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Jos, Jos, Jos And Nigeria

By Prince Charles Dickson, Barkin Ladin, Plateau

I am forced to write and make my personal opinion about Jos, Plateau state of Nigeria known, over the last few years the apathy in Plateau state and by extension Nigeria has continued to grow but so many persons that can facilitate change and help in curbing the carnage kept quiet because I believe they did not care and they did not care because they were either benefiting from it or the crisis was not affecting them.

Unfortunately some day, our individual silence will hunt and haunt us down, if we continue to keep quiet.

I lost my mother, my wonderful and sweet mother just Friday 5th March 2010, and two nights after, it was murder in several villages near Bukuru in Plateau, and weeks back it was in Kuru Karama and then 17th January 2010 was Jos, before it was November 2008 and there was Yelwa Shamdam in 2004 and before that, was also that of September 2001.

Before I go far...let me state my belief. My testimony is anchored on value for life irrespective of creed, faith, ethnic cleavages, political leanings or ideologies. I believe that nobody has the right of life over the other person. I believe in mutual respect for humanity by all.

Sadly those that have been part of the Jos crises and other such around the North which is my constituency and other parts of Nigeria do not believe in it.

I have an opinion that with recent happenings in and around Jos and Nigeria, we are gravitating towards a general trend and most of us are pretending that all is well.

Leadership at all levels...from community to the federal government level has failed in its responsibilities. Its responsibility to protect lives and property, its responsibility to provide good governance at all levels. It has failed in nearly all facets of our national lives.

In Plateau, despite all the blame game, the Christian and Muslim stand. A fact that for me remains irrefutable is that the State Government has failed in solving the issues because it is part of the problem, not Just Jang but administrations before it. The military saddled with the responsibility of providing security has equally failed and both parties could have done better but unfortunately these institutions have become embroiled in the saga.

Be it in Kuru Karama or Dogo Nahauwa. We have failed ourselves. When killings go unattended to it, we breed a circle of revenge, vengeance, retaliation, reprisal, 'do me I do you' and all these are premeditated on jungle justice.

In Jos today and by extension the whole country we have again reached that praecipes of asking what the basis of our mutual co-existence is. Before our forced marriage by Luggard and his bosses, it did not stop the Oyos and Egbas being at war or the Jihad that ran through parts of the North and all the communal war in the east.

When we break Nigeria, are we breaking along religious or ethnic or geographical lines? We have the Christian Middle belt, the Geographical one and the political one. Will the South-South be part of Biafra, Who will dominate in Odua Republic...will the Osun man have say in that republic where Lagos and Ogun will likely hold sway?

For a person like me, my wife would be a foreigner, my kids' half-caste, my in-laws Muslims.

I am privileged to even have an opinion because I am alive. Many have died in these needless crises from Maitasini, Zagon Kataf, Bauchi, Kano, Kaduna, Maidugiri, Boko Haram, Kala kato riots...the Miss World riots and the Danish cartoon saga. In all these both major faiths kill for a 'god' we claim is loving and peaceful; we fight for a deity that we believe is powerful.

In a recent blunder by an Abuja based newspaper my name was added to an advertorial which did not express my opinion, but my phone had no rest, many expressed their joy...You did the right thing, that was timely, others threatened me. Some swore at me. Unfortunately I did not author the said item, and have an entirely different opinion from that which was expressed.

In 2010, the age of information technology, and the age of computers, just like my kinsmen want a befitting burial for a woman they cared less about, in Plateau you have Christian areas and Muslim zones. Journalists are attacked because of their faith, if you hair like mine has a touch of a curl or you are fair...the Almighty save you because you may be mistaken as Fulani.

Really, I may have to ask, is there anything such as Hausa-Fulani, who started these killings originally. Everyone agrees that these crises are all political, religious and ethnic. It's a shame when those who are supposed to know deny all these and play ostrich, then the end result are best imagined than experienced.

Beroms are fighting Fulanis, Ibos are causalities, Muslims are killing Christians and Yoruba Muslims are slaughtered. From my small investigation, many would agree that a vast majority of Fulanis are neither Christians nor Muslims and it does not remove the fact that there are Christian Fulanis and Muslim fulanis. And in all these I ask what the fate of the pagan is?

I am proud of my faith, but I will NEVER kill for it under whatever guise or reason. My own God is strong and wise enough to do Justice His own way.

Besides, I have always anchored my faith and belief on two charges, birth and destiny. I could have been born in Delhi as Chalia Khan and be Buddhist. I may as well have been an atheist or even from Bosnia.

In these entire madness how do we reconcile the killings of 1-10 year olds that do not even understand neither Islam nor Christianity or really know the mechanics of tribe and ethnicity.

Ask anyone today and he/she is sure to have an answer regarding how the backward North is the problem and truth is that the forward South is naively not any better. There is poverty in every corner, and it provides human resources for those that plan these carnages on both sides.

And while the slaughter goes on, our leaders carry on...milking the nation and after all we really can do nothing. Heartless people that we are, in NEMA the emergency body, people are supplying relief materials at 20 times the official prices.

I have been asked can one stand in the middle in all these, no, but certainly one must take a stand that unequivocally preaches peace.

No one that has a heart that will play politics with the death of anyone. In so-called civilised nations people have gone to jail over animal rights but we are a different breed. We even give titles to known murderers. We have continued to lie to ourselves.

We hate ourselves, rather than respect each other in a negative stance we tolerate each other like the proverbial soldier ant on the scrotum.

Mutual suspicion reigns supreme, are we really a nation or a collection of people. What has the North in real terms benefited from Nigeria, what has Lagos, Umuahia or Warri benefitted? When the thieves that rule us steal our money there is no religion or ethnicity.

Today our military is divided. I challenge anyone to prove otherwise. PDP says power must stay in the North, with whose permission. So if Jonathan does perform some miracles, he does not deserve a shot because it's not his turn.

In Jos, I am a settler, a non-indigene and I honestly cannot lay claim to my home state one that I have not been to in decades and certainly one that I have not lived in, for a stretch for one week.

What kind of people are we. I am not perfect, may even been naive but I know when something is not right. For us as a nation these are strange times, a new Nigeria may emerge or we may be consumed by recent happenings.

The US said not long ago that 2015 was the terminal date for the project called Nigeria. Many of us said God forbid, but every of our action is contradictory and only further pushes us to the brink. May the Almighty save us from ourselves

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Prince Charles Dickson, Barkin Ladin, Plateau and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."