”The Chibok Girls” – By Pastor Jonah Isa Of The Middle Belt Dialogue
The abduction of over three hundred female secondary school students from Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS), Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria on April 14, 2014 has elicited consternation all over the world.
This is not the first time that Boko Haram has abducted female students. This is, however, its biggest haul. Chibok is a predominantly Christian community and the bulk of the abductees reflect this predominance in the ratio of 9:1. A few facts have since arisen about the abduction saga:
• The Sambisa Forest is some 60 kilometers from Chibok, Borno State;
• The Federal Minister of Education had advised the state Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, to relocate all students sitting for this year's West Africa School Certificate Examination (WASCE) to Maiduguri the state capital of Borno State, Nigeria for adequate protection, because the examination body, West Africa Examination Council lost three invigilators to Boko Haram in 2013. The advice was implemented everywhere in Borno State except as it relates to GGSS Chibok;
• Muslims in Chibok cooperated with the insurgents when they invaded to carry out the abduction. As a matter of fact, a son of the former Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Chibok ward was the supplier of petrol to Boko Haram. He was arrested by the community and handed over to the military;
• Chibok is a bastion of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Borno State, though the state is an All Progressive Congress (APC) Party ruled state;
• Boko Haram was generally avoiding Chibok after a former Chairman of the LGA, Hon. Wanangu Kachuwa, was gunned down in front of his house, shortly after returning from a Church service;
• Boko Haram invaded Chibok with fighters dressed in military fatigues in 25 pick-up vans and operated from 11 p.m to 3 a.m;
• The invaders burnt down some houses belonging to Christians in Chibok town while a detachment proceeded to the school premises, where they told the students that they were soldiers who had come to rescue them;
• Two of the vehicles that were used to transport the female
students were commandeered from the local motor park;
• Boko Haram insurgents looted the school's food store before
burning the school down;
• The school's Principal and Vice Principal, Administration, (both Muslims) and their families, and other teachers were nowhere around the school on the night of the abduction, suggesting some foreknowledge. The Principal is new to the school having just been appointed to take over from the former Christian Principal
in keeping with the unwritten policy in Borno State to not allow Christians head any state government institution;
• The Governor of the state claimed that he alerted the military of the pendency of an attack on the school four hours before the attack took place, yet made no attempt to evacuate the students from the school. In any case, Boko Haram does not require four hours to travel to Chibok from the Sambisa Forest, their believed
embarkation point. As such, anyone with foreknowledge of four hours before the attack must be a Boko Haram insider;
• The state Governor kept contradicting the Defence Headquarters spokesman, and the Principal repeats whatever the Governor says;
• Certain individuals are in cahoots with the insurgents. For instance, Governor Shettima of Borno State announced to the media that the girls abducted in Chibok had been forcibly converted to Islam and married off to Boko Haram fighters. A day
later, Abubakar Shekau, the sect's leader released a video clip making the same claim. Shehu Sani, an “activist”, claimed that the sect wanted to exchange the girls with members of the sect arrested by the Nigerian authorities. A day later, another clip emanated from Shekau making the same demand;
• Notable northern and opposition leaders have voiced opposition to international assistance to help bring back the Chibok girls and to fight terrorism in Nigeria. As shocking as the Chibok incident is it is not a happenstance. Non-Muslim females have historically been preyed upon by Muslims in Northern Nigeria. The obvious conclusion is that the Chibok girls were abducted because of their faith. Also:
• In May 2013 Boko Haram attacked a police barracks in Bama, Borno State, and abducted 12 Christian women and children. Shekau took responsibility for the attack and abductions on May 7 2013;
• Hajja, a 19 year old Christian was abducted from the Gwoza, Borno State area. She was forced to convert to Islam, forced to involve herself in the sect's operations and was set to be married to one of her captors when she managed to escape;
• In August 2013 a Christian student reported an attack on her university accommodation. The men were murdered, the women segregated into Muslim and non-Muslim and the Christian women were systematically raped;
• Mid-February 2014, Boko Haram murdered 51 persons in Konduga, Borno State, and abducted 20 young women;
• In Buni Yadi, Yobe State, earlier in 2014, 76 students of Federal Government College were murdered in cold blood and 16 female students abducted. They have not been heard of ever since.
• Forceful marriages of Christians to Muslims
• Most the new attacks by Boko Haram, such as Algarmo (Mbulakuduga), Shima, Kimber and Ablam are all Christian villages.
Forcible Conversion to Islam in Historical Context. In 1804, Shehu Othman Danfodio led itinerant Fulani from the Futa Jallon Heights in present day Gambia and Senegal to settle in present day Northern Nigeria. Danfodio led a revolt against
the existing Habe dynasties and supplanted them with Fulani emirs. The Hausa were forcibly Islamized. The Fulani Jihad, and Islam made inroads into other areas not inhabited by the Fulani or Hausa but were successfully resisted in much of today's Middle Belt.
It was British Colonial Rule that brought non-Hausa/Fulani peoples who were never conquered by the latter under the rule of the emirates. Called Indirect Rule, it suited British colonial design to bring the different ethnic nationalities under the
rather developed emirate system for the purposes of maintaining law and order, recruiting for forced labour and exacting taxes to run the colony with.
After power was transferred to nationals and Sir Ahmadu Bello, the late sardauna of Sokoto, became Premier of the Northern Region, non-Muslim communities were denied potable water, roads, post offices, schools, hospitals and access to civil service absorption. Under the premiership of the late Sir Ahmadu Bello, forcible conversions were effected.
From 1961, till he died in 1966, Sir Ahmadu Bello went on annual Islamisation drives all over the Northern Region. Traditional rulership of communities became a preserve of only Muslims. The resistance against Muslim traditional rulers led to the Tiv Riots 1960-64, and restiveness in old Gongola (today's Adamawa and Taraba states), Southern Kaduna (Kafanchan), Tafawa Balewa (Bauchi State) and Plateau State.
Promotion in the civil service depended on if a candidate had converted to Islam. The late Sardauna promised to “dip the Koran into the sea” meaning he will spread Islam from the far North across the country to the Atlantic Ocean before he was done.
This agenda of “dipping the Koran to the sea”has continued unabated till date by consistent terror attacks and killings in the middle belt followed by mass movement of new communities of Hausa Fulani into the middle belt all the way down to the south states near the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1960, the late Sir Ahmadu Bello said “The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great-grandfather, Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities of the North as willing tools and the South as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us, and never allow them to have control over their future.” (Parrot Newspaper, 12th Oct. 1960; republished on November 13, 2002, by the Tribune Newspaper, Ibadan.);
• The Conference of Northern Chiefs, in response to a letter from the UK-based West African Students' Union (WASU) to the Northern emirs asking them to support the constitutional evolution of Nigeria into an independent nation, had declared “holding this country together is not possible except by means of
the religion of the Prophet. If they want political unity let them follow our religion.” (Obafemi Awolowo, Path to Nigerian Freedom, London: Faber and Faber, 1947, p.51.);
• During military rule in the 1970s Christian missionary schools were forcibly taken over by government, and in many instances their names changed to Islamic ones;
• As late as 1997 under General Sani Abacha's rule, all Police Commissioners in Nigeria were Muslims;
• In 1990, all members of the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) were Muslims except General Ike Nwachukwu, an Igbo, whose mother was a Fulani Muslim;
• During military rule, General Ibrahim Babangida surreptitiously registered Nigeria as a member state of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) without tabling the issue before the AFRC. The then second in command, Rear Admiral Ebitu Ukiwe told the world that he heard about Nigeria's membership of OIC like everybody else in the media. He was promptly removed and retired from the Navy;
• Babangida hosted the first Islam in Africa conference in Abuja and donated Federal Government funds to its operations, including its vision of transforming Nigeria to an Islamic state and enthroning the Sultan of Sokoto as its “supreme ruler”. (The communiqué released after the conference is herewith attached
as appendix 1);
• Under the presidency of General Olusegun Obasanjo, 1999-2007, the Sharia code of Islamic law was re-introduced in the North in an expanded format. Islamic Police (Hisbah) was introduced and Christian girls were abducted, forcibly converted and married off to Muslims in Bauchi, Kaduna, Niger and Zamfara states. The Sharia Commissions of the states merely write parents informing
them that their daughters had converted and had been given out
• In a show of utter contempt, indigenous Hausa and Fulani Christians in Kaduna State are given “certificates of non- indigeneship”, meaning that they would not have access to rights and privileges accruable to indigenes of the state; Islamisation is carried out not only by Muslim rulers. Unsuspecting southern rulers are unwittingly used to drive some aspects of the Islamisation agenda:
• Under President Goodluck Jonathan, erstwhile Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi introduced Islamic Banking;
• President Jonathan has set up Almajiri schools for the exclusive benefit of Muslims in spite of robust protest by the Christian community, whose schools were taken over;
• In many Northern states like Kano, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe and Gombe state governments refuse to give building permits for the erection of churches. As a matter of fact, a disclaimer contained in building permits in Kano State specifies that the building permit is not to be used to erect bars,
brothels and churches thereby classifying churches among undesirable establishments like bars and brothels;
• In places where churches have been destroyed in the past three decades state governments in several states in the North refuse the owners permit to rebuild. In Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Bauchi, Yobe, Sokoto, Katsina and Gombe states Christian churches numbering over five thousand have been lost this way.
None of the owners were compensated;
• The Hausa/Fulani insist that they are the largest ethnic group yet when former
president, General Obasanjo wanted to include ethnicity and religion as issues to be disaggregated in the Census exercise of 2006, the Hausa/Fulani elite pressurized him to drop the idea because doing so would expose the lie.
• The Hausa International Media outfits e.g. BBC, VOA, Germany etc. usually employ Moslem Hausa Fulani and they tend to propagate the Islamic views of events in Nigeria in line with their religious perception of not identifying with any government not ruled by a Moslem.
The Boko Haram insurgency is only the latest in the history of Islamist insurgencies in the North and they have vowed to drive away, if unable to kill all Christian and non-Moslems from northern Nigeria:
• There was the Maitatsine Rebellion in Kano, in 1980, that sought to bring to pass an Islamic fundamentalist order;
• There was the Bulumkutu Rebellion in the North East that sought to do the same thing in Maiduguri, Borno State; Jimeta, Yola; and Bauchi, Bauchi State.;
• There was the Kala Kato Rebellion in Bauchi State in the 1980s;
• The eighties and nineties also witnessed riots perpetrated by Muslims in Kano, Zaria, Kafanchan, Maiduguri and Bauchi;
• Since the return to civilian democracy, Jos has witnessed four major religious riots perpetrated by Muslims including the murder of more than 500 indigenes of Dogo Nahawa in the dead of the night in 2010. Boko Haram claimed responsibility for that attack;
• Each time something irks the Muslim world anywhere in the world Nigerian Christians are made to pay for it. In 2003 a Danish newspaper published a cartoon that Muslims felt painted Prophet Mohammed in a bad light. Nigerian Christians were slaughtered in cold blood in Maiduguri, Kano and Bauchi and their property looted and vandalized.
After US planes attacked Tripoli, Libya in the 1990′s Nigerian Christians were attacked and killed in Northern Nigeria. After the bombing of the Twin Towers in New York on September 11 2001 Muslims celebrated in Northern Nigeria. After US forces started its war on Iraq Nigerian
Christians were attacked and killed.
After late President Umaru Musa Yar'adua fell ill in 2009, there were concerted efforts by the northern political elite to prevent the then Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, from being elevated to the position of Acting President.
The then Vice President was made to take an undertaking that he would not vie for election in 2011 before northern governors gave their members in the National Assembly the green light to elevate Jonathan. Before he was elevated to Acting President, Nigeria had no leader. As a matter of fact, the 2010 Appropriation Act allegedly signed by Yar'adua in Saudi Arabia was procured through forgery.
Yar'adua was not in a position to sign anything! Highly visible northerners in the ruling PDP (including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former NSA General Aliyu Gusau, former military President General Ibrahim Babangida and former
Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki) banded together to fight Jonathan under the “consensus arrangement”.
One of those leaders, Aliyu Gusau, is today Minister of Defence and this complicates the fight against Boko Haram because Gusau is a dye-in-the-wool Islamist.
The post 2011- election violence was orchestrated in places where Goodluck Jonathan did not win the required 25% (Kano, Bauchi, Maiduguri, Yobe). The spike in Boko Haram violence is a continuation of that episode. Boko Haram has not hidden its ambition to drive away if unable to kill all non-muslims from Northern Nigeria.
The inspiration for the current insurgency of Boko Haram and the murderous activities of the Fulani Militia onrampage in the Middle Belt is about the desperation of the Muslim North to have power at the center returned to it,
whether the Nigerian electorate say so or not.
In Gombe State where President Jonathan got over the 25% votes, post election violence was unleashed against the southern Gombe Christians who gave President Jonathan 70% of their votes compared to the few votes he got in Gombe North. This violence led to the house of the State PDP Chairman being burnt and he was never compensated until his untimely death.
Six northern governors namely: Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State; Alhaji Magatakarda Wamako of Sokoto State; Alhaji Muazu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State; Alhaji Sule Lamido of Jigawa State; Alhaji Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State and Alhaji Abdufattah Ahmed of Kwara State banded together with Rivers State Rotimi Amaechi to demand that the sitting President, Goodluck Jonathan, should undertake not to partake in the forthcoming 2015 Presidential Election.
The refusal of the President to give such an undertaking led to an orchestrated crisis in the PDP, and led to the willful abandonment of the party by five of the aforementioned governors. Members of the National Assembly, states houses of assembly and other party faithfuls in those states also exited PDP. Such is the desperation with which northern muslims want power at the center in Nigeria.
The military campaign against Boko Haram in the North East has not been the spectacular success that would normally be expected of the Nigerian Armed Forces because:
• The Armed Forces and other security agencies are divided along religious lines. There are instances where Muslim soldiers have fired their rifles in the air rather than take aim because they do not want to harm fellow Muslims;
• Muslims in the rank and file of the Armed Forces and other security agencies serve as active moles for Boko Haram in their different organizations. Recently, soldiers of the division in Maiduguri mutinied against their General Officer Commanding, a Muslim, because they perceived that he ordered fallen colleagues
into a Boko Haram ambush;
• Corruption is a pernicious problem in Nigeria, and the Armed Forces and other security agencies are not immune to it. There are allegations that funds meant for purchase of hardware, operations and troop welfare are diverted to the private coffers of the brass.
There is an active agenda of Jihad and much of the rest of the country, especially the South, are sleep-walking into what could be a fait accompli. This agenda is being actively pursued with the imprimatur of the authorities in several
The Federal Government seems incapable of appreciating the true dimensions of the problem and is often a facilitator of the Jihad agenda.
All Nigerians must be prepared to play by the rules. The country is practicing democracy and in any democracy, power issues from the ballot. The international community should not allow itself to be hoodwinked into supporting the attempt by Islamists to conquer Nigeria, because that is what Boko Haram and the Fulani
Militia are attempting.
The West, including the United States of America, United Kingdom, France etc. should be wary of information they get about Nigeria if they do not want to be guilty of helping the Islamist agenda. The comments coming out of the West alleging
that President Jonathan's government was anti-North reflects flawed intelligence about Nigeria and misinformation.
The Nigerian public must begin to ask questions concerning how humongous amounts given to the Armed Forces and other security agencies in the past three years were expended. The National Assembly of Nigeria ought to be very interested in how funds it appropriated were spent.
The Nigerian public should go beyond the façade erected by contemporary politicians to tease out what they are not saying publicly. That is the way out of sleepwalking into the Islamist agenda that we are faced with.
MIDDLE BELT TOTAL TRIBES
ISLAMIC CONFERENCE: COMMUNIQUE (JOINTLY ISSUED BY THE ISLAMIC COUNCIL, LONDON; THE ORGANISATION OF ISLAMIC CONFERENCE, OIC; AND THE NEWLY FOUNDED ISLAM IN AFRICA ORGANISATION, IAO)
FURTHER DETERMINED to evolve a permanent Islamic body which has firm roots in and is securely anchored to the long-standing ideals, and values of Islam, designed to articulate the hopes and aspirations of Muslims in Africa and coordinate Islamic work variously undertaken by Muslim communities and organizations and to initiate projects which would assist in improving the lives
of Muslims on the continent and the Muslim world as a whole; We, the delegates assembled here in ABUJA, this 1st day of Jumada al Awwal, 1410 (28/11/89), DO HEREBY RESOLVE:
To call on Muslims throughout Africa to unite as an important part of the Ummah which is blessed with the guidanceand mercy brought by the messenger of Allah, Muhammad (PBUN);
To urge Muslims, who have been separated by imposed barriers of artificial boundaries drawn up by imperialists to serve colonial and anti-Islamic interests, to cooperate with their brethren throughout the Muslim world with a view to reinstating a strong and united Ummah which is determined to fulfill the commands of
Allah, the Almighty;
To call upon the Ulama to close ranks and thereby facilitate among the Ummah and to urge them to unite and to strive to remove all barriers between them and the general Muslim populace especially the youth;
To call on Muslims to review the syllabi in the various educational institutions with a view to bringing them into conformity with Islamic ideals, goals and principles and to serve the needs of their community;
To urge Muslims to pay special attention to the education of women at all levels; To encourage the teaching of Arabic language which is the language of the Quran as well as the lingua franca of the continent and to strive for the restoration of the use of Arabic script in vernacular;
The conference salutes and highly commends the efforts which the Muslim youth are making in the service of Islam and pledges its full support for them in this worthwhile endeavour;
To urge Muslims to establish strong economic ties between
African Islamic countries and other parts of the Muslim world in order to facilitate mutual assistance and cooperation in commerce, industry, and finance with a view to evolving a sound economic system based on Islamic principles;
The Conference notes the yearnings of Muslims everywhere on the continent who have been deprived of their rights to be governed by the Shari'a and urges them to intensify efforts in the struggle to reinstate the application of the Shari'a;
The Conference notes that modalities for the establishment of the African Muslim Media Practitioners Association in Nigeria has been set in motion. It appreciates this noble move and urges Muslims in the media organizations to offer it all the support it needs to succeed;
To form a permanent body to be known as Islam in Africa Organisation under the trusteeship of representatives to be selected from among participating countries; to perform, among other functions, the stated activities and seek to attain the
goals and objectives as provided for in the annexe to this communique;
The Conference unanimously expresses its gratitude and appreciation to the government and people of Nigeria for the interest shown in the Conference and in particular, extends its thanks to the President, Commander-in- Chief of the Armed
Forces of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida for the stimulating inaugural address which he sent to the Conference and was delivered by General Sani Abacha, the Chief of Army Staff of Nigeria;
To the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and the Islamic Council, London and the Organisation of Islamic Conference, OIC for supporting and organizing the Conference;
To the planning committee and other officers of the Conference for all the efforts expended to ensure the success of the Conference;
To scholars and other distinguished personalities who have presented papers and chaired sessions during the Conference and to all those who have either erected stands at or otherwise helped in making the exhibition a huge success;
INSPIRED by the Unity of Allah, the Creator and Lord of the Universe; MOTIVATED by the Quranic declaration; `Verily, this year (Islamic) Ummah is one….' and DETERMINED to comply with Allah's directive contained in the Quranic ayah `And hold fast to the rope of Allah, and do not break up into factions,' the PARTICIPANTS at the Islam in Africa Conference on this First day of Jumada al Awwal, 1420 A.H., (28/11/89) RESOLVE to found the Islam in Africa Organisation (IAO) with the following as its objectives, viz:
Undertake vigorous human resource development programmes; To serve as a mouthpiece for the articulation of issues of common concern to Muslims in Africa and the Muslim world generally;
Commission experts to write the history of Islam in Africa and of Muslims and the institutions from authentic Islamic viewpoint and to retrieve literary works and artifacts designed to train workers who will be trained to acquire trades and skills which equip them to be self-employed and productive;
To ensure the continuity of the noble work initiated at this Conference;
To cooperate with other national or international Islamic organizations for the attainment of its stated objectives;
To promote unity, spiritually and materially, among Muslims all over the world, particularly in Africa;
To promote peace, harmony and general human development and strive to remove all forms of discrimination;
To support, enhance and coordinate Da'wah work all over Africa and propagate the knowledge of Islam throughout the continent;
To encourage research efforts on Islamic matters and publicise the research findings;
To undertake and encourage the translation into various African languages of Islamic works, their publication and distribution;
To support the establishment and application of the Shari'a to all Muslims;
To encourage vigorous participation of Muslim youths in all spheres of its activities and to ensure that women are accorded their due rights and roles in society in accordance with the Shari'a;
To ensure the appointment of only Muslims into strategic national and international posts of member nations;
To eradicate in all its forms and ramifications all non-Muslim religions in member nations (such religions shall include Christianity, Ahmadiyya and other tribal modes of worship unacceptable to Muslims);
To ensure that only Muslims are elected to all political posts of member countries;
To ensure the declaration of Nigeria (the 24th African and World member of the OIC) a Federal Islamic Sullanalo at a convention on any day from 28th March 1990, with the Sultan of Sokoto enthroned the Sultan and Supreme Sovereign of Nigeria;
To ensure the ultimate replacement of all western forms of legal and judicial systems with the Shari'a in all member nations before the next Islam in Africa Conference;
To organize an Islam in Africa Conference regularly as well seminars, symposia, conferences, workshops and colloquia;
Towards the attainment of these ends, therefore, a Steering Committee, with membership drawn from the following countries as well as the Islamic Council, London and the Organisation of Islamic Conference, OIC, has been set up, viz:
3. The Gambia
The Permanent Headquarters of the Islam in Africa Organisation, IAO, shall be in Abuja, Nigeria. The Steering Committee has been assigned the special task of the details establishing the IAO in Nigeria, including structures and constitution within six (6) months.
The Conference decided that the Steering Committee should also work out detailed plans for transforming a national political party in each member nation into a National Islamic Party, and that the National Republican Convention, NRC, of
Nigeria should be made to serve this purpose in Nigeria as the only recognized National Islamic Party of Nigeria.
These parties so approved shall be the only ones to produce leading government
(executive and legislative) functionaries. The NRC of Nigeria and other parties shall have their names changed to reflect Islamic nature of their purpose.
The Conference further agreed and decided that the IAO should for the time being, operate from the facilities of the Islamic Council, London, and not from that of the OIC (that has become too controversial in Nigeria.)
Translation of Shekau's Message
”My fellow Muslim brothers, we are the ones that wage war in the state called plateau (jos). We are the ones that accomplished those things and if you dont know us we are the jama'atu Ahalisunna Liddahati Waljihad popularly known as Boko Haram.
The only simple reason we did what we did is because Allah has told us to fight whosoever has refuse to embrace Islam our religion after we have ask them to and also how they (Christians and government) have been killing us with no reason at all in various states were our people leave in Nigeria. What we have seen with our eyes is much more than what the media is telling the world.
We have witnessed it in Lagos, Ibadan, Kaduna especially Zangon Kataf, Bauchi and plateau state. Our women and children were taken from us and we don't
know there were about till date. There is a town called Sabon Gari in Kano is also an eye witness and there are so many places that such atrocities were committed that we don't even know about but is only Allah that knows what happened.
It is because of all these that Allah has given us the authority to wage war against the Christians and whoever stands against the will of Allah. The killing of our people is a reason for us to fight but also our freedom to worship and is only Allah that knows.
Finally this is the message; I want all Muslims in Nigeria and the World at large to know that this is a religious war between Muslims and Christians. Every Muslim should take not that this is not an ethnic war, civil war or any kind of war but a religious one.
We have not started this war to finish in a week, month or year. The end of this war will be either they kill us all or we emerge victorious and for sure this war will not end because we are ready and Allah is with us in this religious war and no
government can stop us.
This stands as a warning any Muslim that helps any Christian in this war should know that he is a dead person. Salamaleikum”.
(THIS WRITE-UP WAS AUTHORED BY PASTOR JONAH ISA ON BEHALF OF THE MIDDLE BELT DIALOGUE, JUNE 10TH 2014).