FEATURE ARTICLE

David A. AkintimoyeFriday, May 6, 2011
dakintimoye@yahoo.com
California, USA

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HAUSA/FULANI POLITICIANS AND THE DESTRUCTION OF NIGERIA

omething drastic and urgent has to be done to curtail the activities of some few powerful Hausa/Fulani politicians causing loss of many non-Muslim lives and properties in the Northern region of Nigeria. It has been established beyond any controversy that some few powerful Hausa/Fulani politicians in the northern region of Nigeria are in the habit of inciting, sponsoring, paying and empowering Hausa/Fulani social urchins and miscreants in the northern region of Nigeria to kill non-Hausa/Fulani Christians and non-Muslims and destroy their properties in that region in retaliation for losing any major election.


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The following appeared in the article published by the Voice of the Martyrs on May 6, 2011:

"NIGERIA - Non-Muslims Targeted After Presidential Election

Violent protests broke out across Nigeria's Muslim northern region on April 18 after the overwhelming election victory of President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the South. Angry crowds burned churches as well as homes and cars belonging to non-Hausa/Fulani (non-Muslim) residents. The homes of traditional Muslim leaders who supported non-Muslim political candidates were also targeted. More than 500 people have been killed and more than 150 churches burned. VOM workers in Nigeria are collecting reports on the destruction and assessing how to help. They are already responding to medical needs - meeting victims in hospitals, helping them get care and paying medical bills. The VOM team is also providing food and other relief to those who were displaced. "The church leaders in Nigeria did not know how to confront this massive destruction of churches and properties," wrote Isaac, a VOM worker. "Please join hands in praying for the church in Nigeria."

The assessment of the Nigerian situation following the Presidential election of April 18 by the Voice of Martyrs that "more than 500 people have been killed and more than 150 churches burned" was a very conservative estimate. According to Nigerian newspapers, the people killed were more than 1000. And not just churches were burnt, the homes of the Christians were burnt and they lost their properties worth millions of United States Dollars in the process. As a Christian, I believe in prayers but I do not think that the trend of killing non-Hausa/Fulani Christians living in the northern region by Hausa/Fulani Muslims will stop if we pray alone. I believe that the President of Nigeria has the constitutional responsibility, ability and opportunity to stop the trend in Nigeria. Let me back up for a moment. This is not the first time the lives of Christians and their properties have been destroyed up north by Hausa/Fulani social miscreants and urchins sponsored by very few and powerful Hausa/Fulani politicians to emphasize their relevance in the political process.

Shortly after President Obasanjo was sworn in as the President of Nigeria on May 29, 1999, Ahmed Sani, the Governor of Zamfara state in the Northern region of Nigeria set up the Sharia law system claiming that the Muslims in that state wanted the Sharia law. He also claimed that the Sharia law would apply to only Muslims. Under Sharia law, a person's leg was amputated for committing a petty theft and a person was stoned to death for committing adultery. Later the Sharia law was applied to Christians living in the North against their wishes and many Christians were maimed or killed for slight misconduct. Historically, Sharia law was essentially a body of law developed by Muslim clerics in some Islamic countries to govern the lives of Muslims. However, the Zamfara governor forced the Sharia law to apply to Christians living in that state against their wishes. They were maimed and killed for allegedly violating the Sharia law. The Nigerian Christians protested vehemently. In spite of their protest, other northern governors introduced the Sharia law to their states and apply that law to non-Muslims against their wishes. It was beyond dispute that the imposition of Sharia law on non-Muslims violated the fundamental rights of Nigerians to freedoms of religion, peaceful assembly, association and expression as enshrined in the 1999 constitution. When President Obasanjo pointed out the northern governors were violating the constitutional guarantees of freedoms of religion and assembly by imposing sharia law on non-muslims, the governors did not budge. They were ready to plunge the country into war and render the country ungovernable. Ironically, the northern governors were reported to have violated the Sharia law in their own personal lives without consequence. In order to avoid war and bloodshed, the then President left them alone and Christians continued to be killed for allegedly violating Sharia law. The Sharia law was not uniformly applied to people. Some powerful Muslim politicians who violated the sharia law by committing adultery were not stoned to death and were not even punished at all whereas ordinary people who did the same thing were stoned to death! The fact that the implementation of the Sharia law was a purely political move to control the incumbent southern Christian President Olusegun Obasanjo was brought to light when it suddenly died down when a northern Muslim called Musa Yaradua became the next President of Nigeria in 2007.

Why do male Muslims in the northern region of Nigeria kill Christians living in that region? Many people believe that they have been indoctrinated that they will be automatically admitted into the Muslim paradise called Alujona by Allah if they kill Christians regardless of the extent of their wrongdoings. Additionally, each murderer will be compensated in Alujona with 10 virgins or more virgins depending on who you speak with! It is very hard to reconcile this view with the fact that the Muslims in the southern part of Nigeria are peaceful and are not in the habit of killing Christians. Does it mean that southern Muslims and northern Muslims in Nigeria do not hold the same view about qualification for admission to alujona? I find this reason for killing Christians very untenable.

A better view is that many young Hausa/Fulani Muslims in the northern part of Nigeria are unemployed because many of them did not have formal education. They depend on the stipends and gifts from few rich Hausa/Fulani politicians for their livelihood. They feel that they have an obligation to render services to their benefactors even if they include committing heinous and horrendous crimes of mayhem, genocide and arson. The few powerful Hausa/Fulani politicians pay them a lot of money and give them ammunitions to kill Christians living in that region in order to become politically relevant. They expect the incumbent Christian President of Nigeria from the South to plead with them to maintain peace in the northern region and be rewarded with juicy political positions in the federal government and big contracts. It is difficult to track down the murderers because many law enforcement personnel in the northern region of Nigeria are Muslims and are also from the Hausa/Fulani tribe and many of the Christians being killed in that region are not from the Hausa/Fulani tribe but from the Southern region of Nigeria. Not a few people in Nigerian believe that majority of the Hausa/Fulani senior law enforcement personnel in northern region are compromised by the caballing Hausa/Fulani oligarchy by putting them on their payroll and offering them other incentives. The Hausa/Fulani oligarchy is not likely to be brought to book in the circumstances.

How do we stop the killing of non-Hausa/Fulani Christians living in the northern region of Nigeria? I must confess, there is no easy solution to the problem. Someone has suggested that Nigeria should break up into two. The northern region should be an independent country and the southern region should also be another. This is not a bad idea given the history of Nigeria and given the number of southern Nigerians who have been killed in the northern region just because they are not Muslims from October 1, 1960 when Nigeria became independent to date. I believe this view should be considered last if every other solution has failed.

Some people also suggest that the top law enforcement positions in the northern part of Nigeria should be headed by southern Nigerians and the top law enforcement positions in the southern part of Nigeria should be headed by northern Nigerians. It is doubtful whether or not the rank and files of the law enforcement who are predominantly from each region will cooperate with foreign top law enforcement officers in suppressing a riot or killing orchestrated by the criminals who are native to the each region.

Another solution that is being preferred is that the non-Muslims living in the northern region of Nigeria should be armed with weapons such as guns, grenades etc. so that they can defend themselves when Muslims social miscreants attack them. The jurisprudence of major legal systems of the world recognize killing in the act of self-defense as a valid defense to murder. But from the Scriptural point of view, is a Christian permitted to kill someone who wants to kill the Christian as an act of self-defense? In the Old Testament, the answer is unequivocally "yes". In the New Testament, the answers of Christians differ. Some think that a Christian cannot kill his/her assailant under any circumstances. They argue that Jesus said Christians should turn the other cheek and this means that we should not defend ourselves. They further said Jesus and the Apostles teach that we should not use evil to repay evil and that if our enemy is hungry we should feed him. Other Christians argue that it is okay for Christians to defend themselves because Jesus asked the 12 disciples at one point if they had swords. And when they said they did not have swords, he told them that they should go buy swords. What did he want them to do with the swords? Obviously swords are not for decoration. One Bible commentator said that Jesus told them to buy swords to warn potential armed robbers in the isolated wilderness roads that the disciples were armed and would defend themselves if necessary because the potential robbers would see the swords held by the disciples' belts. On a serious note, turning-the-other- cheek does not mean that we should do nothing and allow people to kill us or our loved ones without just cause especially when we can stop it. The audience of Jesus Christ then understood the idiomatic expression of Jesus Christ of turning-the-other cheek to mean that they were to take verbal insults without retaliating, not physical injury that could cause their death. Apostle Paul frequently used the instrumentality of the ancient Roman justice system to defend himself. "I appeal to Caesar" he said. I encourage non-Hausa/Fulani Christians and non-Muslims living in the northern region of Nigeria to acquire guns and other weapons legally, take classes on the use of guns and the other weapons and let the potential Hausa/Fulani social miscreants and urchins know that they have weapons and that they will use them to defend themselves, their families and dwelling homes if need be.

I think that the best solution for now is for the Federal Government of Nigeria to gather intelligence on the few powerful Hausa/Fulani politicians responsible for the mass killing of non-Hausa/Fulani Christians in the northern region of Nigeria. Once their identities have been discovered, they should be publicly tried in a court of law and maximum punishment should be imposed on them to serve as deterrent to others. We have to demonstrate to these few bad politicians that Nigeria is greater than any individual or group of individuals no matter how highly placed. A situation where a Nigerian cannot live anywhere he/she wants or practice any religion he/she chooses in Nigeria without fear, intimidation and victimization is totally unacceptable and must be corrected by President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria. After all, the President swore to uphold and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Article V of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees to every Nigeria the right to life, right to dignity of human persons, right to privacy and family life, right to freedom of expression and the press, right to peaceful assembly and association, right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, right to freedom of movement, among others.

David A. Akintimoye is an attorney at law and a legal luminary in the State of California. He is a Board Certified Specialist in Consumer Bankruptcy law. He is the owner of Law office of David Akintimoye in Southern California, USA

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