From Kankara to Kagara, hypocrisy defines the Buhari government
By Ikechukwu Amaechi
Anyone who watches the trending video of heavily armed bandits taunting Nigeria and its doddering leadership and emotionally assaulting passengers of the Niger State Transport Authority (NSTA) bus without feeling sorry for the country must be subhuman. The victims were abducted in the Yakila district of the Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State on February 15.
I had goosebumps watching babies crying, women frantically pleading, men, humiliated and resigned to fate, and of course, their tormentors, having the fun of their lives, celebrating their successful haul of yet another human cargo that will soon translate into millions of naira in ransom.
Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, has confirmed the video and the N500 million ransom demanded by the bandits.
The video graphically illustrates how low the country has sunk under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch. It depicts the helplessness of Nigerians in the face of the existential threat they collectively face.
Under Buhari’s watch, it is sorrow, tears and blood, as the Afrobeat legend, Fela, would say. But the consolation is that Nigerians, South of the Niger, have also resolved never to roll over for the hoodlums from the North ever again.
I had resolved last week to stay off the tomfoolery of the Nigerian elite, having come to the inevitable conclusion that they are dyed-in-the-wool hypocrites, set in their adulterous ways. They have no fidelity to the common good.
But it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to stay aloof when at issue is existential dread – Nigerians are at that dreadful moment when many are increasingly questioning whether their lives have meaning, purpose, or value in their own country.
We are at that scary juncture where though Fulani bandits have become an existential threat, yet the northern elite, like the ostrich, are burying their heads in the sand, pretending that by so doing the country’s woes will be wished away.
On Tuesday, Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, the chief ideologue of the Fulani supremacist agenda, was on Africa Independent Television (AIT) where he made the bold-faced claim that bandits learnt kidnapping from Niger Delta militants. That is a lie.
To dissuade Fulani terrorists from maiming and killing fellow citizens, he doubled down on his vexatious demand that they be granted amnesty and handsomely compensated if they magnanimously agree to be persuaded to lay down their arms. To them, we, the lesser mortals, don’t have the right to live, peacefully or otherwise. It is a privilege at their whims and caprices.
The hubris is suffocating. Rather than address insecurity, what you hear from the Northern elite is this condescending admonition to the rest of the country not to provoke their wrath.
Rather than telling their brothers to stop the kidnappings and senseless bloodletting, they are angry that Nigerians have the audacity to call them out. They are enraged that other Nigerians have the guts to push back on their brazen expansionist agenda.
Why would a governor from the South demand that Fulani bandits be flushed out of the forests in his state? They are enraged that non-state actors like Sunday Igbogho would dare challenge the suzerainty of Fulani bandits and defend their people in the face of government’s shameful abdication of its primary responsibility which is the protection of lives and property of the citizens.
They are deploying every trick in the book to deflect the blame from themselves. In all their posturing, they do everything to shield Buhari, the man on whose watch the country is going to the dogs, from any blame.
Curiously, a people that long ago elevated to an art the tendency of blaming the group for the sins of a few are today crying foul that Nigerians are blaming Fulani bandits for the mayhem across the country.
They are now saying that crime has no ethnicity, which is true. But remember the egregious lie of branding the January 15, 1966 coup an Igbo coup? Yes, that is the hypocrisy that rules the land.
They pretend not to know what happened on that fateful day – a group of idealistic army officers, majority of who happened to be Igbo, on their own planned a coup without consulting the ordinary folks on the street. Yet, the Northern elite conveniently branded it Igbo coup for the singular purpose of exacting maximum revenge on the Igbo.
Over 55 years after, that lie has persisted and it is at the root of all the injustices meted out to the Igbo in Nigeria.
Yet, these same people are protesting loudly that Nigerians are calling out those who have turned Nigeria into a huge killing field.
Why shouldn’t those terrorising Nigerians be identified ethnically? If they are Igbo, will the Gumis of this country do otherwise? Now that it has been established beyond doubt that Fulani bandits are behind the carnage in the land, why should we shy away from saying so?
Gumi acknowledges that those he met with in the Zamfara forests are Fulani and those Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State went to West African countries to pay ransom after they killed his people in Kaduna were Fulani. Those Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State said should carry Ak-47 rifles are Fulani. Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, said this week that the killer herdsmen according to the debriefing from those kidnapped, speak Fulfulde, language of the Fulani. Those who are busy all over the country negotiating the payment of ransom to bandits, or release of arrested bandits, or threatening fire and brimstone whenever moves are made from any quarter to rein in the impunity of herdsmen are Fulani with leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in the lead.
Any country that chooses to pamper bandits and reward, rather than punish criminality, pays a very stiff price. Criminals are emboldened when they are treated with kid gloves.
So, while Gumi is busy demanding amnesty for Fulani bandits, most of them non-citizens, who have made Nigeria a hell for citizens, the bandits struck again on Wednesday.
This time, it was at the Government Science College Kagara in Rafi local government of Niger State. The bandits, who struck at about 2 a.m., killing one student, Benjamin Doma, whisked away 27 others, three teachers and 12 family members.
The Kagara abduction came less than three months after gunmen abducted hundreds of students of Government Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State.
Though the number of abductees as confirmed by Bello are fewer, this is the first time a student would be killed at the crime scene and teachers taken hostage.
Of course, the governor has not only shut down the school with about 650 students, he has also ordered that all boarding schools in Rafi, Mariga, Munya and Shiroro local government areas of the state be shut until further notice.
Truth be told, the joke is on these Fulani leaders like Sheikh Gumi who are enabling the bandits all in the name of ethnic solidarity. The joke is on the president, a Fulani, under whose watch Nigeria is heading to point of no return, as former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, put it on Wednesday, while he is fiddling.
With this incessant pillaging of schools in the North, how can parents yield to persuasion to enroll their wards? Yet, this is a region that has the highest number of out of school children globally and the few that agreed to go to school are being kidnapped, killed and dehumanised by bandits. What a tragedy!
The reactions are the same. It is all déjà vu. Bello, pretending to be the tough cookie that he is obviously not, told journalists on Wednesday his government will not pay ransom to the bandits. But he is prepared to support and assist repentant bandits. Who is fooling who?
Senators making their usual noise, called on Buhari to declare a state of emergency and implement their various recommendations on how to tackle the escalating insecurity across the nation.
Buhari described the kidnapping as brazen and cowardly even as he dispatched a team of security chiefs to Minna, the Niger State capital, to coordinate the “rescue” operation.
His Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the president assured the security chieftains of the support of his administration and urged them to do all that can be done to bring an end to the saga and “avoid such cowardly attacks on schools in the future.”
Wasn’t that exactly what he said after the Kankara kidnap saga?
The Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, assured that the Kagara abductees will be rescued with the same strategy used in Kankara. Put simply, they will negotiate with the Fulani bandits and pay hefty ransom to secure the release of the victims. That was the Kankara strategy.
Magashi said Nigerians have a responsibility to ensure adequate security, insisting it is not the responsibility of the military alone.
“We shouldn’t be cowards. Sometimes the bandits come with about three rounds of ammunition and when they fire shots everybody will run. In our younger days, we stood to fight any form of aggression,” he said.
Isn’t that interesting coming from the same government that will shoot down anyone who tries to stand up to the impunity of Fulani bandits? Hypocrisy truly defines the Buhari government.
• Amaechi is a columnist and publisher of TheNiche.
HACFO on how Aisha was forcefully abducted, converted, and married off with consent of emir
HACFO on how Aisha was forcefully abducted, converted, and married off with consent of emir
Rafin Iyaka Sabuwar Kasa, Kafur LGA of Katsina State is a mixed community of both Christian and Muslim Hausas, but the Christians continued to live in pains and bondage perpetrated by the Muslim side that constantly enjoys the protection of the District Head of Kafur and the Emir of Katsina.
These two Islamic traditional rulers do everything possible to stop the constitutionally recognized law enforcement agencies like the Police from rightly carrying out their statutory duties. That is why any crime committed against the Christians will always be swept under the carpet.
Due to the previous experiences of the Christian community of Gidan Dandada Rafin Iyaka on the abduction and forceful conversion of their young girls which Aisha happens to be the 9th person, the Family of Aisha didn’t hesitate to report some strange moves of one Mohammed Samaila around their 15 year old daughter to their village head.
As usual, the said Mohammed Samaila and his father kept denying having anything to do with Aisha. These strange moves continue for about two years and the village head was not willing to take any action against the said Mohammed Samaila. When the family of Aisha could no longer tolerate what they were seeing, they decided to relocate Aisha from the village Gidan Dandada Rafin Iyaka, to Funtua for Aisha to be staying with her elder sister.
On 10th February, 2021, Aisha went missing from the house where she stays. When the elder sister and her husband searched everywhere possible and could not locate Aisha, they quickly reported it to the Funtua Police Station to help them find Aisha.
Two days later, on 12th February 2021, Aisha’s Parents received a call from the District Head of Kafur telling them to stop searching for Aisha because she is safe with him in his house. He claimed that one Idris Shehu brought her to his house. On hearing that, Aisha’s family went to see the District Head of Kafur at his palace in order to bring their daughter back home, but to their dismay, it was not possible. He refused releasing her on the ground that she wanted to convert to Islam. Aisha’s parents insisted but the District Head refused them access to their Daughter.
Ten days later, the District Head called Aisha’s parents to tell them that one Mohammed Sama’ila wants to marry Aisha their daughter. When Aisha’s parents went to the District Head’s palace, they rejected the issue of the marriage. They insisted their daughter be returned to them and continue with her school and if anyone wants to marry her, he should follow the due process. The District Head ignored Aisha’s parents and went ahead to arrange marriage between Aisha and Mohammed Samaila without the consent and approval of Aisha’s Family.
When Aisha’s Family did everything possible and peaceful for Aisha to be returned to them and they were ignored and humiliated, they decided to engage the services of a law firm; A. U. Ajodo & CO. Legacy Chambers to help them bring Aisha back.
The Law Firm immediately wrote a petition against the District Head ( Alh. Abdulrahman Rabe and Mohammed Sama’ila to the Katsina State Commissioner of Police through the Malumfashi Area Command demanding the immediate arrest, investigation and prosecution of these two suspects and the immediate release of Aisha back to her Family.
Unfortunately, the Police did not arrest these two culprits or do anything to ensure the return of Aisha. They only summoned the District Head of Kafur without the said Mohammed Samaila. The Area Commander told the District Head not to go ahead with the marriage plans between Aisha and Mohammed Samaila, but the district head ignored the police directive.
They later agreed for the girl to be brought to the police station and be returned to her family but the District Head refused to comply. Instead, he decided to take the girl to the Emir of Katsina at Katsina on that same day he was to bring the girl to the police station. On reaching there, the Emir of Katsina joined Aisha and Mohammed in marriage without the consent of her parents.
As it is now, the Katsina state police command are not willing to carry out their statutory duties as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution and ensure justice is done.
It is very important to note that this is not the first time such a thing is happening. The said District Head of Kafur is known for such … acts right …. .
The village of Gidan Dandada Rafin Iyaka, Sabuwar Kasa, Kafur LGA, Katsina State has suffered such unjust treatments from the District Head of Kafur who is also backed by the Emir of Katsina. Till date a total of nine Hausa Christian Girls have been abducted, forcefully converted to Islam and forced into early marriage.
The following are the names of the girls that were abducted, forcefully converted to Islam and forced into marriage from this village by the same District Head:
1) Jamima Solomon
2) Christiana Mamman
3) Deborah Habila
4) Phoebe Dankano
5) Rifkatu Markus (Rescued)
6) Saratu Isah (Returned her when she went mad after two years)
7) Dije Yakubu Nalami (Abducted as a married woman, and returned when she died)
8) Rebeccah Ado (Returned Pregnant)
9) Aisha Mani (Currently in captivity)
It is on record that any time this Christian Community agitates against the injustice done to them, the Muslim youths will violently go after them and threaten to burn down the Church and houses of the Christians.
The Hausa Christians Foundation (HACFO) is working tirelessly to ensure the safe and unconditional return of Aisha Mani and to ensure that justice is duly served.
We covet your prayers and support to ensure that Aisha is reunited with her family. Kindly pray for the Northern Christians especially the families whose daughters have been abducted, forced into Islam and marriage. Northern Nigeria is becoming hell for Christians to live in.
▪︎The Hausa Christian Foundation (HACFO) can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Yinka Odumakin: The Exit Of A Convinced Humanist
Yinka Odumakin: The Exit Of A Convinced Humanist
By Rauf Aregbesola
The circumstance of his demise were quite unusual. Though a picture he took with Papa Ayo Adebanjo, indicating he was not in the best shape of health had appeared on the internet not quite long ago; still, it caught us by surprise. The human mind has the incredible capacity to suppress morbid suggestions on loved ones, bordering on denial. But now, as the dust is settling and the tears are drying, we are beginning to reconcile to the fact that Yinka Odumakin is gone.
February 20, earlier this year, was the last time I had a telephone conversation with him. He was his natural self. He could be vivacious when excited and could also be dead sober, if the matter requires it. I never had any premonition it would be our last conversation.
Odumakin straddled the political spectrum, breaking into public consciousness as a students union activist at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, then practiced journalism at The Punch newspaper; was also part the struggles for military disengagement and deannulment of June 12, 1993 Presidential election won by Chief Moshood Abiola. In the post military era, Yinka retained his public presence with his participation in the politics of AD, AC, ACN, CPC and reportedly flirted with former President Goodluck Jonathan. He later consolidated his activism in Yoruba nationalism, being a highly visible spokesperson of Afenifere. He was a tenacious advocate of his convictions; never gave up on whatever he believed in, regardless of the opposition.
How did we meet? Yinka Odumakin and Bunmi Omoshehindemi walked into my office as the CGS of Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organisation office at Sunday Adigun St., Alausa Ikeja. It was in November of 1998.
Both came to declare support for the candidacy of Bola Tinubu unequivocally. This was in defiant opposition to those then opposed to any form of accommodation for democratic building process without a clear resolution of the June 12 imbroglio. This was a courageous step, then considering that their position would have been considered anathema by the movement. We had since then built a robust relationship, sometimes very smooth and at times frosty, but all the time remarkable till his translation on Friday, April 2, 2021.
I said we had a remarkable relationship because Yinka was consistent in standing up to fight for democracy, federalism, justice and rule of law. These to me are the factors for defining the dignity of man. Whoever has this commitment is an ally and a humanist.
Yinka has had to publicly criticise me a couple of times, especially when I was governor in Osun, our relationship notwithstanding. I took it in good faith, as it never affected our relationship. His criticisms were consistent with his convictions on what constitute public interest.
I am therefore proud to have known, interacted and worked with a humanist that doggedly fought for the dignity of people.
Yinka Odumakin, you will wake up to joyful activities on the other side. May the good Lord support your wife, family and friends. Ameen.
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is Minister of Interior, Federal Republic of Nigeria
Nigeria: These Terrible Times and Lessons of Easter
Nigeria: These Terrible Times and Lessons of Easter
Easter Message of YOWICAN President
This Easter, I want us all to think about the unconditional love that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, had for us to the extent that He gave His life for our salvation.
His resurrection by God. What a lesson for young people of Nigeria and of what sacrifice can this achieve and the benefits it can bring to mankind generally and individually!
This Easter, I call on all, whether Christian or Muslim, to emulate Christ and sacrifice something for your nation, for your families and for yourselves. The young people are the change agents, let us not ask ourselves who will change our nation for the better. You and I are the ones that will cause the desired change our nation needs. Change begins with you and I. Young people of Nigeria, look in the mirror and ask how we can change our nation for better.
As agents of change, the youth should be wise enough to know what is good and bad before the law and in the sight of God. Avoid being used by politicians for thuggery; reject being enlisted into the Army of bandits, kidnappers and Boko Haram. But accept to be enlisted into God’s Army. From all what are going on in different parts of the country, it is obvious that Nigerians have declared war against themselves.
How did the weapons find themselves into private hands? Although the government has tried, the best option is to embark on a mission to mop up all the arms and weapon in circulation. While we oppose amnesty and rehabilitation of bandits and Boko Haram insurgents, we will be wrong thinking that they will turn a new leaf. That will be encouraging blackmail and putting the lives of the defenceless citizens before firing squad.
Let us emulate Christ and have a change of heart. Turn from evil ways to good. Let this Easter be the beginning of a positive change in our nation, Africa and the world at large. I join other well-meaning Christian faithful all over the world to thank God for giving us all the grace to witness this year’s Easter celebration.
As we commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I enjoin us all to imbibe the spirit of love, sacrifice, forgiveness, perseverance and tolerance that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ taught us.
ISHIELU KILLINGS And EFFIUM/EZZA EFFIUM CRISIS
•YOWICAN condemns and frowns seriously at the intra-communal war between Ezza-Effium and Effium clans in Ohaukwu Local Government of Ebonyi State and the killing of over 16 persons aged between 18 and 56 in Obeagu community in Ishielu LGA by suspected Fulani herdsmen. We demand justice for the victims in both crises. It is surprising that brothers in Ezza-Effium and Effium clans have declared war on themselves the end of which nobody can predict.
•We also condemn the assassination attempt on Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo in which three police orderlies were killed ahead of the governorship election in Anambra State scheduled for November 6. These are not acceptable to Nigerians. All these threats to life must stop, we must live together as one Nigeria.
I extend my sincere and heartfelt condolences to the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. Dave Umahi and the various families that lost their loved ones. during this heartless killing. Same for Soludo and for Governor Ortom, we are with you in prayers.
Happy Easter to you all
Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria Youth Wing (YOWICAN)
April 4 2021
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