnic cleansing to evict ethnic minorities and Igbos from the north to secure grazing grounds for their cattle and enforce and Islamic state.

This is the reality. Many Muslims keep quiet because they believe in Islamic state, oblivious that their silence is a tacit support fot the terrorists, who are determined to prevail by violence. Religion and ethnic prejudice have poisoned the minds of some people and enable them find justification for injustices and atrocities and this is sad to say the least. Nigeria has become a country where religion and ethnicity instead of reason and evidence determine decisions. Sectarianism is taking a sinister root in Nigeria.

I suppose it is time for Nigerians to be told that There is no God or Allah, which would reward those who kill to achieve their objectives, either ethnic or religious. It is time to challenge the ignorant and poisonous dogmas, which enable people, justify hate, intolerance, evil and prejudice in the name of a loving God.

The most painful part of this tragedy is that in spite of billions budgeted as security votes by successive governments; the Nigerian government has done nothing to protect these minority ethnic groups. There is no evidence that the government invested the budget on security and at the first shot by Boko haram, the government is seeking to borrow a billion Naira to finance the war. The question is where has all the security votes gone? What has successive government done with the security votes?

Minority Ethnic groups in North Nigeria and beyond are being brutalised and radicalised by terror, sowing the seeds of future intractable conflicts. Their daughters are targeted, abducted, raped and killed to humiliate them both as an ethnic group and people who belong to a different religious sect. Videos of terrorists reading the Quran and behaving young men are posted in the internet to frighten the people. All these are seeds of future conflicts.

Fulani militia attack ethnic minority villages in the middle belt and south kaduna, kill the people and burn houses and farms to wipe them out of the face of the earth and the government does nothing and other ethnic groups in Nigeria look the other way.

This must be the worst kind of inhumanity, injustice and evil a people can suffer. While these go on, the government remain in denial, Nigerians keep quiet, politicians, struggle for positions and plan for election and many say, it is only happening in the north.

No, it is happening in Nigeria and no part of Nigeria can escape it as it gathers momentum. We just have to look at what ISIS has done in Iraq to understand what boko Haram and Fulani militia plans for Nigeria.

What is happening in north Nigeria is happening to human beings and we cannot afford to keep quiet. Evil has no colour, religion or ethnic group. It is evil no matter the victims and the people who perpetrate it and their reasons. The aggressors in this hideous conflict have one aim, to completely annihilate all other ethnic groups and Christianity from north Nigeria.

We cannot allow religious extremists and ethnic bigots to succeed. It is now time for all Nigerians to unite against extremism, intolerance, bigotry and terror to stop these evil minded psychopathic terrorists from winning. We cannot have a country, where the loyalty of some people is first to their religion and second to their ethnic group and expect to succeed. To have a nation, the loyalty of all Nigerians must be first to Nigeria as a country anything other than this, is self deception.

Every ethnic group in Nigeria must now join the struggle to free Nigeria from these evils. The government should train and arm the people to defend themselves because the Nigerian army cannot protect everybody against what is still coming.

This is the time to start offering all able bodied adult in Nigeria, military training including weapon handling. Every graduate in Nigeria should get training in weapon handling. This can be included in the NYSC orientation course. Nigeria is at war.

There is no other way. Every Nigerian under the age of 60 years must now be trained in weapon handling to protect themselves and their family and people. Able bodied Men and women must start training and planning for a long war to secure their future, and that of future generations of Nigerian and teach them the necessity for them to fight to preserve who they are.

Nigerians must prepare for war because war has been thrust upon her, while at the same time defending and upholding the rule of law and due process. Today, it is the Beroms and Christians in the north, and tomorrow, it will be the Yorubas, Igbos and Ibibios, Nigerians must unit to defeat terror and we can squabble afterwards.

Evil triumphs because good men do nothing. This is the beginning of the Nigerian dark ages and we should not stand by and do nothing. Let us build a new Nigeria based on equality, justice as fairness, civil values and the rule of law and reject the present contraption marred by ethnic mistrust and religious bigotry.

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