The Fief and his Fiefdom: Epitula Contra El-rufainsis

The Fief and his Fiefdom:  Epitula Contra  El-rufainsis
By Rev. Fr. Williams Abba; Kaduna;

"History has seen many who claim to be deliverer and saviour of the people. They might come with force and violence and parade their might and splendour as conquerors; The Pharaohs of Egypt, Sennacheris King of Assyria, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Darius of Persia, Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Napoleon, Clive of India, Bismark, the Kaiser, Hitler, Stalin. The story and scene is always the same. They claim to deliver the people from bondage and to establish justice, freedom and peace. They come in might, ridding in splendour, dragging prisoners ".  ~~John Myer,  John Myer: A collection of his sermons and writings, #1.

 

                                                        

Introduction 

We are not in a zoo. But we are ruled by a fief who delights in treating us like we are animals,  some nincompoops! No respect for human rights,  life and rule of law. He behaves like a god and arrogates to himself the power of life and death. For residents of Kaduna, especially Southern Kaduna, life has been hellish. Criminality and brigandage have assumed an alarming proportion. In the words of the renowned British Philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, 'life is short, brutish and nasty'. 

We must give it to him. El Rufai is an intelligent person. Very smart! He has mastered the jargon of technocratic governance and has over time become the darling of NGO's, foreign donors, civil society, and neoliberal institutions (Ochonu). No wonder the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates have found in him, a worthy and trusted partner. Recently, he played host to Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of Britain who came to Kaduna for a mission: to launder the image of El Rufai and possibly, give him tutorials on the basic rudimentary rules of good governance (most certainly this won't be for gratis). He has also recently assembled the creme-de-la-creme of the literary world for the Kaduna Book Festival. Literary giants gathered in Kaduna to celebrate the gift of literature in our liberation while they turned a blind eye to the impunity of the erratic governor who has kept our  tertiary Institutions under lock and key for close to one year. What this closure portends for our children is the ubiquitous loss of a whole academic year. So the question on the lips of many was why would such intellectual giants gather in Kaduna to honour a man who by his actions has shown contempt and disregard for the education of our children? Trust Nigerians. Many of them took to their tweeter handles to #boycottkadunabookfestival. The festival still held. 

What I have decided to do is to reproduce wholesale, the opinions of three very passionate and eminent Nigerians who have taken the governor spot on, chronicling his disastrous and cataclysmic outing as the chief executive of Kaduna State. His actions and inactions, to say the least have demonstrated that he is indeed a sectional leader, fantastically corrupt (apologies to D. Cameron) and an ethnic and religious warlord. The writings of these men, have their focus on the corrupt nature of  El Rufai and his style of governance. They have also done a scating criticism of him in very many other areas such as his bad handling of the crisis in southern Kaduna and his despotic tendencies in conducting the affairs of the State which manifest themselves in the way he alienates even his party men, most of whom worked so hard and sacrificed huge resources to realise his gubernatorial ambition. Today,  not only does he  treat them with disdain, but resorts to persecuting those he perceives as enemies.

 

EL-RUFAI, CORRUPTION, AND THE MASK OF "COMPETENCE" ( Prof. Moses Ochonu)

Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna State, who is perhaps Nigeria's most intolerant and autocratic state chief executive, has apparently been presiding over a contract bazaar for his family, aides, friends, and associates, adding yet another dimension to his growing egregiously offensive conduct and abuses of office that include slyly justifying the genocide in Southern Kaduna, paying "compensation" to the perpetrators, recklessly inflaming the volatile ethnoreligious situation in the state, detaining critics, and opportunistically and hypocritically insulting former and present political benefactors, including Obasanjo, Jonathan, Buhari, Atiku, and others. 

The said contracts, N3 billion worth, have been predictably abandoned because they were little more than fraudulent self-enrichment schemes, to begin with.

Nigerian politics is a den of thieves, but for at least a decade I have been warning Nigerians about a particular brood of thieves, which for lack of a more elegant descriptive idiom I will call the den of competent thieves. This specie of crooks comprises of thieving politicians who mask their corruption with ritualistic performances of competent leadership. 

They are the first public officials to challenge others to a public transparency contest, the first to declare their budgets to be public documents. They are lauded by BudgIT for crafting and implementing open budgets and make sure that they co-opt renown international and local developmental partners into their programs, knowing that these agencies would then become their unwitting propaganda arm. It is good political and technocratic theater. 

The competently corrupt can make mesmerizing presentations with or without notes or PowerPoint slides and hide their thievery behind confusing numbers, graphs, eloquent speeches, and pie charts. When accused of corruption or other misconduct they do not retreat or perform contrition and are not rattled. Instead they arrogantly go on the offensive. They deploy counterattacks and counter-accusations as a tactic of deflection, distraction, and defense. 

These gestures are all carefully publicized and calculated to reinforce the public perception that they are competent, intelligent, and different from the average Nigerian politician. It is an elaborate charade.

The competently corrupt are media savvy; they work the press and seduce and induce them into buying their obfuscation, sophistry, and glib rhetoric. The thing is that they do not believe that the laws and rules governing the conduct of public officials apply to them. 

Almost a decade ago, I wrote to criticize the competent corruption of Charles Soludo, whom I took the liberty of inducting into the fraternity of the competently corrupt even as details of his shady dealings in office were emerging to complicate the emerging myth of his competent revolution in the Nigerian banking sector. That was before Sanusi Lamido Sanusi came and exposed the rot that Soludo incubated and nurtured as CBN governor.

Because of his reputation for competence, some people did not believe that Soludo was capable of corruption and not only rose to his defense but also accused Saharareporters, which published evidence of his corruption, of trying to sully his reputation. Some people said, "eh, he was corrupt but at least he did something good in the banking sector." As long as there were some Nigerians who saw Soludo as a competent central bank governor and who believed that his competence and perceived or performed intelligence should cancel out his corruption in office, Soludo could not be held accountable. And he has not been held accountable. 

Some Nigerians believe that politicians and bureaucrats perceived as intelligent and competent deserve different ethical rules, and therein lies the problem.

Nasir El-Rufai is perhaps the most illustrious member of the club of the competently corrupt. His articulateness and technocratic awareness relative to other Nigerian politicians have served to inoculate him against accountability. As a result, he has arrogantly continued to thump his nose at rules and laws while craftily and fraudulently playing the competence and "good governance" cards. 

Remember when El-Rufai was accused by a Senate committee of awarding choice FCT plots of land to his wives and children? His response was neither denial nor contrition. Instead, he arrogantly told the committee that his wives, children, and friends were Nigerians and were thus entitled to said plots of FCT choice lands! This outburst exemplifies the audacious but toxic mix of corruption, arrogance, sense of entitlement, and unreflective indignation that one encounters in the competently corrupt.

El-Rufai didn't see anything wrong with his conduct as FCT minister. He certainly doesn't see anything wrong with distributing contracts to his family, friends, and aides as governor, contracts that have been abandoned according to Saharareporters.

That is how corrupt but marginally competent politicians behave. They know that their reputation for technocratic competence, deserved or not, will insulate them or at least confuse Nigerians. They almost feel entitled to a pass on account of their grammatical competence and choreographed, elaborate pretenses to governing ability. They are slick operators, hard to pin down because there are always compatriots who are taken by their polish and educated conduct and are willing to overlook all else.

Corrupt politicians perceived to be competent, enlightened, and well educated are the most dangerous kind of political thieves because they are the most difficult to hold accountable. Let me explain. The average Nigerian thieving politician attracts outright scorn because, in addition to being woefully incompetent, poorly spoken, unintelligent, pathetically under-read and uninformed, and incapable of understanding policy and poetics, he lacks the linguistic resources to express his thoughts clearly, lucidly, and persuasively. Nigerians tend not to accord these politicians any benefit of the doubt and do not try to mitigate their wrongdoing. Moreover, because they are inarticulate and unintelligent, their attempts to explain themselves or defend or deny their wrongdoing only attract more derision and unvarnished contempt.

When it comes to folks like El-Rufai, however, there are always Nigerians who will be seduced by the fact that they are better informed, more intelligent, and have better command of the English language than the average Nigerian politician. These Nigerians will extend multiple benefits of the doubt to El-Rufai and his ilk, refusing to see that intelligence and corruption can and do coexist and that in fact intelligence, perceived or real, is the perfect camouflage for corruption. 

El-Rufai knows that he can always count on this cult of competence, this naïve group of compatriots, to dilute the ethical clarity that should inform attitudes towards corrupt but pretentiously competent politicians. All that needs to happen is for consensus on the latter’s corruption to disappear and for ambivalence to enter the picture.  ¯

The competently corrupt are beneficiaries of ambivalence on the part of Nigerians regarding their corruption. That is precisely what they want and try to produce: ambivalence on their corruption profiles. 

If we cannot call corruption by its only name because the perpetrator is seen as being more intelligent, informed, and competent than the average politician, we are essentially creating a special coven or category for thieves who are beyond reproach and cannot be held accountable. These crooked politicians are all too happy to dazzle us into complicit silence with their refined English and hackneyed policy jargons. El-Rufai personifies this phenomenon.



RELIGION, GOVERNMENT AND SOUTHERN KADUNA KILLINGS ( BISHOP JOSEPH DANLAMI BAGOBIRI, CATHOLIC BISHOP OF KAFANCHAN) 

The Governor in most cases seemed to have abdicated his responsibility of being Governor to all us, and instead gave in to the luxury of waging an unrelenting media campaign against Southern Kaduna people. He unabashedly takes sides with the armed herdsmen (His kinsmen) thereby failing in his responsibility as a true statesman, becoming therefore a biased umpire who blames and criminalizes Southern Kaduna victims as the cause of the mayhem.

Southern Kaduna has for so long now been under siege by terrorists who are confirmed to be Fulani Herdsmen that are often well armed with sophisticated weapons. The attacks have been unrelenting, bloody, unprovoked, unwarranted and indeed unjustified on innocent and vulnerable peasant communities of our environment. As a result of this hundreds of people have been killed, several communities burnt with the inhabitants internally displaced, and in many cases, the remaining houses not burnt have been vandalised and stripped of roofs, windows and doors to discourage them from returning back to their homes.



We wish to commend all people of good will who have stood in solidarity with the southern Kaduna people by their condemnation of these forms of unjustified aggression against a defenseless people. We are also grateful to all those who have given support to the victims materially and through their prayers in view of the very little attention received from Government at both the State and Federal levels or their agencies. The impact of the relevant agencies responsible for relieve services such as NEMA and SEMA have been minimal. And because of Government’s bias towards the people, there is no plan for Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of the ruined environment as is the case with the North Eastern region of Nigeria, including parts of Plateau and Kano States.

It is our considered position that if Government had wielded into this matter with sincerity and seriousness, in the way she responded to the menace of rustication in Zamfara State and Birnin Gwari area in Kaduna State, things would not have gotten to the messy state they are today. The federal government exhibited a spirit of nonchalance until recently when the Vice President made some pronouncements, warning that decisive action must be taken so that the crisis will not consume all of us in the nation. The attitude of the state government has been marred by lots of complicity and bias which exacerbated rather than ameliorate tensions.

The Governor in most cases seemed to have abdicated his responsibility of being Governor to all us, and instead gave in to the luxury of waging an unrelenting media campaign against Southern Kaduna people. He unabashedly takes sides with the armed herdsmen (His kinsmen) thereby failing in his responsibility as a true statesman, becoming therefore a biased umpire who blames and criminalizes Southern Kaduna victims as the cause of the mayhem. The Governor has made several efforts in the media to discredit figure of casualties that were arrived at through painstaking research, and is known for trying to change the true narrative by presenting the victims as the villain and the aggressors as the prey. The Governor has the penchant of using state apparatus to insult, denigrate, intimidate, arrest and put in prison all voices of reason from Southern Kaduna who dare to challenge his handling of this crisis. Among those that have fallen victims of his tyranny are: traditional rulers, journalists, youths, political leaders, academics, while threatening our lawyers and other leaders (Religious and Unions) with arrest for daring to speak out against the genocide.

The primary responsibility of government as enshrined in the constitution is the protection of life and property of citizens irrespective of ethnic and/or religious persuasion. Any breach of this fundamental principle of social contract contravenes the very reason for which Government exist for. Unfortunately, our government both at the Federal and State levels have failed woefully in this regard because of their inability to rise above ethnic and religious bias. If anything, government has shown outright partisanship in favor of the herdsmen to the disappointment of the majority Southern Kaduna indigenes and Christians. Because of Government’s inability to serve as an un-biased umpire in the face of these crises, we are sometimes tempted to belief that there is a well planned Jihad against the people of Southern Kaduna, and Christians generally in Northern Nigeria as this is amply demonstrated by the incessant attacks and atrocities committed against the aborigines of the Middle Belt region in Northern Nigeria. The sole aim of these attacks is to conquer our people and occupy their lush lands and turning same into grazing fields for the marauding nomads. The Governor of Kaduna State is pursuing this detestable policy by his plan to forcefully take over lands in Southern Kaduna and turn same to Grazing Reserves and Routes for his kinsmen. To show Government’s insensitivity on this volatile matter, there are ongoing expansionist plans to annex more land to the already existing grazing reserves at Ladduga in Ikulu Chiefdom of Zangon Kataf Local Government area and transmute that locality from being a district into an eimirate.

The killings continue unabatedly in fields and bushes, thereby preventing farmers from visiting and cultivating their lands. This is happening today as the Military and other security forces mount road blocks in towns and major roads while bushes remain un-safe for farming. In the Godogodo and Pasakori attacks in Jemaá Local government area for example, the military merely watched and supervised the killings and burning of homes on the pretext that their mandate did not include fighting the herdsmen. When the youth mobilized themselves to repel the attackers, the soldiers deliberately blocked them from entering the town. The herdsmen and their collaborators turned the towns into killing fields and killed mostly women, children and the elderly who couldn’t run for cover. The level of barbarity was such that pregnant women got their wombs blown out and massacred before their children. And these innocent children were not spared either. This level of viciousness was never witnessed even in the brutal tyranny and regime of Adolf Hitler. What is most intriguing is the level of sophistication of weapons; Ak 47, Machine Guns and many other deadly instruments of death are being freely used by the Herdsmen, leaving many wondering how these weapons got to their hands.

 

El-Rufai, promotion of philosophy of un-forgiveness

The Governor has described the Fulanis as vindictive and un-forgiven people. This may simply be the projection of the Governor’s own mindset to an entire people. Our experience living with Fulanis for decades does not prove this. The indigenous communities of Southern Kaduna have been living peacefully with the Fulani herdsmen who came to join them as neighbors until the architects of the view that the average Fulani man is vindictive and un-forgiving came into power. The mayhem and killing with impunity in Southern Kaduna and the Middle Belt region and beyond by the Fulani Herdsmen, using sophisticated weapons is a recent development fueled by this kind of philosophy. To present any person or group of persons as genetically revengeful and to go ahead to support and sponsor a praxis of retaliation as we are witnessing in Kaduna State today, is not only a detestable behavior but an evil mentality that will not engender social cohesion and harmonious coexistence in a plural and heterogeneous setting such as ours. 

The natives and herdsmen of Southern Kaduna have always had their differences as is common in herdsmen and farmers relationship everywhere in the world. These differences sometime end up in clashes and skirmishes resulting from invasion of each other’s spaces, but such differences have assumed an un-precedented height under the current government with the use of very sophisticated weapons of destruction. What we are witnessing in Kaduna state is not the so called un-forgiving spirit of the Fulani people towards others, but the transfer of a hate mentality from a handful of people in leadership within the State to an entire ethnic group, with disastrous consequences. All humans are created by God with rationality and the milk of human kindness in their hearts. This often shows itself in love expressed in mercy, compassion and forgiveness. No rational human person is created without the disposition to overlook some offences committed against him or her. Only those with dead consciences are indisposed to show compassion and forgiveness.

 A world that does not forgive is doomed to fail. An eye for an eye philosophy renders the whole world blind it is said. Describing an entire people as un-forgiven is not a plus but a minus for such people. If the Fulanis stop the aggression in Southern Kaduna today, there will be peace in the environment and the entire State. The non retaliation of Christians to great abuses and violations of their human rights is termed as weakness, which is not correct. God has put the feeling of mercy and compassion in each of us regardless of our ethnicity and religious affiliations. If Southern Kaduna had been trouble shooting people, they too would have established militia groups and go on rampage in domains other than theirs. But alas this is not what is happening. They are being attacked in their sleep and places of worship right in the land that divine providence has given as their own. And even at that, they are told not to defend themselves in the face of aggression.

The earlier we rediscover this truth of conscience (that all rational beings are imbued with a spirit of mercy and compassion) and begin to live this truth to the full, the better for our Society. Therefore the promotion of the philosophy that any offence committed is like a debt that must be avenged for either now or in the future is not only false and un-wholesome but it is the figment and projection of the personal idiosyncrasies of a few but powerful people. This mindset if not checked and corrected has the potential to erode the fabric of any social organization.

Government should stop impunity in Southern Kaduna

The killings with impunity in Southern Kaduna must not be allowed to continue. And Government in the State has a special and irreplaceable role in bringing this scourge to an end. The current Government in the State must follow the example of past Governments by initiating measures that would unify rather than divide the people of the State on ethnic and religious lines as this Government has been doing since its inception. We have had our challenges on harmonious coexistence in the past. But past Governments demonstrated statesmanship in Governance by bringing stake holders across board to parley on how to resolve our indifference. The current administration in the State seems to dread this kind of interface which had proven to be effective in the past. Government must change its attitude from alignment with people of one ethno-religious group in the State, she must resist the temptation of acting as the mouthpiece of one group against others and begin to display true statesmanship in seeing and treating the entire state as its constituency. 

The current Government got it all wrong right from the beginning when it openly stated that she will treat the citizens of the State not on the merits of their being Kaduna state indigenes but on the basis of who voted and who did not vote for the party that won the election. This is a wrong premise to operate under a democracy such as ours, which promotes and respects diversity particularly on political matters. We cannot all become members of one Party in Kaduna state. It is unfortunate that this kind of segregational mindset seems to be teleguiding government’s policies, utterances, appointments, and the distribution of infrastructure for development and social initiatives. This Government has taken discrimination on religious and ethnic lines to a height that has never been witnessed in the history of Kaduna.

 Today we are left with a situation where there is much concentration of development in the North and Central Senatorial districts to the utter neglect of the Southern Senatorial District which is predominantly Christian. The Northern part of the State monopolizes the Executive, the legislature, the Judiciary and occupies all slots of federal appointments such as the ministerial and those of parastatals. This disgusting mentality of premeditated discrimination and marginalization is shown by the lopsidedness in both political appointments, locations of infrastructural facilities, and worst still the delineations of political constituencies and polling units which institutionalizes rigging at source. While the Hausa/Fulani dominated areas in Kaduna State have cornered over 48 Federal Institutions to their domain, southern Kaduna can hardly boast of one of such institutions in her domain. Instead of the current government to work towards redressing this disturbing, inhuman and unjust imbalance, she is rather shamelessly contemplating the removal of the Kaduna State University (KASU) Campus and the College of Education (COE) from Southern Kaduna to his Fulani dominated space. What a shame and a slap to justice, fairness and objectivity in dealing with people.

Government must watch her utterances and actions especially on the following areas: Her handling of the indigeneship question which deprives the citizens of the State rights to occupy some offices within the State, because these have been given to non-State indigenes and yet the Governor makes no effort in finding placements for Southern Kaduna people in places like Katsina and Sokoto States for instance, to justify his negation of the Constitutional principle of indigeneship; the concentration of key political appointments in the hands of people of one religion; the use of provocative and denigrating language on the issue of the population of Christians and Muslims in Kaduna State; the deliberate attempt to silence any voice of reason that is at variance with that of Government; the abuse of the instruments of governance in the wrongful detention and imprisonment of people Government feels un-comfortable with; the arrogance of showing “we know it all” which disallows wide consultation before embarking on major policy decisions like the feeding programme in primary Schools ( a misplacement of priority), which has become an avenue for corruption and siphoning of public funds; and several un-guarded utterances on thorny issues affecting the lives of millions in the State, which are a clear manifestation of the Governor’s insensitivity to concerns and plights of many in the State.

Managing Kaduna as El-Rufai’s personal estate

In all these we have watched with pains and patience for about two years now how Government in the State is being managed as a personal estate in a way that excludes many stake holders from the State. We want to state emphatically that Kaduna State is for all of us, regardless of political, ethnic and religious affiliations. Therefore, the Governor should stop running it as his personal establishment. Kaduna State is the only State that we can call our own. And because Kaduna State is our State, we are contributing significantly for its progress not only on the Spiritual level, but also our works in the areas of education, medi-care, social upliftment and building of capacities of the people. Government must recognize us as equal stake holders in the management and running of the affairs of the State. We will not accept being treated as aliens in our State.

Those that divine providence have enthrusted with the chilling responsibility of governing the State politically must govern justly and in a manner that includes not one that excludes other segments of the State. We therefore ask for Good Governance in Kaduna State that will include the following:

That those who take up the mantle of leadership will see the whole state as their Constituency and so should devout themselves conscientiously to ensure Justice and fairness for all irrespective of Religious, ethnic and political considerations.

That they will work hard to ensure equitable distribution of political offices among adherents of the two main religions in the State. That they will see to it that in the application and use of resources that had accrued to the State and the siting or locating of developmental projects and services for the improvement of the quality of life of the people, that due regard is given to the North/South divide in the State and that no part of the State is placed in a disadvantaged position. That the delineation of constituencies and siting of polling units which was arbitrarily and fraudulently carried out in the past to ensure rigging from the source in favour of one section and religion in Kaduna State must be revisited and corrected using both the geographical and numeric data that were ignored when the current policy was foisted on the people.

We also demand that giving the destruction that has taken place in Southern Kaduna in terms of loss of lives and properties, that the policy of reconstruction and rehabilitation undertaken by the Federal Government in respect of the North East and some parts of Plateau and Kano State must be extended to Southern Kaduna not as a concession but an entitlement. We ask that a bill for this be presented at both State and National Legislative assemblies.That they will see to it that the success achieved so far in the promotion of a culture of Religious and ethnic harmony in the State by the Makarfi and other past administrations in the State are not only sustained but further built upon and strengthened.

Spate of persecution of Christians in Northern Nigeria

Christians in Northern Nigeria and especially in Southern Kaduna today, have in the past seven years been facing some of the worst persecutions ever experienced in the world as a result of their faith. The persecution of Christians in Northern Nigeria is so severe that within 10 years (2006-2014), according to the report of a research carried out by the Open Doors Ministry on the impact of persecution and violence on the Church in Northern Nigeria reveals that: 12,000 Christians were killed, 1,3m displaced and 13,000 churches were either destroyed or abandoned (Anne Mulder report).

So we can safely surmise that we have been programmed to be annihilated because we don’t share the same cultural, religious and political convictions as obtainable in the entire North West, North East and North Central Geo-political zones of the Country. These systematic attacks have political and economic undertones. They are aimed at intimidating the populace and weakening their political and economic engagements thereby heightening their level of poverty.

In Southern Kaduna, which is also within the Northern geographic area (where Kafanchan diocese is located), the persecution, killings and destruction of the Church is not only phenomenal but unprecedented. There are mass graves littered in different places within the region that include: Katsak around Gidan waya and Godogodo in Jemaá Local Government Area; Fadan Karshi axis in Sanga Local Government; Moroa Chiefdom in Kaura local Government area; Zonkwa axis in Zangon Kataf Local government area etc. Between 2014 – 2017 current records show that well over 1,000 people have been killed in more than 4 Local Government Areas mainly by Fulani Herdsmen in Southern Kaduna. These sporadic attacks occurred in about 56 villages/Communities. These sporadic assaults left several people injured and some are maimed for life. The number of houses destroyed are over 1,500 and not less than twenty churches were destroyed and properties worth N5billion are lost which include houses, shops, schools, food stores/barns, farmlands and vehicles[i] etc… These casualties resulting mainly from the attacks of Fulani Herdsmen who constitute the forth deadliest terrorist organization in the world today, qualify Southern Kaduna to enlisted in the Federal Government programme of Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of our ruined environment.

 

Discrimination against Christians in Northern Nigeria as structural, institutionalized matter

Discrimination against Christianity in favour of Islam is a matter of everyday experience for those who live in the Northern part of Nigeria. It is not an isolated phenomenon. It is something structuralized and institutionalized. This is further compounded today with the extension of the scope of Sharia from merely affecting matters that are personal and civil in nature to those that now affect the criminal dimensions of our existence, where some States now own their Islamic Police force called Hisbah that enforces the Sharia law. In most instances when Christians and Muslims are involved in criminal activities such as violence through insurgency and looting that sometimes accompanied such crisis and both are arrested and brought to face Justice before the judiciary, the Muslim culprits often get released during trial while the Christian suspects are left languishing in detentions and sometimes in prisons over offences that both sides committed. This is one of the dangers of operating a dual legal system or ideology in one Country.

In some places in Northern Nigeria where Sharia operates, Muslims sometimes get away with murder cases, as was the case with the Christian woman (Bridget) in Kano. She was lynched to death over trumped up charges of blasphemy. Her killers were quickly acquitted and discharged under a Sharia Court.

 Discrimination and marginalization of Christians in Northern Nigeria are common daily experiences. The areas where these evils are perpetrated are many and are widely spread and entrenched in the length and breadth of the Northern Region. Christians for instance suffer persecution and marginalization in the following areas:

1. Refusal of Government to grant permit or Certificate of Occupancy for the building of Churches. This makes the situation of our Churches vulnerable to demolition by over enthusiastic State Governments, especially those that have adopted Islam as a State religion contrary to the prohibition of this by the Nigerian Constitution in Section 10.

2. Destruction of Churches at the slightest provocation by Government and sometimes by extremists who like taking the law to their hand. A recent example of this is the destruction of two big churches in Jigawa State belonging to the Redeem and The Lord Chosen churches in that state.

3. Discrimination and unequal opportunities in the areas of employment, recruitment or admissions in Public educational facilities, lopsided nature of appointments into key offices of Government and parastatals.

4. Forceful take-over of Mission Schools in 1972 and lack of compensation for the owners. Some of these Schools had their Christian names changed to Islamic names.

5. The refusal to allow the teaching of Christian Religious knowledge in Government Schools.

6. The abduction and forceful conversion of under aged Christian girls to Islam

7. None broadcast of Christian programmes particularly in the State owned mass media.

8. None provision of burial grounds for deceased Christians etc…

9. Lack of fairness in establishing Federal Presence: In Kaduna State for instance, there are 19 Federal institutions in the Northern senatorial zone, 29 in the Central zone and not a single Federal tertiary School in the Southern Senatorial Zone.

10. Unjust delineation of electoral wards, constituencies . This has put the Southern Senatorial Zone in Kaduna State in a politically disadvantaged position. This policy that is often described as rigging election from the source has effectively made it impossible for anyone from SK to ever emerge as the governorship flag bearer of any major political party. Neither can SK ever decide any issue in the State House of Assembly, because of the great preponderance of representation from the Muslim side.

All these are expressions of injustices perpetrated in the name of religion. We are also witnesses of the systematic proselytization through stealth, forced migration and now the use of UNSPEAKABLE AND UN-IMAGINABLE violence often expressed in martyrdom and mass murder of the indigenous people of the Middle Belt in Northern Nigeria

Conclusion:

Despite these imbalances in our Nation and in our State, here we are again celebrating another feast of the resurrection of Christ. The fact of our Lord’s resurrection revolutionized the lives of the disciples of Christ. It transformed them from being a timid and sometimes a seemingly clueless group of disciple, to a fearless and courageous team that turned Jerusalem at some point upside down. Our faith therefore in the risen Christ must so influence and transform our lives as it did to the lives of the disciples of Christ particularly at the times of persecution such as we are facing. The injustices in our Society not withstanding, we exhort believers not to be fainthearted but courageous in facing the challenges of our time. We are to renew our faith and commitment to the living and resurrected Jesus, who triumphed over death and evil as the way to surmounting all the abuses and discrimination that we suffer in nigeria today. 

 

"SOUTHERN KADUNA UNDER SIEGE BY FG, DANBAZZAU AND EL-RUFAI (George Makeri) 

Yesterday 25th July 2017, enter El-rufai and Dambazau into Kajuru, Adara land, in their bid to make Kaduna great again. The Fulani community in Kajuru welcomed them, lamenting a reprisal attack carried out by the Adara youth against Fulani earlier attacks. The Miyetti Allah spokesperson said, 'ba za mu yadda ba.' Meaning 'we won't forgive'. El-rufai pledged 'justice' would be done and the Fulani crowd there present shouted: 'Allahuakbar'. Dambazau nodded his approval. The 'Amirullah' Governor El-rufai has declared a jihad on Adara in Kajuru in the presence of the Al-amin Dambazau...

Baba Onomza was riding his wife home when they both heard an unusual noise outside. The young man moved to pull free from his wife, but the wife, enjoying the ride, held him back - she wanted him to take her home first, before attending to any other business. The husband reluctantly succumbed to his wife's yearning. Unfortunately, before Baba Onomza could complete his duty as a husband, he saw his door, made of cheap wooden material, gave in to the blows of some security men. The next thing, he was whisked from his wife to a waiting van. He met other young men like himself stuffed together like sardines in the van. The act of making Kaduna great again has begun in Adaraland.

I was not going to say anything about the Kajuru skirmishes, but one of my fans pleaded with me to. Some Fulani bandits entered an Adara community in Kajuru. In response, some Adara youth from that community went after the murderous bandits. After the crackdown on the dangerous bandits, the brave Adara youths were feeling like Jack Bauer and expecting a pat on the back for bursting a notorious Fulani criminal syndicate - a feat the Nigerian police could only hope to accomplish, only in Nollywood or Kannywood. What they got instead, were handcuffs from the police who were under instructions to work only for Fulanis - be they stalkers or lunatics, robbers or murderers. The Fulanis mobilised to move into the village for mass massacre of the Adara folk, but met an impasse. As they were retreating, they hit on easy targets killing over ten Adara folk. Going by El-rufai's reprisal philosophy, the Adara youths mobilised and hit back at the Fulanis... 

The truth is, these Adara people, (we call them 'Anumapa' meaning Adara people from the hills) are still holding tradition strongly. The youths are equally eager to die than the Fulanis are eager to live. It would be fatal for the Fulanis to attempt invasion. And anytime the Fulanis fail in their bid to invade a community with serious consequences against them, they deploy federal might on the community. Since yesterday, federal forces have been invading different Adara homes and conducting tireless arrests. As I write, more Adara people are being arrested. Ironically, not only were Fulani people not equally arrested, but the Fulani civilians were the ones leading the team of federal forces into the homes of those to be arrested. Yet Al-amin Dambazau will stand on a righteous ground to say people should stop giving criminal elements ethnic nor religious colouration.

Adara people are being arrested for daring to defend their communities. This is the usual aftermath of any Dambazau visit. We saw it in Ife, Mambilla Plateau in Taraba, etc, and now in Kajuru my native community. Earlier this year, a man's hand was chopped off by a Fulani neighbour in Damishi Chikun Local Government area as he bemoaned cows invading his small farm. In his own words, the farm was his own cow. I and my Comrades went to see this man at the hospital and all we heard were tales of woes. As the poor farmer had expended well over 600, 000 naira, he didn't have, trying to get well. His underage kids were detailed to be arrested by the police, while his Fulani aggressor walks freely. The police and the court were both acting the role of Sir Toby in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night on the matter.

We all know in Nigeria today, only the Fulanis kill and keep killing with the government looking the other way. But whenever, on very rare occasion, the Fulanis are killed, the government becomes involved with Dambazau talking peace in the public and declaring war in the secret by ordering for massive arrest of non-fulanis. Even Senator Kwankwaso flew past Southern Kaduna (that has been an abattoir of human slaughter by the Fulanis) to be in Ife, preaching peace there. The Police boss swung into action by arresting over 20 persons of exclusively Ife origin, absent the hausas who instigated the skirmishes in molesting and bullying an Ife daughter, the moment Dambazau left. The governor Darius was summoned to Abuja over the Taraba Mambilla matter. Presently, the same arrests are being conducted against my own Adara after Dambazau was spotted in Kajuru alongside the Governor El-rufai. The notorious Doctor Haruna Usman openly threatened reprisals right there before Dambazau and El-rufai. Not only is Haruna still walking freely but El-rufai became Haruna's errand boy by publicising the statement. Like the arrest conducted in Ife, Haruna claimed he has a list of people to be arrested. It is Haruna who will now show El-rufai who to arrest and who not to. The same Haruna who claimed responsibility for the Godogodo massacres in December 2016.

Why El-rufai, unlike Ishaku Darius of Taraba, was not summoned to Abuja, beats me. It is clear to all that religion and ethnic prejudices guide the decisions of this country's leadership with Dambazau in the lead. This makes coalition among all other non-hausafulanis in this country very necessary, since the government never recognises them whenever they are attacked by Fulanis, but does the reverse whenever Fulanis are attacked. This makes the visit of Dr. JD to the IPOB leader a welcome development. More of such visits across the length and breadth of Nigeria should be encouraged and supported by all non-hausafulanis as we are gradually being turned into aliens in our own country by the mistakes in power. I do not subscribe to joining the Igbos as second class citizens, because I don't fancy that, but as equal citizens on the table. Southern Kaduna leaders must learn to extend the hands of friendship across the Niger with the Afenifere and the Igbos. El-rufai's idea of making Kaduna great is obvious enough.

 

POSTSCRIPT:

The pain is indescribable in the hearts of these writers. And each of them wrote genuinely out of love for our dear state, sheer patriotism. What one sees very glaringly is the massive deployment of intellect without wisdom. Of what use is intelligence without wisdom, empathy and human KINDNESS? Undoubtedly, El Rufai lacks these key ingredients. He is interested in grabbing power and holding onto it regardless. He needs to understand that democracy doesn't work that way. The one so elected into public office must  have an incredible bout of tolerance for diverse opinion. What has transpired in the State within the two years of his administration is nothing other than arbitrary display of might and subtle attempt at clamping down on dissenting voices. Luka Biniyat is holed up in prison and ridiculous bail conditions have been imposed. This impunity has to give way for a more accommodating attitude. The Governor must realise that he is governor over all and must strive to rule with fairness, equity and justice. It's disheartening to see how he has polarised the State. These days we hear that he is junketing from one LG to the other  for Jumaat prayers and of course leveraging on that to score some cheap political points.  Unfortunately, a sectional leader like him aspires to occupy the highest office in the land. We wait to see how this pans out and hope for a change of heart and style of governance.

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