Before The Next Genocide In Kano


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Before The Next Genocide In Kano




Mojeed Adeoye





April 13, 2005



There is an ongoing agitation by some Muslim leaders in the North against what they describe as marginalisation of Islam and its adherents. Mojeed Adeoye, from London, argues that the agitators do not speak for Yoruba Muslims and warns against the possibility of organised killing of Yorubas and Christians in the North

A meeting, organised by the National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and the Jama'atul Nasril Islam (JNI), which took place on 28 March in Kaduna, criticized what its participants describe as the marginalisation of Muslims in appointments into the federal cabinet, the armed forces and especially into the National Political Reform Conference.  

The forum, which purports to represent Nigerian Muslims and was attended by the emirs, governors, legislators and other politicians from the predominant Muslim northern states, attacked President Olusegun Obasanjo for his supposed "insensitivity" towards Muslims and Islam in Nigeria.

The Fulani Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Mustapha Jokolo, was quoted as accusing the Obasanjo government of a hidden agenda "to eliminate Islam and its adherents in Nigeria" and he threatened "to launch a war" to redress the situation.

Ordinarily, such irresponsible utterances could have been ignored because of the lack of substance of the allegations made against the president. For example, Jokolo, a retired army major and former ADC to his fellow Fulani man, Mohammadu Buhari, was quoted by three newspapers to have said that: "Virtually all the sectors of our national life, the North and Muslims have been marginalised. Today the highest military officer the north has is a colonel".

Yet, the three service chiefs are Northerners!

The Chief of Army Staff, Maj.-Gen. Martin Luther Agwai is from Kaduna; the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Jonah Dumfa Wuyep is from Plateau; and the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Samuel Afolayan, is from Kwara.

Among the service chiefs, only the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt.-Gen. Alexander Ogomudia, is from the South, from Delta State to be precise.

The claim that Muslims are marginalized also sounds hollow. In fact the two most heard and visible military officers by virtue of their positions; the Director of Information at the Defence Headquarters, Maj-Gen. Ganiyu Adewale, and Nigerian Army spokesman, Col. Mohammed Danjuma Yusuf, are Muslims. Not to forget that the Provost Marshall of the Army, Maj-Gen. Lemu is a Muslim.

On the membership of the National Political Reform Conference: all the members nominated from Sokoto, Yobe, Gombe, Kano, Katsina, Bornu, Kebbi and Zamfara are Muslims. In Kwara, 90 percent of the delegates are Muslims. The Emirs of these states are the forces behind this current agitation.

So which marginalized Muslims are they speaking for? To claim that they are also speaking for Yoruba or Edo Muslims would be absurd. It is a known fact that anytime they send Yandabas (area boys) on rampage to kill, rape and maim in the name of Islam, Yoruba Muslims are never spared.

For example, during the so-called anti-American Kano riots of November 2001, two Yoruba Muslims, Alhaji Kamorudeen Olawore from Offa, Kwara State, and Alfa Ali Dawodu, a Quranic teacher from Epe, Lagos State, were clubbed and stabbed to death by Muslim Fulani and Hausa rioters. Yet the riot was supposed to protest Christian America's aggression against Muslim Afghanistan.

It is also on record that the same people who are crying marginalisation using the name of Yoruba Muslims sabotaged the election of Chief Moshood Abiola in 1993. Many of them still claim that Abiola never won that election, read Trust newspapers. It is also an open knowledge that it was not Igbo Christians who killed Abiola in prison.

And Fulani Muslim leaders are known to openly denigrate the faith of Yoruba Muslims by claiming that Yorubas are not good Muslims. In many parts of the North today, a Yoruba is not allowed to lead prayers in a Mosque.

So it is very obvious that the so-called Muslim leaders could not possibly be speaking for Southern Muslims as Muslims from the South, who are capable of representing themselves, have not complained of any marginalisation. In fact the Christian delegates from Kogi, Lagos, Oyo were nominated by Muslim governors!

Also, it is curious that two years after the appointment of the cabinet and halfway into its life, our Northern Muslim leaders have just discovered that Muslims were marginalized!

Then the question a reasonable human being would now ask is why the new agitation. Should the leaders be ignored? No. They are a bunch of desperate power gamblers who will stop at nothing, including organising the slaughter of innocent Christians and Yorubas in the North to make their point

The present agitation has to do with fears of a reversal of their Sharia gains and the possibility of the emergence of a new order in Nigeria at the National Conference. Yoruba Muslims know that the Sharia in the North is not about the true Islam, but a political instrument to mobilise popular support in their battle for power.

Nigeria must not bow down, but face up squarely to the challenge. President Obasanjo's politics of appeasement has not worked; it has only emboldened the Fulani political elite to raise the stakes in their murderous gamble for power.

Now is the time for the federal government to assert its authority by making it clear that it will not condone any senseless killing of innocent Nigerians. Not only the central government, but also the state governments in the South should talk straight with their Northern counterparts that they will not tolerate any killing of their indigenes in the North because it will have repercussions.

Unfortunately, the Southern press seems to be ignoring the signs that there may well be a new round of massacre on the way. The reckless utterances of Jokolo, of 53 suitcase-infamy, has largely remained uncommented. That a former officer of the Nigerian army could make such a reckless statement shows the scanty respect he has for constituted authority. The rascally Jokolo should be warned that his Tuareg turban does not exempt him from the law.

Enough of senseless killing in the North.



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