|Sunday, May 24, 2020|
n the past three months or more, youths from Northern Nigeria have been moving down in lorries, buses, and trailers to the South. Some of them have been stopped and turned back, some others have continued.
A lot of these interstate travels have been taking place during this period of national emergency on the global Coronavirus pandemic when intercity travels, within a state, are prohibited. Yet, the interstate travels, crossing many cities and states in the North and moving to the South, have continued in spite of the lockdown.
Nigeria is a country where killings and kidnappings have taken place in the past three years at an unprecedent scale in peace time. Hundreds of Nigerians have been killed in Kaduna State, Benue State, and other states in the Middle Belt of Nigeria.
Many Christians, including priests, pastors and other clergymen have been killed in various states. Islamisation of the country is said to be the plan. It is speculated that these youths are being moved down, and will be armed to start killing the Southerners, especially the Christians.
Can this be true? We pray it is not, but the mass killings in the Middle Belt and the rampant killings of Christians and their clergy everywhere make it a piece of foolery to discountenance the story completely. Moreover, the killings have continued.
Who are these youths?
Where are their destinations?
Normally, a Nigerian and any other person, who is legitimately living in a country, is free to move from one town or city to another in the country. In that case, they have definite addresses of where they are going to. However, when the movements are in truckloads, their destinations and missions need to be questioned.
It is helpful at this point to quote some current relevant news items from some national papers.
All these news items were taken from the Guardian of Wednesday, May 20, 2020, the title of the story was:
The paper continues with the following comments:
"Viewed against the background of attempt by Boko Haram insurgents to infiltrate the South and Middle Belt of the country, the ongoing atrocities of herdsmen in the South and Middle Belt that have seen carnage of indescribable proportion, the current trend becomes really worrisome.
"To be sure, the roaming and movement southwards by all manner of people including the Almajirai pose security problems to these parts of the country in many ways. One, the South and the Middle-Belt of the country have been grounds for brutal killings by suspected herdsmen for a long time. And so, this curious mass movement despite the prevailing lockdown portends ill for the security and mutual wellbeing of the component nationalities of our country.
"Therefore, there is a veritable basis for the palpable fears that this mass movement might serve as an avenue to implement some sinister designs. The ease with which these seeming irregulars move across state borders with security cordons and the irredentist calls that they should resist and occupy forest and everywhere underlines the notion of collusion. This is scary. "
Another news item in the same issue of The Guardian, with the following title:
The main points in the post are as follows:
"The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in the South East has said the evacuation of Almajiri children to the region does not make sense, insisting that they have no business moving from the North.
Chairman of MACBAN in the zone, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, who spoke in an interview with The Guardian in Amansea, Anambra State, yesterday, (Tuesday, May 19th) argued that there was no Arabic School in the South East zone where they could be taught to attract the Almajirai to the zone."
The question remains: who sent them to the South East and for what reasons?
Another contribution on the subject was from the Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Right Reverend Emmanuel Chukwuma, he reportedly said that the movements had become suspicious and wondered why such movements had heightened since the restriction on interstate movement over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another relevant statement was from an elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai. A former Liaison Officer to President Shehu Shagari. His statement was reported in the Vanguard of Wednesday, May 20th, in article entitled:
He was quoted as saying the following:
"You need to investigate those who are sending these Almajirai. Is it true that they are Almajirai?"
"They wear the same things most of our compatriots wear. These are not the Almajirai from where I come from.
"This is part of the kill-and-hate Nigeria campaign and I will not be part of it.
"I am a committed Nigerian; I spent all my life, starting from 1953 when I was just 28 years old, to fight for the unity of Nigeria.
"I will not support or associate myself with anybody who is anti-Nigeria."
Lastly, there was a statement in The Daily Post of Wednesday, May 20, 2020, written by Seun Opejobi, entitled:
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu was quoted as saying:
"it is important to state that in his duty as Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, … all the states of the federation are equal and important before the President.
"None has suffered any discrimination up to this point, and none will be made to suffer any such discrimination in dealing with security and all other matters on account of their political differences with the government at the centre."
From the foregoing quotes from different posts, the following deductions are relevant:
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