…Calls Sharia Council’s demand for their killing hate speech
…DSS arrest: Para-Mallam lists 10 reasons he agreed to stand as ex-CBN Dep Gov’s guarantor
…Explains why B/Haram targets only Christians, ISWAP kills Christians and Muslims
…‘How crusade ground crisis sparked S/Kaduna cycle of killings in 1987’
By Sam Eyoboka
Amid the storm generated by the claims of a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Obadiah Mailafiya, on insecurity in the country and for which the Department of State Service (DSS) invited and interrogated him, the man who stood surety for him, Rev Gideon Para-Mallam, says he (Mailafia) was instigated by his love for Nigeria and the peace of the country. Mailafiya had, in an interview with an Abuja based radio station, NigeriaInfo FM, alleged that some repentant bandits revealed that a serving governor in one of the northern states is the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
“Let me make some revelations because some of us also have our own intelligence network. We have met with some of the bandits; we have met with some of their high commanders, one or two who have repented. They have sat down with us, not once, not twice. They told us that one of the Northern governors is the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria”, he had said.
In this interview, Para Mallam, Global Mission Leader, Peace Advocate, President and CEO of The Para-Mallam Peace Foundation, lists 10 reasons he stood as a guarantor for the erstwhile CBN Deputy Governor among other issues in the polity including the Southern Kaduna killings and terrorist groups. Excerpts:
Why did you accept to stand as surety for Dr. Obadiah Mailafiya?
To be accepted as surety is simply to be trustworthy and respected within society. The implication for me as surety is assuring that whenever my brother and friend, Dr Obadiah Mailafiya, is needed, he will be available. In fact, based on self-recognition alone, there should have been no need for a surety, but due process needed to be followed and the DSS ensured this was done. There were no stringent conditions attached. I commend the DSS and his lawyer, Barr Bawa, NBA Chairman for Plateau State, and Barr Pius Akubo (SAN) who were on hand to provide wise legal thoughts.
Wake up call
Mailafiya, is a respected man and an international figure of no mean repute. He got his PhD from one of the best universities in the world, Oxford. He has been Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria; he worked as Chief of Staff at the African Development Bank in Brussels. He was a presidential candidate at the last elections and came 3rd or 4th. Where will he run to? Where will he go to?
He is a man of peace and believes in Mahatma Ghandi’s philosophy and ideals of non-violence, just as I do. We both admire Martin Luther King Jnr. So, with these commonalities, in fact I feel privileged to be his surety because he is a kind person and has no criminal record anywhere in the world – to the best of my knowledge.
On the interview he granted which led to his invitation for questioning with the DSS, he assured me that he meant no ill. He told me he has no malicious intention to incite anyone. In truth, his interview should be a wake-up call for government and for all of us to act and work together to avert the impeding dismemberment of Nigeria along racial and religious lines.
His invitation attracted national and international attention and sympathy. While keeping vigil with several others: youth groups, cultural groups, concerned individuals including several professors, we received calls from Christian leaders: CAN National President, Rev. Dr. Supo Ayokunle, Rev Stephen Panya Baba, ECWA President, Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi and Archbishop John Praise, PFN National Leader, while others sent in messages throughout to express solidarity and identification, and the need to free Obed Mailafiya while he was being interrogated. It was amazing.
The youth were prepared to sleep at the DSS premises in Jos. Their determination compelled us to do all that was humanly possible to see him released. The DSS showed a high sense of sensitivity, humanity and professionalism which we must acknowledge. Here are 10 reasons I stood surety for Mailafiya:
- Mailafiya is a nationalist who takes the security of this country seriously.
- Mailafiya loves this country so much that he is willing to lay his life for it.
- Mailafiya said what was already known both to the security apparatus, government and the Nigerian people generally.
- Mailafiya spoke from his heart out of concern for the oppressed, the armless civilians killed not only in Southern Kaduna, but also in the North. He is a major stakeholder here
- He threw a challenge to the Nigerian state on the state of security in the country that needs to and must be addressed if sustainable peace is to be achieved.
- He put those speaking from both sides of their mouth on the spot and challenged them to come clean for the common good of us all.
- The crises in Southern Kaduna and Nigeria must be seen in the context of the politics of exclusion and hegemonic dominance which the leadership of this nation and state needs to courageous address. Our President and his team of leaders need to look at the message rather than the messenger. Dr. Mailafiya is not a frivolous person.
- I believe with Obadiah that both the state and federal governments NEED TO DO MORE to stop the killings. Their body language and permutations have simply emboldened the killers. How does one explain the massacres during curfews?
- Mailafiya has highlighted the security conundrum that is Southern Kaduna. There is need for 24-hour air surveillance and military patrols in Southern Kaduna right now.
- I believe Mailafiya did Nigeria a favor by voicing out some of these issues and should not be vilified. Rather, he should be commended and encouraged to provide tips on how to address some of our challenges.
- The US just sent a warning to the Nigerian state on the pending invasion of Al-Qaeda, and such warning did not run contrary to what Mailafiya said. The government needs to take that seriously vis-a-vis what Mailafiya. He is not a villain but one out to help the Nigerian state to address a problem that could consume it if ignored.
- Mailafiya spoke based on the information available to him at the time. I know he means well for this country. The end goal of what he said is all designed to see that the killings do not continue in Nigeria. He cares about Christian and Muslim victims of violence. I personally want to see an end to these killings, hence my standing as surety.
- Mailafiya is one of our finest minds intellectually and loves God and God’s humanity. He is a comfortable man by every account but the sufferings of our people, by our people, I mean, Southern Kaduna and Nigerians in general has touched his heart deeply. As a peace advocate, this is the little contribution I could make to see that justice is done and that government makes no mistakes.
On Boko Haram
Boko Haram is an Islamist terrorist group based in northern Nigeria. Its activities, since 2009 when the group became radicalized, have led to the death of thousands of innocent Nigerians, and have rendered many Nigerians homeless, with many of them internally displaced and becoming refugees in neighboring countries such as Cameroun, Niger and Chad. The group’s stated goal was to purify Islam in northern Nigeria and rejecting anything that is associated with western and Christian values. Sadly, their brand of Islam is to target and kill Christians, burn churches, hotels, to mention a few and take Christian girls and women into captivity as sex slaves. Boko Haram has added the dangerous element to killing moderate Muslims who oppose their twisted Islamic ideology.
The group has, over the years, intensified its murderous activities by sacking many communities in Borno State, kidnapping, particularly girls and women, forcing them to embrace Islam and marrying them off to their members to give birth to monster-children and hoisting its flag. This is very symbolic as it gives credence to its objective of establishing an Islamic state in Nigeria while denouncing the secular Nigerian state as corrupt and apostate.
While the Nigerian government has struggled to mitigate the spate of killings and attacks by this deadly terrorist group, the United States and European Union have been in the vanguard of assisting the Nigerian government in its counter terrorism war.
Yet, little has been achieved. It is regrettably that the sovereign status of the Nigerian state is threatened and because of its failure to put an end to the terrorist activities, the security situation is worsening in the country.
The call by the National Assembly and other important stakeholders to have the service chiefs replaced by the President but which has been rejected is quite unfortunate. Despite the unimaginable spate of killings, kidnappings and extortion across the nation these service chiefs are still in their positions.
On ISWAP – Islamic State in West Africa Province
We have read and heard top and low military officers lamenting on social media over their inability to overpower the blood thirsty Boko Haram and ISWAP. We have also heard of some soldiers that have abandoned their obligation to protect Nigerians; of course, we have also seen patriotic soldiers, policemen, humanitarian workers killed mercilessly.
Nigeria is currently under the siege of Boko Haram and ISWAP. Right now, innocent secondary school girls have been abducted several times, raped and married off to Boko Haram commanders.
What’s going on? The educational progress and future of many young people is being stunted. The Boko Haram and ISWAP occupation in Nigeria appears unabated. On August 19, reports said the armed forces were making progress in the war against terror because air strikes took out two ISWAP logistical facilities in Bukar Meram on the fringes of Lake Chad. However, another human interest publication same day suggested that Boko Haram – ISWAP is advancing into Kukawa town in Borno State.
In essence, are we being led by propaganda instead or factual reality? The success of the terrorist networks in the northern Nigeria is symbolic; it simply means that Nigeria is beginning to wear the garment of a failed state. What is a failed state? A failed state is a state where there is implosion of law and order.
The national and territorial integrity of Nigeria has been dragged into quagmire and ridicule by these terrorists – who possibly have sleeper cells even in our midst and we know not! The response of the Nigerian government to the Boko Haram and ISWAP occupation is highly questionable and worthy of investigation.
The inability of the Nigerian government to defend its territorial integrity internally has jostled the South-West into establishing Amotekun. The emergence of Amotekun is an indication of governance and security failure. Boko Haram and ISWAP occupation of towns is worrisome.
Boko Haram’s obsession in attacking, kidnapping and killing Christians such as the late Rev Lawal Andimi of EYN and a CAN local government leader is a sad, chilling message. Are we all left exposed? Escaping captives recount experiences of religious profiling where Christians are either killed or kidnapped and Muslims set free.
Travelers to the North-East are not sure of what will happen to them. They can be stopped at any point, profiled based on their religious beliefs. Similarly, anybody serving as security personnel traveling in the North-East already has a dead sentence on their head once found. Aid workers on important humanitarian work are not spared either. It’s a reign of terror!
Southern Kaduna crisis
Firstly, the protracted crisis in Southern Kaduna has mostly been between indigenous ethnic nationalities who are predominantly Christians and the Hausa-Fulani who are mostly Muslims. This incessant crisis has remote causes traceable to over four decades and the ethnic nationalities are resisting what they clearly see as a cultural and religious intrusion to their beliefs and systems through political domination supported by the powers-that-be at both federal and state levels through the years both historically and now.
These visitors have lived for a long time in Southern Kaduna and are now clearly heating the political and religious system in claiming to be owners of the land rather than as tenants. These differences eventually snow-balled into ethno-religious violence that witnessed the first violence labeled ‘The 1987 Kafanchan crisis,’ which was sparked from a crusade ground at the College of Education, Kafanchan and which later spread throughout the state.
However, some may trace the ethno-religious crisis to the 1980 Kasuwa Magani riots. Prior to this period, there was a symbiotic relationship between the indigenous ethnic groups and the Hausa and Fulani communities. Secondly, the crisis has religious connotation because whatsoever triggers conflict in the area, people garner support through their religious affiliations.
2011 presidential poll
Thirdly, the current crisis has its roots in the outcome of the 2011 presidential election results which sparked an orgy of killings in mass proportion in both Northern and Southern Kaduna. It was never about herders- farmers – crop damage and cattle rustlings. Those have always been there and, somehow, we had found traditional ways to settle them.
Fourthly, the influx of foreign herders into Southern Kaduna and, in fact, the Middle Belt and North-West has been a major cause of the crisis. These foreign Fulani are wild, dangerous and deadly. But they could not have succeeded without the support of local Fulani who show them the way to the settlements of ethnic nationality peoples of Southern Kaduna.
To further compound this complex web of animosity, criminal elements among the Fulani ventured into kidnapping and now are making more money from kidnapping and armed robbery than cattle rearing. Sadly, the government failed woefully in arresting the intrusion of these foreign Fulani attackers. Ironically these are the group the Kaduna State Governor Mallam Nasir El-Rufai said he had to pay to settle them because some of their people were killed in Southern Kaduna during the 2011 election violence – yet the attacks on innocent people of Southern Kaduna have continued unabated.
Fifthly, the crisis is political motivated because of the Fulanization agenda of Nigeria as agitated by the Miyetti Allah cultural association. This was confirmed by one Ardo Bulama who sent out an audio recording message warning Christians in Southern Kaduna and called them “arnas” and that the Fulani will kill them all.
He claimed that Christians did what they wanted during Governor Patrick Yakowa regime. Yakowa was the first and last democratically elected governor who is a Christian from Southern Kaduna. By the way, Yakowa was never accepted by some elements within the Muslim community. Ardo Bulama suggested that now, they – perhaps the Fulani will kill all Christians in Southern Kaduna.
There is no way that such killings with impunity will not decimate the population of indigenous Christians in Southern Kaduna. The strategy of depopulating ethnic nationalities who are predominantly Christians in order to re-populate them with Hausa-Fulani should not be taken for granted. This is not about introducing religion into the crisis for religion and politics has already taken hold of us all unless we retrace our steps.
Sixth, in any society where there is fairness and justice, there will be peace and harmony. The government of the day, both federal and state, appears not to have the serious commitment required to promote justice, inclusiveness and de-escalate the attacks and the minimal counter attacks in self-defense. Seventh, propaganda and hate speech by some religious leaders worsened the situation in Southern Kaduna.
Lekwot: Hate speech in name of religion
The people of Southern Kaduna are working hard to ensure that they live in peace and it is disheartening that the Supreme Council of Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN), in a public press conference on August 13, demanded that General Zamani Lekwot with (G-9) Atyap leaders should be killed so that peace will return to Southern Kaduna.
This is strange to me. What else is hate speech? Has anybody gone after them? Of the nine convicted following the Zango Kataf 1992 riots, and later pardoned by the late General Sani Abacha, only two are alive today, General Zamani Lekwot (rtd) and ACP Jury Babbang Ayok (rtd), while Yahaya Duniya, Major (rtd) James Atomic Jude, Yunana Karau, Zamanani Kazzah, Gankon Dawa, Jonathan Yashim and Markus Mamman are all gone ahead of us from this world beyond.
How could someone be asking for their second death and for this to be a basis of peace? It’s a shame. Touching General Zamani Lekwot will only worsen the situation and will never bring peace as hatefully being campaigned by those who addressed this press conference to spew out their hate speech in the name of religion.
The political structure of Nigeria is one that is fraught with controversies. The structure pits the North against the South and Muslims against Christians. A critical look at the political landscape suggests an obvious neglect of Southern region and Christians in powerful and influential top government positions. This doesn’t reflect the reality of a Nigerian heterogeneous state. Nigeria is a multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation.
This fact is not reflected in governance. The consequent effect of this is the surge in agitation in the country for a more inclusive government, while extreme calls have been seen with a call to a Biafra State and Oduduwa Republic; secessionist agendas. Unless well-managed these could have too dire a consequence on us as a nation. The continued insecurity in the nation has triggered calls for restructuring.
Regrettably, the submission of the 2014 National Conference on community policing has been met with stiff opposition. Over centralization of police is not a true reflection of federalism. Government’s handling of security issues makes one question the sincerity of this government.
The worst storm in Southern Kaduna has attracted global attention on the plight of innocent civilians, particularly Christian communities that have been subjected to inhumane treatment as many innocent women and children are hacked to death ultimately.
Marginalization of Christians
It is significant to define the North in Nigeria. To majority of the people in the South-East, South-South and South-West, the North is one. This is not true! Neither the South nor North is heterogeneous. The North is not monolithic. The north is neither a single religious nor one political entity. The North has never been one.
The North like the rest of Nigeria is multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural. The Middle- Belt is not just a name, an idea or a concept. It is a reality. The challenges of poverty, illiteracy and Islamic ideological radicalization are old and new demons afflicting the North. Over population where birth control has been thrown overboard especially in the Muslim community is a real danger which stares us all in the face.
The marginalization of Christians is commonplace in the far North. The systemic persecution of Christians is historical. The sustained physical violence and attacks on Christians have been on for nearly four decades now.
Boko Haram and ISWAP have come with vicious venom. ISWAP targets mostly only Christians while Boko Haram targets Christians and Muslims who oppose them. Christians do not get to occupy high positions that easily. In fact, it is offered to them more as tokenism. In the far North, virtually all key government positions are occupied by Muslims.
There is manipulation and intimidation of Christians in the Middle Belt by powerful Muslim leaders. Many Christian girls especially the Maguzawas, usually get kidnapped and converted to Islam. There are today two forms of attacks on Christians: physical attacks and the non-physical violent attacks.
Many Christian girls are losing their virginity through rape or forced sex by herdsmen, kidnappers and Boko Haram terrorists. There are also forced marriages on Maguzawa girls and women by a tyrannical majority.