ON JOS, THE ARMY IS SHAMELESS
On Jos, the Army is shameless
By Ikenna Emewu
Saturday , March 13 , 2010
Once again, the forces that nourish in the blood of the innocent have bared their fangs. Ironically, they return to their most fertile grounds in Jos. It is chilling as it is shocking that a band of murderers would raid a sleepy town, unleash carnage to the extent of slaughtering up to 500 innocent persons in one fell swoop and nobody stopped them.
The tale sounds light and distant, until you watch it on local and international TV stations.
Are we in war? Are these things done by human beings with sensitivities like you about life and its values? It is shocking seeing a horde of lifeless human bodies being packed into a ditch and covered with earth by earthmoving machines. It would even shock a normal human being to see a collection of 500 fowls slaughtered and heaped at a place. So, just imagine how it would feel when they are human beings. Would it be possible for the victims - those whose family members were killed to forgive and let peace reign once again? Then would it be better to fight reprisal wars endlessly? They are two bad options, a dilemma of staggering proportions.
As these absurdities unfold, I keep nursing the fear that the right thing will never be done by those who are supposed to do that to make sure a repeat is not heard just as they failed or refused nip the past carnages in the bud.
I can't believe the denial of the Nigerian Army of the Plateau governor's revelation of complicity and dereliction of duty in curbing this act after timely information was passed on to the Jos army chief before it erupted. If Nigeria were operating like a normal society going the right direction, that GOC in Jos would have resigned his position before the army makes any explanation.
The indictment by governor Jonah Jang of the alleged complicity is enough to send him out of office for failing in his duty until he clears himself. It is the same dereliction of duty that made heads roll in the CIA office in Abuja when Farouk's father opened up that he informed the US Embassy of the ways of his son prior to the airplane bomb scare. When sometime last year a bomber had his way into a hotel in India, the Interior minister resigned because the citizens said his office should have known of the attack before it happened. In Nigeria, after Jang's indictment of the army commander in Jos, what we get is further annoying speeches from one that calls himself the spokesman of the Nigeria Army, Brig. Chris Olukolade.
Olukolade and his army together with the Jos commander serve themselves. That is why he could cloak his incompetence in irritant verbosity. The only meaningful but out of point thing he said is that Jang is naÃ¯ve in his comments. Naivety as much as we know does not mean untruthfulness. The import of the entire gamut of defence is that the Army has not and did not deny that Jang called the army commander as he alleged. We waited for Olukolade to say that much and he did not. Jang is intelligent enough to say clearly that he called the Army chief in Jos.
Now Olukolade and his army have gone into the jungle of technicalities meant to confuse and deceive and at last make no sense, let him also resign for his contributory negligence of telling lies to cover the failure of the army chief in Jos. If the procedure was to contact and take initiatives from the Defence Headquarters, the army chief in Jos has not disputed that Jang called him, neither has the army head office in Abuja done that. Jang did not say the army chief asked him to contact the head office in Abuja when he called. He said the big man who serves himself promised to take action and send troops to stop the planned attack. Subsequently, he called but could not reach the army chief for the hours the killing lasted. Did he intentionally make himself unreachable for a reason? We need to know. Not only did the army not act before the attack but also did not act until the attack was over. The commander needs to tell Nigerians the role he played after Jang's accusation. Is Olukolade now the Jos army chief? Jang did not fire his accusation at the army blankly. He was specific on calling someone and the reply he got. So why is the army head office deceiving itself in order to deceive Nigeria that Jang is naÃ¯ve. Yes he could be naÃ¯ve or even worse than that, but the army has not told us Jang lost his brain and does not know what he said or that he lied. So, since he did not lie, what has the army done to their big man in Jos who failed in his duty?
Something is really wrong here and the Acting President has a duty to unravel this and fire a lot of the army chiefs because if the army chief whom Jang contacted had pleaded inability to do something, maybe, he would have thought of another remedy. Even without the call and alert by Jang, would the army who also operates a joint military patrol in Jos explain where it was for the hours the killing lasted? What happened to military intelligence in Jos, why did nobody in the security circles get the intelligence of this attack only for all of us to start shedding crocodile tears after the genocide? It is the shame of a nation like Nigeria that denies being a terrorist state. Anytime you tune to the international media, only Nigeria, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan are seen killing themselves. If Nigeria is not a terrorist nation, what then is it? It is a terrorist nation, so entrenched and notorious in internal terrorism against itself.
My fear for the meaninglessness of the fight against the attackers was confirmed when I read on Thursday that the arrested persons have revealed they were sponsored. It is a bitter truth we had always suspected because we know the herdsmen don't have the financial muscle to amass the sophistry of weaponry used in the attack. Some big fish somewhere are behind it. And it might be possible the same people that fly into Jos in their big robes as elder statesmen and peacemakers are the ones. Now the attackers have said they were sponsored, it means when pushed further, they could name names. I bet you that the sponsors are already putting their enormous influence at work to make these men silent forever. The matter might have died.
After looking at the faces displayed on TV and in newspapers of the suspects, I laughed at what were shown as the Fulani herdsmen. Look closely at the faces you will see Yoruba, Igbo, Efik, Ibibio, Edo, Urhobo, Ijaw and others including the Berom collectively lumped together and tagged attackers and all are Fulani herdsmen. Believe it that the wrong persons who did nothing must have been gathered from the streets of Jos and marked suspects. At last the real suspects would be escorted into safety. We heard such allegation in the January attack when Jos residents accused the army of aiding the killing of some group through the mobilization of soldiers from a particular side of the nation. It is the same army again this time.
Why were the suspects in the January crises transferred to Abuja for trial and where are they today? Where are those who executed the Boko Haram rampage in Bauchi and Maiduguri? Where is that boy in Gombe that stabbed his teacher dead some years ago? Where are those that had been killing the southerners in the north, especially the Igbo and Christians. Why has nothing ever been done to punish these killers at any point?
It is a tearful bad tradition we established from the beginning of Nigeria. In the 1960s when the Igbo and other easterners were killed in hundreds of thousands like flies, nobody outside the victims saw it as evil. The killers got buoyed to do more and do more they did. It graduated to a tradition in Nigeria to an extent that today everybody has got a taste of it. It has started going round from the victim to the victimizer. None is spared. The reason we live this way is that we have intentionally refused to punish killers of fellow human beings.
This tradition of killing that is never punished is what will eventually hasten the end of Nigeria and its fragmentation. So, those that love the entity called Nigeria should first love the human beings in her and preserve them to preserve the nation because there is no nation except the human beings in it.