Jos Crisis: The Game Of Interests
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
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