•President Muhammadu Buhari
It is our repetition that the present State of Nigeria is gravely endangered by state actor and non state actor fueled and funded jihadist attacks and governance styles and other forms of leadership failure. The state actor foundation for these was laid as far as last quarter of 2015 or months after the present central government was sworn in. The movement for jihad in Nigeria at state actor level was practically started in 2016. Before June 2015, Nigeria was heavily under the threats of non state actor jihadist attacks with the involvement of leading radical Islamist state actors from security and political circles. In other words, the present Government of Retired Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari was invited through electoral process to govern Nigeria pluralistically and heterogeneously in peace and harmony but it came and brought jihad, blood and tears; totality of which has put the country at crossroads of uncertainties and intractable dangers.
We had as far as in July 2015, through our extensive research and investigation, uncovered the jihadist intent of the present central gpovernment and warned of its severe or catastrophic consequences. Through the central government of Nigeria’s jihadist intent layered in structural, physical and cultural violence, politics and policies of segregation, exclusion and persecution were introduced and made a major policy direction-targeted at Christian held areas of the North (old Middle Belt) and the South (old Eastern and mid Western Nigeria) and their citizens; to the extent that security and protection of the citizens’ lives and properties became tied to their ethnicity and religion. Today, ethnicity and religion have indeed become a major criterion for protecting and safeguarding lives and properties of the citizens of the country.
The most undoing of the present central Government of Nigeria was the adoption of ‘Cow or Cattle’ as a symbol of its jihadist attacks and governance styles. This is to the extent that life of a cow now matters much more than that of a living citizen of the country. Another atrocious undoing of the present central Government of the country was conversion of the country’s security forces and intelligence services into pro jihadist security establishments. This was done by having them substantially Islamised and sectionalised.
For instance, Nigerians, media practitioners and international watchers are respectfully invited to check out or investigate identities, ethnicities and religions of the present Brigade Commanders of 63 Nigerian Army Brigade (Asaba), 34 Brigade (Obinze/Owerri), 14 Brigade (Ohafia/Abia) and Cantonment Commandant of 302 Army Artillery (Onitsha). Others are Commanding Officers of Ogbaru (Anambra) and Owerre-Nta (Abia) Naval Bases, Onitsha and Abakiliki Army Engineering Regiments, 144 Nigerian Army Battalion (Asa/Aba) and those in charge of Army Battalions and Artilleries in Enugu, Ebonyi and Cross River States. Included are the present Air Officer Commanding Nigerian Air Force Bases in Enugu and Port Harcourt and their sub heads, the Principal Officers of Nigerian Army’s 82 Division in Enugu and 6 Division in Port Harcourt (including its new GOC) and Army formations in Warri, Edo, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa as well as Police AIGs in charge of Zone 9 (Umuahia), Zone 5 (Benin), Zone 6 (Calabar) and Zone 13 (Ukpo-Anambra) and State Commissioners of Police and SSS Directors of Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Abia, Ebonyi, Rivers, Cross River, Edo, Delta, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa States. Such investigations shall be done bearing in mind the clear provisions of Sections 10, 14 (3), 42 and 217 (3) of the present Constitution of Nigeria 1999 and the country’s multi ethnic and religious compositions.
Intersociety had severally researched and investigated and found that the state actor movement to jihad and its body language in Nigeria started in the last quarter of 2015 with the adoption of ‘Cow or Cattle’ as its symbol. In same last quarter of 2015, a country-wide forest mapping was carried out in the guise of “anti terrorism or counterinsurgency strategy”. In 2016, the Nigerian Armed Forces particularly the Nigerian Army deceptively launched several annual operations targeting Southeast, South-south and old Middle Belt and gave them several deceitful code names. Through our careful study of the operations with Igbo Land as a case study, it was discovered that the operations were disguised and used to facilitate movement and permanent settlement of armed indigenous and foreign (Jihadist) Fulani and non Fulani Herdsmen in forests and bushes located in the named regions-to the extent where they are settled, there must an Army/Military post or Mobile Police Base or key Police Post.
The governors were also coerced or forced or undermined into accepting or conspiring in the movement and permanent settlement of the jihadists. This was in addition to forceful introduction and implementation of the Federal Government’s pro jihadist policies of “RUGA”, “Military Ranching”, “Livestock Transformation Plan”, “Open Grazing” and so on. The Nigerian Government’s movement to jihad is divided into three to four phases; starting with 2015 country-wide jihad friendly forest mapping for the armed Jihadists, followed by 2016 military or army backed movement and settlement of the jihadists and 2017 and 2018 enforcement and implementation of “RUGA”, “NLTP”, “Open Grazing” and “Army/Military Ranching”, etc. The Governors including those of the Southwest were forced to cue into such jihad friendly policies in return for their fresh election into office or second terms. Few who refused were frustrated through posting in their states of jihad compliant army/military commanders, P
Police AIGs/commanders and intelligence directors.
At the non-state actor level, a critical look at the state of insecurity bedeviling the North including killings, abductions, sexual violence, forced conversions to Islam and violent attacks and closure of schools are all patterns of modern day jihad; with Taliban and ISIS infested Afghanistan and Somalia as a clear case in point. Ransoms worth millions of dollars or more paid to jihadists’ ring leaders masquerading as “leaders of the Bandits”; are nothing short of ‘buy-back jihad’ or ‘returned-jihad’. It is also reasonably suspected that chunk of such paid ransoms ends up in illicit arms market in furtherance of jihadist attacks and their related violence.
At the state actor level, the recent years’ activities of those referred as personnel of the Nigerian Armed Forces particularly soldiers of the Nigerian Army” are not only nothing to write home about but also bear same outlook when compared with those of the non state actor jihadists. Today, ‘Nigerian soldiers’ are so ethnically and religiously wicked that they now abduct persons on the grounds of their religion and ethnicity, hold them ad infinitum and rape women among them serially, severally and beastly.
We also recall warning, as back as in 2016 and 2017, the Nigerian Army in particular and other members of the country’s security forces and the present central Government of the country in general on dangers of their violent crackdowns on defenseless and unarmed citizens of the Igbo Nation particularly the nonviolent Indigenous People of Biafra. The trios were also warned to desist from breeding more insurgencies across the country, capable of exploding and enveloping the country in part or in whole. It was also our advice that it is gravely dangerous and catastrophic to persecute and push to the wall an ethnic nationality with membership presence in over 90 countries of the world including super powers and makers of arms and armaments and that there are over 1,000 forms or types of violence in this modern time and nobody or group holds monopoly of same.
Today, and as a matter of fact, the present central government of Nigeria divides, polarizes and destabilises Nigeria much more than those falsely or correctly accused of ‘planning to do so’ and has bred and instituted insecurity (full blown and embryonic insurgencies) in Northwest, North-Central, Southeast, South-South and Southwest as well as encouraging that of the Northeast. Through jihadist policies and conducts and other forms of leadership failure, the present central Government of Nigeria has plunged same into intractable divisions and doldrums. The amount of monetary debts alone borrowed by the present central Government has made the country perpetually limping, crawling and economically ungovernable. This is in addition to perpetual takeover and occupation of all key federal judicial, security, administrative and political appointments by citizens of Fulani-Hausa Muslim background. Totality of these has truly and realistically made ‘one united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria unthinkable and unachievable’.
•Written for Intersociety by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair; Chinwe Umeche, Head, Democracy & Good Governance; Obianuju Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law; Chidimma Udegbunam, Head, Campaign & Publicity and Comrade Sam Kamanyaoku, Head, Field Data Collection & Documentation.