The International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of law is strongly warning that Nigeria is speedily becoming the African capital or safe haven for Islamic insurgencies. If nothing concrete and drastic is done in coming few years, the country will likely become ‘Somalia’ and ‘Afghanistan’ in terms of ‘industrial scale’ devastation and destruction of lives and properties and turning of the country into rubbles and ruins.
This is more so when Nigeria has explosive population, internationally estimated at over 200m and in the event of the country’s explosion into ‘complex humanitarian emergencies’ or intractable ethno-religious conflict, the humanitarian crises arising from same will submerge the whole of Africa, Europe, Asia and Americas. The international community including UN, EU, US, UK, Canada, Japan, Australia and others are hereby put on proactive notice before it is too late.
Going by our recent research findings, what looks like jihad-friendly central governance in Nigeria is encouraging steady movement and settlement of foreign jihadists into the country as well as formation, splitting and escalation of ‘indigenous’ others. These are in addition to rise in state actor and non-state actor conflict profiteering and profiteers.
The ‘capitalisation’ of Nigeria as ‘new African Capital for Islamic Insurgencies’ is further fueled by alliances formed back in June and July 2020 by all the jihadist groups operating in the country, masterminded by the Ibrahim Shekau faction of the Boko Haram Islamic terror group and soft spot for the jihadists particularly jihadist Fulani herdsmen by the present Government of Nigeria. Totality of these is fueling massive movement of Jihadists’ into Nigeria and their ceaseless and untamed attacks on Christian communities or settlements including their churches and sources of livelihood. The number of main and splinter Islamic jihadist groups has therefore increased from three (Boko Haram, indigenous Jihadist Fulani herdsmen and Ansaru) in Jan 2015 to 21 as at this day in 2021.
Converging In Nigeria To Terrorise Black African Christians & Moderate Muslims
Continentally speaking, Islamic terrorism and their terrorists who have risen formidably in Sahel and Maghreb areas, joined by the Fulani, Shuwa (or Baggara) and Kanuri jihadists from Sudan, Chad, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon, etc are relocating to Nigeria to attack, terrorise and Islamise with great speed and ferocity the peoples, territories and Governments of Christian held areas of the continent and some secular Muslim countries and their Governments. Their safe haven in Nigeria appears to have been secured following the rise to power by key figures of the Fulani population and round-the-clock State protection of the Fulani Herdsmen and others and their jihadist activities
Today, Nigeria is home to 21 main and splinter Islamic jihadist or terror groups that massacre thousands of Christians yearly and levy property wars against them. The 21 main and splinter jihadist groups are originally five in number with additional 15 splinter groups and-more Jihadist Groups are finding their way into Nigeria with latest arrival of another called: “Sojojin Khalifa Jihadists”, now operating within Borno, Bauchi and Gombe axis in the Northeast, and this brings their total number to 21. The originally five Islamic Groups are: Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP), Boko Haram (two splinter groups), Ansaru or Movement for the Emancipation of Muslims in Black Africa, Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and their indigenous, Shuwa and Kanuri (foreign) affiliates and the Jihadist ‘Bandits and their 12 splinter groups operating in Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kastina and different parts of the Middle Belt including remote parts of Abuja and Niger State-Nigeria’s largest landmass State (76,000km2).
Among these 21 main and splinter jihadist groups now operating in Nigeria, the Jihadist Fulani herdsmen, backed by the country’s security forces since mid 2015, are the most widely spread and religiously atrocious. Their jihadist activities wholly and originally targeted at Christians of the Old Middle Belt and other Northern Christian areas including Southern Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, Adamawa and Taraba States and lately Christian parts of Niger State and the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja); have now spread to all Christian held parts of the country including Southeast and South-south and most of the Christian areas of the Southwest.
Further, Nigeria is also likely to have emerged Africa’s safest haven for illicitly procured and held small arms and light weapons (SALWs) including being home to estimated over 6m of them. This notoriety likely to have earned by the country is also likely to have put the country at par with the failed State of Afghanistan-presently the world’s most illicitly militarised and ‘weaponized’ with over 6m small arms and light weapons in circulation and wrong hands. Signs are already clear from different parts of Nigeria indicating that victims and potential victims’ communities experiencing jihadist terror attacks are poised to resort to ‘industrial scale’ self help including taking up arms to defend themselves and their ancestral places of birth, living and worship.
Already the Nigerian security forces, organised by the government of the day, are heavily accused of not only being grossly biased but also incompetently losing their grips on the country’s land, marine, border and space security. Owing to the level of conspiracy by the present heavily Muslim controlled central Government of Nigeria, Nigeria is about earning, if not already earned same notorious status, earned by the Islamic Republic of Sudan under the ousted administration of Gen Omar Hassan el-Bashir. During his atrocious regime, Sudan was not only accused of sponsoring terrorism but also providing secret safe havens for a number of al-Qaeda leaders including but limited to late Osama bin Laden. This is in addition to funding and militarization of the Sudanese Janjaweed terror militias’; sobriquet “Islamic Fulani Janjaweed militants (in Nigeria)”.
Muslim Domination Of Security Forces Encourages Safe Haven For Jihadists
The strongly suspected safe haven status earned by Nigeria for headquartering Islamic Insurgencies is also fueled by domination and control of the country’s security forces by way of appointments or promotions and postings by Muslims particularly by senior officers of Hausa-Fulani Muslim extraction and deliberate or systematic exclusion or skewed elevation of their counterparts from old Eastern Nigeria and Mid West. These have not only brought about physical and psychological fears of insecurity among the 100m Christian population in the country particularly the Christians of Northern and old Eastern and Mid Western Nigeria but also responsible for the country’s security woes including crass incompetence in general securitisation and deepened divisions along ethno-religious lines.
For instance, apart from uproar-generated recent lopsided promotions in the Nigeria Police Force, the latest postings carried out by the Nigerian Army and made public yesterday, 9th Jan 2021; sighted and studied by Intersociety are grossly lopsided and done in serious breach of Section 217(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. The Section provides that: “the composition of the officer corps and other ranks of the Armed Forces of the Federation shall reflect the federal character or geopolitical balancing of Nigeria” But in the postings involving 47 Major Generals, 163 Brig Generals, 450 Colonels, 309 Majors, 251 Captains and 322 Lieutenants, totaling 1,546 Army officers; Intersociety is shocked to note that out of the 47 Major Generals, North took 32 including 27 Muslims and South took only 15 involving Southwest seven including Muslims among the seven, South-south five and Southeast only three. In the list of 163 Big Generals posted across the country’s Army formations, North took 110 including 84 Muslims and South took 53 involving Southwest 23 including Muslims among the 23, South-south took 20 and Southeast took only 10.
A peep into the remaining postings involving 450 Colonels, 309 Majors, 251 Captains and 322 Lieutenants also indicated same gross Northern Muslim domination and control. Such jihadist and ethno-religious cleansing policy, put in place since mid 2015, is also replicated in other security establishments including Navy, Air Force, SSS, NIA and so on The link to rest of the report is here: https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/435688-exclusive-army-redeploys-generals-colonels-others.html?fbclid=IwAR1nRCba4eKpPDZ3heVQ6yP8PbiTLfQbs6km-WqAcN7EAIzXIvH33U8E8oM. The link to our latest special report on: hacking to death of 2,400 Christians in 2020 in Nigeria and 34,600 since 2009-plus unveiling of new wave of anti Christian butcheries in Africa’s Coastal Christian States, is here: http://intersociety-ng.org/component/k2/item/592-year-2020-ended-in-nigeria-with-2400-christians-hacked-to-death-by-jihadists
•Written for Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair; Ndidiamaka Bernard, Head, Int’l Justice & Human Rights; Barr Obianuju Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law and Comrade Samuel Kamanyaoku, Head, Field Data Collection & Documentation