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Nigeria: A Coming Civil War?



Nigeria: A Coming Civil War?

By Joseph Rotimi…A couple of decades ago I was sitting somewhere minding my business when a middle-aged man who had been poring over a newspaper article suddenly exclaimed in incredulous tones, “…What nonsense! We are just joking in this country; this country needs another civil war, after which everything would cool down.” That day, I put the man’s drama down to overexcitement, but events since then have shown indeed that “we are just joking in this country.”


The last civil war was not won or lost but suspended. Those who think they won have been absolutely contemptible of those they “vanquished” and because the “victors” have never really been affected by the horrors of a real war they have no value for life or love for country. They do not have any patriotic fibre in their being; they rule as if other groups in the country are their subjects – of course with the active connivance of the assumed subject’s elites. In fact, if anything, the last civil war simply solidified the hold of the Hausa/Fulani/Muslim oligarchy over Nigeria – nothing more. People say we have come too far to contemplate a rethink of the country’s unity or restructuring. But if the only manufacturing prowess a Nigerian technology minister can boast of, after more than five decades of existence, is the potential to manufacture pencils, something is wrong – very wrong!


A rather unfortunate phenomenon has been happening over the years with so-called Fulani herdsmen causing mayhem in some nooks and crannies (southern and middle belt crannies) of this nation while those in power have decided that only cattle lives matter. The government has been more resolute in going after cattle rustlers than protecting the lives and livelihoods of Nigerians. It is not just the impunity with which these murderers operate that galls the heart but also the official flippancy that accompanies it (Adesina, looking at you!).


Just after the Agatu massacre some weeks ago, no less than the Inspector General of Police absolved Fulani herdsmen of blame but volunteered that the perpetrators might be mercenaries from outside the country. When has the country become a haven for nameless invaders when we have security agencies and a standing army that enjoy terrorizing “bloody civilians”? With the militaristic approach to security all over the country one would think that such calamities will be confronted as soon as it happens or prevented altogether. It is evident that the security agencies are to all intents and purposes complicit in the official lynching of Nigerians in their homes simply because they are deemed expendable in a nation bound in so-called freedom, peace and unity.


The northern political establishment bestrides the nation with total disregard for opinions they do not wish to countenance, even when it borders on national security or human rights. Sharia jurisprudence, complete with courts and enforcers have been established in most Muslim northern parts of the country; with complicit, unofficial Nigerian governmental abandonment of the country’s secularism. With official encouragement in these northern states; young non-Muslim girls are kidnapped, detained and forcefully converted to Islam, then married off in a society that is irrationally paedophilic and painfully anachronistic. Businesses belonging to non-Muslims are wantonly destroyed and whole-scale ethnic cleansing carried out in order to “purify” a religion that brings no peace or clear land for cattle grazing. Essentially, non-Muslims in the north, nay Nigeria, are living under Sharia.


Part of the problem is the acquiescence of the elites of southern (east or west are the same) origin who are easily bought by inducements and illusions of political inclusivity. These elites are better at attacking or competing against each other than identifying and confronting the real problem besetting the nation. Whenever atrocities are committed against their kind, in the north, these “patriotic” southern leaders are eager to advise “their people” to be conciliatory at the cost of justice. They bring all sorts of religious and inane platitudes to bear on the aggrieved until the next cycle of violence.


The fact that almost every major politico-religious upheaval in the country originates and is perpetrated by the north against non-northerners without any fear of being brought to justice is a testament to the fact that they run things in Nigeria. And they are running it badly. This is not a northern Muslim hating article. I do not care if Balewa or Shagari were still ruling Nigeria today, provided we are at par or have surpassed the developmental prowess of Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia combined. Instead of taking our place in the sun we are bogged down with preternatural mediocrity and depressing poverty.


It might be argued that the northern politico-religious establishment have not been the only rulers in the country since “independence.” This might be true to an extent, but I posit that even when they are not in government, they have always been in power. No matter whose face you see as president of the country, they have always been backed by northern power. Ironsi was an aberration that was soon corrected, Obasanjo; though adopted as a harmless tool was kicked into prison when he stepped out of line. When they needed to placate (the north is adept at this) a section of the country the tool was brought out of prison and set up for the presidency of Nigeria! Jonathan was never really in their good books and was initially opposed as president despite his legitimacy as the vice to a dead president. He was grudgingly accepted but limited to one term by fiat and subsequently demonized as the worst thing to have happened to the country!


A couple of days ago, so-called Fulani men attacked Falae’s farm once again and killed one of his security men. The local vigilantes have decided to take the law into their hands next time. Some weeks back, in Enugu state, a local group that decided to protest the abduction of their women by “Fulani herdsmen” were arrested by “Nigerian” security agents and detained – more than seventy of them. However, no “Fulani man” or mercenary has been arrested over the incident. A new report making the rounds says the IPOB (Igbo pressure group) abducted and killed five Fulanis in retaliatory actions. The Agatus of Benue state are also threatening to take the law into their hands over the recent death of hundreds of their members by Fulani herdsmen. Maybe someday we will reach a critical mass of fearless men and women that would tear down this travesty of a nation and build a new one where everyone is respected and protected.


Since there appears to be no real leader available to take this nation to where it ought to be, maybe it is time to complete what was started in 1967 – but this time, let us have a real uncivil war, and not the one-sided “police action” of Gowon. When the dust settles, survivors would be more interested in building than destroying Nigeria – if it survives.


Ripples Nigeria…without borders, without fears

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  1. 3ice

    April 12, 2016 at 10:55 am

    The illusion that it’s possible to have peace in the absence of justice is the clearest indication that foolishness is usually inherent in wickedness

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