Over time, conspiracy theories have been used to explain different phenomena, at different times for different purposes. Theorists reject standard explanations for events and describe them as a secret plot perpetrated by influential people or organizations.
They usually thrive in periods of crisis or upheaval and have succeeded in fuelling suspicion and distrust amongst people.
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We have had conspiracy theories surrounding the 9/11 attacks in which America was accused of masterminding the attacks on its soil. Princess Diana’s death, the New World Order, Illuminati, and Freemasonry, etc are world-known conspiracy theories.
Coming down home, there is a section of highly and critically unintelligent people who still believe that President Buhari is a clone named Jubril of Sudan after his supposed death in 2017.
Covid 19 and the vaccine in 2020 sent the world into a frenzy as conspiracies upon conspiracies adorned the skyline of the world. In Nigeria, we believed that Covid was a tool for population control by Bill Gates and Fauci. The vaccines, 5G and control chips are still with us and making waves.
Another conspiracy theory is that the Nigerian Army conscripts “repentant” Boko Haram fighters. How much sicker can they get? Or is it the Islamization agenda that some uncritical thinkers so love to believe?
Now coming down to the northern Nigerian security crises is another angle of conspiracy that has been paraded for some time now. Theorists began the analysis of the situation by saying that there was a project to break northern Nigeria completely. This project took off by ensuring that the relative peace between northern Muslims and Christians was completely broken.
Thus, from the 1980s, this project was set into full motion. First, General Ibrahim Babangida enrolled Nigeria in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. This was a move that aggravated religious tensions in the country. There was also a violent religious uprising by Maitatsine which caused the death of many.
By 1987, the outbreak of the Kafanchan Crisis dealt the first momentous blow because the crisis spread like wild bush fire across some northern states. After this crisis, many others followed since the return of democracy to Nigeria in 1999. The Sharia crisis, the Jos crisis, the 2002 Miss World inter-religious violence. These and many others have polarized the relationship between Muslims and Christians of northern Nigeria.
This was the first agenda achieved? Let’s find out.
It is further stated that apart from this polarization, the agelong crisis between the far North and North Central Nigeria was further entrenched. Names like Theophilus Danjuma and Jonah Jang never left the mouths of people as the crisis between Muslims and Christians got amplified along ethnic lines. Settler/ indigene dichotomy was the major headline. So, what happened to the issue of climate change and population increase and land scarcity that without proper management could cause conflict and enhance disunity. Well, all that was swept under the rug by theorists.
Thus, when that project was done, the next to be embarked upon by conflict entrepreneurs and destroyers who aimed the North specifically was to use the Boko Haram to target Muslims and Islam and the point of destruction was now the North East. It was pointed that Mohammed Yusuf was a tool used to destabilize the region under the pretence of revitalizing and cleansing the religion to its original status.
Apart from the obvious hands of politicians like former governor Ali Modu Sherrif that were implicated, Prof Jerry Gana and even CAN were said to have a connection with the crisis. Other groups implicated in the matter are the military, international NGOs, IDPs, etc, and the ultimate take over by Shekau who evaded death more than 10 times.
This crisis spread to most states of the North East region, thereby destroying many economic activities, loss of lives and property, displacement, and other problems that have been associated with Boko Haram. The theorists pointed that once the project was done and motive achieved the next target was the North West and they think that the banditry being witnessed in the North West especially, which has spread to other parts of the country is a just continuation of Boko Haram activities.
The other school of thought also believes that bandits were specifically recruited and imported into Nigeria before the 2011 elections purposely to disrupt elections and to cause mayhem should President Goodluck Jonathan win the 2011 elections.
They go further to say that by the time the 2015 elections were at hand, preparations were already in full gear to drastically bring down or frustrate the government of President Jonathan and ensure victory for General Muhammadu Buhari or cause an outbreak of crisis as witnessed during the 2011 Post Election Violence in most parts of northern Nigeria. It is further claimed that the bandits presently terrorizing the North were those recruited and armed to deal with non-Muslims.
What about Buhari’s non-performance, it is purported that it is the handwork of detractors like Babangida, Obasanjo, and other detractors who have vowed that he will never succeed in doing anything tangible with leadership. What of those who say he is under a spell and thus unable to perform?
The last ravaging school of thought posits that, the last tool of destruction was aimed at the “Hausa-Fulani” ethnic group (as if there is anything like that). It is purported that the symbiotic relationship between Hausa and Fulani was the only strong item of unity left in the North that has not been thwarted.
By Maryam Hamza