Re: Buhari’s opponents behind Southern Kaduna crisisWritten by Muhammad Ajah
If the truth must be told about the killing in Southern Kaduna, nothing can be more convincing than the proclamation by the Northern Nigeria Christian Politicians (NNCP), though the crises predate the present federal and state governments. Many religious and non-religious bodies as well as responsible citizens have revealed it all. Why are the communal clashes in Kaduna South given such acute attention and always given religious coloration. There are hundreds of recorded communal wars all over Nigeria; some are still unresolved in the southern part of the country. But the truth again is that religion has remained an attractive tool used to ensnare sympathizers and catch national and international attentions.
Herdsmen have killed hundreds of Nigerians most of whom are Muslims of the north. Boko Haram was started by targeting churches and Christians. Gradually, the truth revealed that Muslims were the prime target and it is today unarguable that more Muslims have been killed by Boko Haram terrorists who were presumed to be Muslims. During the peak of the Boko Haram terrorism, reports were recorded of arms and bags of hijab found in big churches in the north. There are recorded reports of Boko Haram members caught with the cross hung on their necks. There were reports of arms throttling and importations. What do all these reveal? Conspiracy against Muslims and Islam! The recurring false alarms of unfounded attempts to Islamize Nigeria!
In Ebonyi, Cross River, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Bono, Plateau, amongst others, Nigerian people have been killed in communal wars over land and claims on ancestral heritages. Writing on ‘the Bloodbath in Southern Kaduna’, Simon Kolawole queried why the issue of framing is at play, believing that it has been successfully framed in the media as a religious war. “This is understandable”, he postulated because the Southern Kaduna is predominantly Christian and the Fulani herders are Muslims. It is, therefore, expected to be cast as Christians vs Muslims rather than Kaura, Sanga et al vs Fulani herders. This is the same way, according to him, the Berom vs Fulani in Jos north was cast as Christians vs Muslims. “It just so happens that people in the same local grouping are not unlikely to be of the same religion. Ethno-religious framing is thus inevitable, even if the core issues have nothing to do with religion.”
Why are these ‘men of God’ so interested in Kaduna state, despite Christians are killing themselves or pagans killing them in communal wars in many states of the federation? Investigations have shown that some pastors – men of God – fix televisions in their churches and dedicate greater parts of their service time showing followers how Islam is a common enemy. They play video records of wars inside the churches to convince their followers that Muslims are their number one enemies. This attitude must be stopped because no learned imam would fix audio-visuals in Mosques to preach hate speech and instigate followers. However, the existence of political imams cannot be foreclosed.
Yes, Nigerian clamour for peace and unity. They say they want development. But why are the Christian citizens, always backed by the media, furious against Islam and Muslims in Nigeria. How many cases unconnected to religion that have nearly caused religious upheavals in Nigeria! Everything the Muslims do, according to their Islamic injunctions, is envied by Christians. Look at the national pilgrimage body. Look at attempts to institute Christian courts. Look at the Ese-Orurugate, despite thousands of female teenagers are daily abused in villages. Name them.
What do these people gain by instigating the killing of innocent citizens other than political relevance and gains? Truly, because the media both local and outside are in the hands of the non-Muslims, nothing is more threatening. It is preferable to use the word ‘non-Muslims’ because the Christians have allowed themselves to be ready tools in the hands of the Jews to fight Islam and Muslims. Why must Christians allow themselves to be used to destabilize Nigeria through the hidden agenda of “Islamization’ of Nigeria. Migrant herdsmen who have lived peacefully with their hosts across the country have suddenly become violent due to instigation by some political elements in the society. Some have even started calling on the Christians to boycott consumption of cow meat in their presumed attempt to stagnate Muslims’ economy.
This accusation against the herdsmen has been refuted, however, by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN). Speaking at a press conference in Kaduna, the Assistant National Secretary General of the group, Ibrahim Abdullahi, denied a newspaper story that members of the group had carried out attacks in Godogodo last September. He called on herdsmen nationwide and in particular Southern Kaduna to disregard the article and remain law abiding.
Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in an interview described the Kaduna South brouhaha as fuelled by twisted reports, desperate politics and hate preaching. According to him, so many things have gone wrong including the breakdown of society that has to be rebuilt. Beyond this, he said, there is a lot to worry about concerning politics and religiosity and even media coverage of the crisis. “I think it needs to be more enlightened, balanced and evenly handled. It is a crisis where communities are fighting one another and when you read media reports, it is just one side of the story of the victims that is being told.”
He noted that involved are Muslims and Christians killing each other but people report only one part of the community suffering which is the misinterpretation of the facts. Politics has a role in all of these things. “Don’t forget that Southern Kaduna is the only PDP senatorial district in the entire North-West and that has implications for the way politics is run. There is a lot of interest; the PDP is interested and is assuming someone wants to use force to capture this place. The PDP, the media and everyone is throwing things into this thing. So, we have to de-escalate by ensuring balanced media reports, depoliticize the situation and the sermonization of some of the religious leaders. We have seen lately, for instance, there have been this video going viral all over the country that people should be killed.
However, Northern Nigeria Christian Politicians (NNCP) is touched by the truth therein. They believe that that the perpetrators of the crisis are political opponents of the government, who are out to discredit the administration ahead of 2019 general elections. Chairman of NNCP, Hon. Keftin Amuga, at a press briefing in Abuja, called on President Buhari not to give in to such political. He argued that the group is grieved over the crisis and those in neighboring Nasarawa, Benue, Plateau and Taraba states and condemns it in its entirety. “We, therefore, demand that the federal government arrests and prosecutes both the masterminds and the foot soldiers”.
As remedy, he urged northern governors, traditional rulers and political elite of both faiths in the region to be honest enough to admit the root cause of the endless crisis in the region, and join President Buhari in finding genuine solution that would bring about development to the region.