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Jos Crisis: The Game Of Interests

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The world is confused. The wise are stupefied. The word of the Lord is now so scarce in the mouths of His prophets. What could be responsible? Every attempt to transform Jos Crisis always gives birthto more complications. Military deployed, panels are set up, and memoranda regularly submitted, the Senate cried out; the President roared, the international community seemingly intervened, yet the handful terrorists over Jos City in Nigeria have defied all measures.

The ruins, fire and bloodshed continue on the Plateau with impunity. Are the terrorists that formidable? The answer is NO! Rather, Nigeriangovernment is not yet interested in solving the Jos problem, so the

impunity thrived.
Let's reason together: the same Nigerian Government came down heavily on Odi village; Nigerian Government crippled the OPC; Nigerian Government executed Ken Sarowiwa and other nine activists; NigerianGorverment killed Boko Haram Leader, Mallam Yusuf ; Nigerian Goverment silenced

 Maitasine sect, Nigerian Government silenced
the Sierra Leonean Rebel and General Sani Abacha became an hero

thereby; Nigerian Government was daring enough to repatriate Umaru

Diko from the all-powerful-kingdom of Great Britain. But in Jos,

innocent citizens can be killed and their properties destroyed for

good three hours without any culprit being tried. Rather, the GOC will

only wait for the victims to start defending themselves before he

gives orders to arrest. The game is very clear: 'the victims must be

arrested alongside their aggressors and assailants as soon as the

victims summon courage to defend themselves'
Was it the Niger Delta boys that kidnapped Umaru Diko? Which

intelligence assassinated Dele Giwa… was it Boko Haram? Which

intelligence assassinated Kudirat Abiola… was it the Bakassi Boys? Who

put hand-cuffs on Tafa Balogun, the former Inspector General of

Police… was it the OPC? Who silenced Lawrence Anini terror group… was

it the Oshodi Area boys? Who was the powerful witch-hunter that

clamped down on Okija Shrine allies… was it Pastor Kumuyi? Who wiped

out the Maitasine terror group in the 80's… was it the FBI? Who

dethroned an all-powerful Northern Emir, Ibrahim Dasuki and turned him

into a fugitive overnight… was it the CIA? By the way, which monster

swallowed up the formidable and ideological Biafra and its Army… was

it the Coalition force of America and Britain?
The above riddle is very simple to comprehend: Any day Nigerian

Government is interested in protecting the wasting lives and

properties in Jos City, the carnage will definitely stop! The present military fiction in Nigeria today is that the handful

Fulani herdsmen are more formidable than Nigerian Army- Imagine! The

herdsmen were able kill, maim and destroy properties in a three-hour

operation in Jos and there was no military intervention whatsoever.

Two days ago, a handful of Boko Haram Islamic sect were said to have

over powered the Joint Security Task Force in Bauchi State at about

6:30pm: Fantastic! Isn't it? The sect were said to have broken into

the prison with sophisticated weapons and they freed about four

hundred inmates. Wow!
As it looks, for now, the Nigerian Government seems not to be

desperately interested in protecting lives and properties; they have

got more serious priorities. Fellow Nigerians, you are all aware that

the NCC recently submitted a budget of N6.1bn towards the SIM card

registration exercise and the House of Representatives had rejected

the frivolous Naira Game. For how long shall we continue this

political fiction? Did Nigerian government track SIM cards to find the

killers of the Attorney General of the Federation, Uncle Bola Ige? Did

they track SIM cards to capture Lawrence Anini? Was there any SIM

tracking before they could trace Major-Gen Mamman Vatsa to the coup

plot of 1985? Of course, since the mysterious killings started in Jos,

it has been said many times by members of the society, that until

family members and properties of the few powerful cabals are affected,

the terrorism on the Plateau will never be on government's top

priority. And if we also look back a little into the archive, with

reference to the leadership challenges in the 80's, the testimonies of

one of the then serving soldiers Lt. Col Iyorshe, was mind-boggling

even after thirty years:
"What I personally feel is that the nation itself needed a better

deal. There have always been people whose only ambition is to lead,

not serving any national interest. There have always been individual,

tribal or business rights, never the rights of this nation to a better

image; social, economic, political and military programs and plans.

Nigeria deserves a group of people or leaders transparently honest

Few years ago, Plateau State Governor Joshua Dariye was the scapegoat

who suffered national ridicule for the Jos crisis. He was removed and

a state-of-emergency was cynically motivated against him and the

innocent people of the Plateau. Now, is Dariye still the same cause of

the unending blood shed and born fire even after nine years? It is

high time we began to look inward, to stop the political rascals and

messengers of Satan, from trivialising our precious lives and souls

for transient material gains and life's vanities.
Right now, there is certainly a looming danger over the Plateau State,

Nigeria, and even the African continent if the Federal Government of

Nigeria fails to summarily handle the impunity in Jos and the Northern

Nigeria. Few days ago, on the AIT News broadcast, the Plateau State

Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria-CAN, Rev Dafes warned

that if there was any further repeat of the July 17th massacre again

and the government does not rise up to defend the victims of

religious terrorism, the Christians may have to rise up to begin to

defend themselves. That might be the beginning of another civil war.

The impunity can trigger wars between Muslims and non-Muslims

throughout Africa. What if Nigerian Christians now begin to re-visit

the undemocratic enlistment of Nigeria in the Organisation of Islamic

Conference (OIC), which Gen. Ibrahim Babangida implemented while he

was Head of State? The long civil war in Sudan is an example of the

kind of bloody conflict that can be caused by such unattended impunity

by Islamic extremists. In the case of Nigeria, it is an heterogeneous

nation that is deeply rooted in our cultural values in which

communality is a major index, in spite of the western civilization.

Muhamar Ghadafi, the Libyan Head of State may not understand this

cherished value but must be made to know that Nigerians love to live

together regardless of their religious affiliations. Something else is

the problem, the interest and priorities of the leaders!

In fact, the implication of unattended escalating terrorism might not

be limited to the Christian physical response to the injustice; the

following are other possible consequences of government's failure to

summarily handle the growing impunity in Jos:
  1.Possibility of another Civil War in Nigeria
2.Possible escalation of Islamic extremism and terrorism in Nigeria

and its spread to other African States
3.Possibility of Islamic extremists in Nigeria linking up with

Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups and working closely with them.

(Currently, Islamic extremists operate with impunity in Nigeria and

the massacres of non-Muslims in Jos are examples of this. Logically,

Al-Qaeda would be very attracted to areas of the world like Nigeria,

where Islamic extremists are able to operate with impunity.)

4.Possibility of Christians, as said earlier, rising up militantly to defend

themselves, (although this is yet a warning at the moment). It is

definitely unrealistic to expect that all of Nigeria's Christians and

non-Muslims will indefinitely refrain from taking up arms to defend

themselves from the relentless violence by Islamic extremists,

especially when they repeatedly see that the Nigerian security forces

are doing little or nothing to protect them. If this happens, it could

trigger a major civil war between Muslims and non-Muslims in Nigeria.

5.The British Government and even the United Nations also may suffer

the additional burden of having to send their already over-extended

military on peace-keeping operations to Nigeria.
The question now is, to whose benefit would all these be?

When we read the history of the ancient violence and inhumanity, they

sounded like fairy tales, but now it's all confirmed before our naked

eyes. We must restate that the unattended human excesses led to the

predicaments of 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians, 6 million

Jews and 1,900 Catholic priests, who were murdered, massacred, raped,

burned, starved and humiliated just some few historical years behind

us.  We must appreciate that the era of Trans Atlantic and Trans

Sahara Slave Trades are gone and this is Nigeria of the twenty-first

century. For goodness' sake, we don't have to replicate the political

errors of other nations in nation building process: we are Nigerians

and we have great values- we are communal and humane in nature. The

Blood-letting is not part of our culture. We are brothers! According

to history, the earliest known Fulani jihad was in the second half of

the 17th century in Bondu, close to the Islamized Senegal valley,

where Fulani clerics succeeded in taking over political power from

local Mande rulers. From the beginning of the 18th century, a great

number of the Fulani Jihadists had begun to do the same in alliance

with the local Muslim Mande traders around Fouta Djallon. By about

1750, an apparent Islamic  rule had been institutionalized  and their

leaders were already organizing trade to the Upper Guinea coast with

the European traders. In the Nigeria's experience, the Fulani Jihad of

1804-1810 also called the Usman dan Fodio Jihad, was a military

conquest in Nigeria and Cameroon. Now, shall we interpret this

nine-year intractable blood-letting on the Plateau to be 'aluta

continua' to the unfinished long-term agenda of African invasion of

the 18th century?
Lord Lugard saw and said a little, but nothing tangibly decisive was

done to back up his observation: On the 25th September 1918, Lord

Lugard wrote to his colleague Walter H. Lang: "The Hausa-Fulani has no

ideals, no ambitions save such as sensual in character. He is a

fatalist, spendthrift and a gambler. He is gravely immoral and is

seriously diseased that he is a menace to any community to which he

seeks to attach himself".
We must drum it into the ears of extremists and external intruders

that inhumanity to fellow human beings is not our culture, hence

sincere and genuine reconciliation, reparation, rehabilitation,

consolations and compensations must take the stage of the inhumanity

and the barbaric acts meted to Jos dwellers in the past nine years.

Nigerian Government must take responsibility on a very strong term, to

re-examine and reconcile all claims: primordial ancestry, both the

anthropological, archaeological and the fallacious/ fictional view

points that have constituted the propagandas that have further divided

the people groups. Professionals and traditional custodians of the

people's cultures should re-examine the resurging vocabularies such as

'Indigenes,' 'Settlers,' 'Hausawas' and in fact, the recent 'Jasawa'

vocabulary too. Who they are, where they came from, their ancestors,

their rights and their limits etc. It doesn't matter if Ishmael and

Jacob choose not to greet each other in the street, at least we know

their father: Abraham! Who is the father of the 'Jasawas' ? And where

is he from? Objective research to all these divisive propagandas, will

expose human ignorance, excesses and mischief, thereby helping to

forestall the long-anticipated peace that has eluded the once 'home of

peace and tourism' Interpretations must be based on fairness and with

respect to the Nigerian cultures, values and history.

To me, perhaps the best way to predict the future is by creating it.

Now is the time to take responsibility, to create the tomorrow which

our children will live in.
Dr. Lani Stephens is a Creative & Performing Arts consultant, based in

Jos, Nigeria