Kaduna Vampires And A Mute Presidency–Fola Ojo

By Ikenga Chronicles December 30, 2016

Kaduna Vampires And A Mute Presidency–Fola Ojo

They usually sneak in at night armed like all-conquering marauding thieves. At odd hours and like a swarming brutish band, they crawl through the serenity of any peace loving community. Then, they descend on defenceless, slumbering men, women, and children. They slice their throats, chop off their heads, set their homes on fire, and march on their copiously swooshing blood with ugly feet of hate as a mark of triumph over innocent lives they call “infidels”. They are nasty night crawlers, blood thirsty marauders, and loose loonies. Vile, villainous, and vicious human vampires they are.

What do unfortunate victims and their loved ones caught in Fulani terrorists’ mayhem call these elements? Armed robbers? No!  Some said they are Fulani herdsmen. In some cases, they are. Some of them have no herds; but they have sophisticated bazookas and AK47s. And there are suspicions in some credible circles that they have support from puissant men hiding behind government veils. Even a dunderhead will not doubt that these are Fulani terrorists who have created wild foofaraw in several parts of northern Nigeria with their open display of despisement for “others”. Those who don’t worship their god, who don’t speak their tongues, and who are considered born-to be-ruled, fall in the category of “others” in the languid lexicon of these zany and balmy harlequin who believe they are the born-to-rule.

Recent mass killings in Southern Kaduna remind me of the horrible two-day 1992 Zangon Kataf religious crisis. Over a hundred lives were lost to senseless religious brigandage. The picture is as grim today as it was almost 30 years ago. Dead bodies of those caught in the crossfires were stacked up in trash-trucks headed for the mortuaries.  And charred human remains littered streets drenched in foul odours.

Dastardly religious insurgencies have always polarised Kaduna and the North as a whole. Friends are suspicious of one another based on differences in religious beliefs. Religious upheavals in Nigeria spring up mostly in the Middle Belt and southern fringes of the North that have for a long time cried marginalisation from the core North. And what happens after each pogrom? Nothing!  No arrest, and no prosecution. The living limply bury the dead, and the bandits return to their huts and reload and plan the next mayhem on fellow human beings whose main malefaction is believing in God of Heaven.

This festering problem in this region has given birth to outbreaks of violence.  In May 1999, Kafanchan, also in southern Kaduna State, became the unwilling host. Men took to the streets protesting the appointment of a new Emir of Jama‘a and the entire emirate system.  The Hausa minority and non-Hausa majority again went into battle. About 50 people died with scores injured.

In the latest stupidity, this time round, and still out of Kaduna, these vampires took their marching orders. This city has become (in)famous for religious insurgence and caterwaul; and its governors have always been accused of complicity in religious uprisings.

The imposed 24-hours curfew in three Local Governments – Jema’a, Kaura and Zango Kataf, did not prevent an early morning Christmas attack where lives again were wasted. Security personnel were positioned on major roads to stall any attack. The killers bypassed the mounted security; and an attack was launched in the heavily populated hinterlands. Hapless families were left defenceless and vulnerable to killer wolves in human skin who savour the taste of human blood. Many families then fled into the bushes where they took sanctuary for many days. This is what Nigerians deal with in a supposedly secular state. And there is the freedom of religion guaranteed for all in the constitution.

A major concern for many Nigerians is the unusual muteness of Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidency. Why did President Buhari keep sullenly quiet over this attack? Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesman, responded that Buhari stayed off barging into the discourse because; “…You don’t have to hear from the President on that matter. When it pays us, we talk about federalism and true federalism; yet, you want the President and the Presidency to talk about everything…when a thing like this happens in a state, there is a chief security officer and he is supposed to be on top of the matter. Governor Nasir el-Rufai was at the Villa on Thursday to brief the President; so, why should the President then be talking about it? True federalism is that the governor should be in charge and he is in charge of it…”

Unlike a few people, I have no personal beef with the presidential spokesman on what he said. Every spokesperson is expected to be loyal and committed to whomsoever he speaks for. Femi spoke for the President and the Presidency.  But it was a presidential misspeak.  If el-Rufai is truly “in charge”, the “iron dome” curfew he imposed couldn’t have been easily torn into shreds by mere miscreants. Innocent people died because the governor was not on top of things. It is obvious that el-Rufai was not in charge.

The Presidency also talked about true federalism as an excuse to grant the President a cop-out from what we know is his duty to quell insurrections. But It’s in the same federalism that naval warships were commandeered to the Niger Delta to pummel nagging militants to submission. It’s in the same federalism that mean-looking troops in their thousands were sent to the area to silence terrorism and pipeline vandalism. Why didn’t the Federal Government consider it the prerogatives of Delta and Rivers governors settling matters as it did in Kaduna’s el-Rufai?

After the mayhem of 1992 in Zangon Kataf, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida addressed the nation and threatened that any further incident of violence would be met with emergency powers last used during the Civil War. He proscribed some tribal unions, and set up a special tribunal to try all suspects arrested in connection with the disturbances. Please, don’t tell me that was under a military dictator. The narrative of prompt and appropriate leadership response is the same. The Presidency may want to borrow an idea from this.

No religious group, tribal fold, or ethnic assembly has the monopoly of violence. If this menace is not fettered fast, the terrorised may become the terroriser in reaction to prolonged terrorism they have suffered in the hands of terrorists. This is not what Nigeria needs at this time that the government seems to be focusing on restoring and rebuilding Nigeria’s dismantled economic fortunes. So, help Nigeria, God.


Photo Credit: Daily Post

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