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Still on the intractable crises in Plateau

Despite my current travails over crisis of identity and extermination, I could have ignored such campaigns but for the fact that those concocted lies need…

Despite my current travails over crisis of identity and extermination, I could have ignored such campaigns but for the fact that those concocted lies need to be addressed in order to avert future recurrence of mass murder and ensure that justice is done to both the victims and villains. This write-up will therefore give appropriate response to the allegations contained in some of the sponsored adverts, particularly the ones sponsored by “The Christian Elders Consultative Forum”, “Concerned Christian and Muslim Indigenes” and Coalition of Plateau Youths Forum”.

In each of the aforesaid publications, the campaign of calumny were noted to be tailored along the same pattern; they were either canvassing for the removal of the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 3rd Armoured Division; the Chief of Army Staff or National Security Adviser; Secretary to the Federal Government or agitating for the recall of Mr Greg Ataying, the highly-biased and obviously discredited immediate past Plateau State Commissioner of Police.  

One other thing I noticed was that they (sponsors) carried on as if there was no single casualty on the other side despite the fact that the killings, destruction and maiming that took place in Bukuru Karama alone were the most brutal and easily the most sadistic in the entire history of this nation.

Our take on these issues is that the sponsors of these illegal and possibly non-existent organisations obviously do not wish to see peace reign in Plateau forever or in the foreseeable future. Otherwise, how can one be so callous and irresponsible to keep talking about settlers invading their lands at this most trying moment? A number of pertinent questions that keep agitating every sober and analytical mind are: where were these organisations and ‘eminent elders’ when the trouble started? How can a misunderstanding between two individuals over renovation of a house result in massacre of innocent souls and destruction of properties? Why did the crisis (massacre) erupt in Barikin Ladi, Pankshin, Kuru, Vom, etc., some 40km away without any justification even by the standards of the ‘indigenes’?

Why were the Fulani in the hinterlands and their herds gruesomely massacred when they never laid any claims to being indigenes or displayed appetite for political office in Plateau State? Why were innocent Nigerians that were plying Abuja-Jos Road, Bauchi-Jos Road and Jos-Kaduna Road mercilessly butchered by some unrepentant bloodthirsty Biroms, especially around Riyom village and Jos bypass simply because they were Muslims? These and many more questions crying for answers only succeeded in profiling the typical Biroms and the state of their diseased minds against the Hausas, Fulanis, Kanuris, Igbiras, Nupes and every other Muslim northerner.     

The accusation against the military and the call by the Plateau State government and other groups for the removal of the GOC is an exercise in futility, because the military have demonstrated in no uncertain terms that they are above primordial sentiments when it comes to tackling  ethnic, religious and political crises. It is now clear that their grouse against the GOC is hinged on the fact that he interrupted and halted their carefully planned genocide in addition to being a Muslim.

I view this call as an effrontery on all Nigerian Muslims. In case they have forgotten, the Plateau State government and their collaborators should be reminded that Nigerian Muslims have been too accommodating in terms of the allocation of appointment within the defence and security sector. If statistics are anything to go by, Muslims ought to have protested the lopsided appointment of Christians to lead the nation’s security apparatuses since we constitute more than 50%, but we did not. For the avoidance of doubt, the current Vice President is a Christian and so far none of his Special Advisers or Assistants is a Muslim. The Senate President is a Christian; the Minister of Defence is a Christian, so is the Chief of Defence Staff; Chief of Naval and Air Staff.  The Inspector General of Police is a Christian, as well as the Directors General of National Intelligence Agency and State Security Service. The Head of Immigration and Prisons Service are all Christians. So now tell me in whose hands the nation’s security lies other than these men’s. This is all happening when a Muslim Hausa-Fulani is at the helm of national affairs.

Obviously, he did that for the sake of national unity. However, during the eight-year reign of his predecessor who was a Christian, all aforementioned appointments in the security sector were generally skewed in favour of Christians and no effort was made to give Muslims a sense of belonging. It is therefore absurd and preposterous for any group under any religious/ethnic guise to call for the removal of the GOC or the Chief of Army Staff. So let’s not open a can of worms and allow sleeping dogs to lie.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Hausa/Fulani and indeed Muslims in Nigeria have never collectively condoned let alone promoted any campaign of calumny against any particular group of people or religion. In all Hausa and Muslim-dominated states, no governor or emir has been remotely involved in inflaming or tacitly supporting ethnic/religion-induced crisis.

However, the same cannot be said of Plateau State. Furthermore, whenever crisis erupts in Hausa-Fulani and Muslim-governed states, the authorities have made concerted efforts to assist the victims and address the root cause of the crisis such as in Kaduna State under Makarfi and currently in Bauchi State.

Yet same cannot be said of Plateau State whose government and opinion leaders have shamefully and consistently toed the line of indigene vs. Settler; Muslim vs. Christian and Fulani vs. Birom. Jang’s numerous interviews in the media and his recent comment at the Villa when the VP convened a meeting of Plateau elders testify to this fact and shows he is beyond redemption. In the final analysis, the horror that has been continually unleashed on Muslims and Hausa/Fulani in Plateau State over the years is most unprecedented.

There is nowhere in our recent history where state organs were used in perpetrating genocide. Consequent upon this, it is now high time all those that matter rallied round and call Governor Jang and his hired agents of doom to order. This could be done by constituting an international panel of enquiry with wide-ranging powers to investigate the massacres and extrajudicial killings.

Unless that is done, the carnivores amongst us will continue to have a field day. Today, it is Hausa-Fulani, only God knows which ethnic group will be their target tomorrow. The clandestine movements, meetings and media campaigns to divert attention to the genocide in Jos on 17th January and specifically that of Kuru Karama on 19th January should never be allowed to succeed.  Justice must be done. Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Ahmed Jos wrote from 255C, Unguwar Rogo, Jos, [email protected].

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