By Christie Doyin
I have read in amazement the sentiments attached to the issue of the criminal arrested for attempted bombing of Living Faith Church Worldwide, popularly known as Winners Chapel in Kaduna. As a matter of fact, the incident is not funny at all except for the comical reactions of those entangled in the script.
Rather than address the fact that a suspected would-be murderer was arrested over his alleged attempt to kill a number of worshippers, Nigerians, indeed, the religious bigots are more interested in the religion the man professed and his name. The Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, hit the various media to celebrate the fact that the man is a Christian and that there are Christians among the killer Boko Haram group. It said in a statement signed by its President, Professor Ishaq Akintola, “The arrest of a suspected suicide bomber, Nathaniel Samuel, a Christian, after a failed attempt to kill worshippers at the Winners Chapel’s Church in Kaduna on Saturday, February 2nd, had shown they there is a Christian version of Boko Haram”.
Professor Akintola, said further in the statement that Nathaniel Samuel’s failed attempt to bomb the Sabon Tasha branch of the Living Faith Church aka Winners chapel, made mockery of the rally organised by the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, same day”
‘This arrest is the outcome of our prayers for Allah to expose all those who are behind the bombing of churches. We are not surprised that the suspect happens to be a Christian. We have said it on several occasions that there is a Christian version of Boko Haram. Christians bomb churches and the whole world blame Nigerian Muslims for the atrocity”.
In the same vein, a former minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode also went screaming that the suspect was not a Christian but a Muslim and was forced to claim to be a Christian.
He said, “If anyone really believes that the individual that attempted to plant a bomb in Winners Chapel, Kaduna is a Christian and that his real name is Nathaniel Tanko they need to have their heads examined. He is actually a Hausa Fulani Muslim and his real name is Mohammed Nasiru Sani”.
Even the Christian Association of Nigeria was not really coming out being realistic, they were all passing the bucks as if that was all that matter.
The fact obviously is that Nigerians seem to be more concerned about the name and faith of the arrested culprit rather than the act/offence he committed and, or finding out who his sponsors are. This is not a good rhetoric for us as citizens as this will even give the Federal Government room to further take advantage of our division and continue to be unperturbed by the series of unfolding events.
Is there any of the religions that allowed for murder, wanton killings and destruction of properties? None I believe, I’m not sure the traditional religion do too, really I don’t know but would want to believe they don’t.
When lives are being taken outside the law, then it means those being killed are innocent of wrongs to their killers and that makes it a crime. In whatever guise, extra judicial killing is a crime before God and man. President Muhammadu Buhari also did not help matter by saying that 90%of Boko Haram’s victims are Muslims. For crying out loud, how on earth would a President supposedly ruling over a federation comprising all types of religion and tribes come out to say that? Certainly not good enough coming from a president and an expected statesman.
For instance, a 12-year-old child was among those killed with many injured in an attack by twin suicide bombers linked to the Boko Haram sect of a mosque in Gwoza, Borno state recently. Is that a good thing to savour? I bet you, it is very unpalatable and there are many such stories of young children being killed or getting killed daily. God help us!
To me, I think government over time have failed Nigerians, especially on security issues. The different administrations have treated matters relating to security with kid gloves and this is why the issue of insecurity has become cankerous and alarmingly so. It is such that tackling it must be devoid of all sentiments, especially ethic and religious sentiments.
According to reports, in 2009, when the problem started, it was infested by political propaganda, blackmail and other indices, with the belief that those complaining then were only raising their voices because they wanted to blackmail the government of the day.
Back to the issue of the alleged suspected bomber, the young man at the centre of it all has come out to say that it was a firework and he like others were given the material at a programme he attended to use for events where fireworks are desired. I’m sure this could be verified to be either true or false if fair play was to be allowed.
The truth of the matter is that the leadership and all those that are responsible, one way or the other to curb the incessant orgy of violence seem bereft of ideas or suggestions that could bring solace to the citizens. We need to tap into the knowledge of generality of the people, those with unbiased mind to research into the major cause of the problem and proffer lasting solution that will be free of religious and political sentiments as being expressed by the Federal Government, MURIC, CAN and the likes of Femi Fani-Kayode. And that is talking of religious, ethnic, and political sentiments.
I honestly commend the submission of the immediate past Speaker of the Federal House of Representative, Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara at the Northern Security Meeting held recently at Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, Kaduna, Kaduna state, where he highlighted the problems and more or less challenged all stakeholders on how to resolve the impasse that has not done and will not do anybody any good, though with more focus on the north, were the main irgy of death started.
According to Dogara, “The North is now the epicenter and theatre of violence. From Boko Haram ISWAP led by Albarnawi, Boko Haram led by Shekau and Ansaru insurgency, to farmers/herders conflict, banditry, kidnappings, ethno-religious conflicts, cattle rustling, etc we are confronted with a crisis that is unparalleled in our history. ”
If that is not the truth, I wonder what is.
He said, “There was no shortage of early warning signs and as a matter of fact our Philosophers such as the late Sa’adu Zungur of blessed memory had warned that this dystopian era was fast approaching but we ignored all. We are now paying for our collective negligence.”
With all these, it’s like our slow motion walk to self apocalypse is assured. We have seen this movie before in Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria to name but just a few but not in Northern Nigeria”.
According to the real vocal and auspicious orator, “Of the 19 northern states and the FCT, only Kwara state and the FCT are relatively peaceful or have the lowest rate of insecurity but all the other 18 states are inflamed by one form of violence or the other. Now the question that we all must answer is how did we get here and what must we do to defeat the radical evil of violence before it swallows us up?”
I wondered where this was coming from but then, he had the answer to my almost ready question of what effort did he and his travellers in the last Assembly put in place to check the deadly menace.
“I must say that one mistake we are all guilty of is to fold our arms and wait on governments at all levels to solve this problem for us. Government has its own fair share of the blame but what are we doing ourselves?”
This is what I call the hurtful truth!
“Why are we here? Those mapping insecurity in Northern Nigeria have concluded that we are where we are because of illiteracy, unemployment and poverty (Illiteracy+Unemployment + Poverty = Insecurity).
“Others including the conclusions of the syndicate groups here have posited that we are where we are because of breakdown in family values; we are here because of the worsening insecurity caused by the increasing use of the military. This has weakened the police and negatively reoriented the military from their traditional military roles. They say that it is only in Nigeria that security officials are withdrawn from killing fields to monitor elections while vigilantes are deployed to fight terrorists and other armed gangs.
“The example of the notorious kingpin, Wadume who suborned army officers including a captain who caused police officers to be killed to free the kidnapper, is a case in point and is often cited with justification”.
Are these nuances not true, are they figments of our imagination even when they are not entirely responsible for our woes as a nation? Another of his submission was that the porous nature of our borders and the fact that there are innumerable illegal aliens that are living and walking the streets of our states free without being arrested or turned back by immigration. Is it not a fact as he mentioned that we do not have a national data bank of those either arrested or even interrogated on suspicion of committing offenses? And that the absence of data bank means that police prosecutors cannot tell the courts whether accused persons are serial offenders or first time offenders and that there is no reforms in our prison system.
He also submitted that “The problem started when we substituted the pursuit of justice for all for the pursuit of absolute order – basically whipping people into line no matter the grievance or level of discontent. In doing so, we failed to heed the timeless warning that a society that is more devoted to order than to justice will never be an orderly or peaceful society. He quoted St Augustine who said ” in the absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organised robbery”. The statement by Hon Dogara and his quotation couldn’t have been well said by anyone else. These choice of words aptly put together and to a very precise audience, need no addition. The erstwhile Speaker is a son of the soil, has been at a high level of governance vis legislative and someone we can described as a “seen it all”. His words rather than silence, are golden and could be taken to the bank any time, any day. It’s about time we take more than a cursory look at the points he enumerated for a better northern Nigeria and more importantly, for a better, peaceful and unified nation.
Violence is taking root because our leadership model has been exposed as a lie, an empty ideology used to satiate greed instead of addressing social inequality and injustice.
“…is it too much to demand that all mosques and Churches in Northern Nigeria promote charities that cater for our needy and destitutes? The message should be loud and clear, we have served ourselves enough, now is the time to serve others”.
In the Southern part of Nigeria, there seem to be no issue of religious clashes or disparity, because you hardly can find a family that does not have a combination of the two major religions or more. At least that was how it was until the infiltration by some ungodly elements. The situation in the country has worsened and there seems to be no solution in sight with the kind of emissions coming out of the President and the presidency.
Just hope we get it right soon to avoid the kind of orgy of killings that changed Rwanda, Congo, Libya and other African countries as allegedly warned by Alhaji Bashir Tofa and General TY Danjuma of ‘war without front’.
*Doyin writes via e-mail: email@example.com