In reaction to the suggestion that the people of Southern Kaduna should defend themselves from mass murder and genocide given the fact that their state government has refused to protect them a political advisor to Governor Nasir El Rufai wrote the following in an essay titled “Kaduna Shall Be Great Again”.
He wrote: ”The greatest challenge to peace in Kaduna State now is the antics of political jobbers and opportunists who have gone as low as spreading hate speeches; telling communities in Kaduna State to “defend themselves.” This, is of course is an unmistakable call on the people of Kaduna State to procure arms and ammunitions and start killing themselves. This is not just very low but extremely dangerous. This call on the citizenry to take the laws into their own hands totally undermines all on-going efforts to achieve lasting peace in Kaduna State.” Instead of showing remorse for their woeful failures and begging for forgiveness for the sea of innocent blood that has been shed under their watch, the government of Kaduna State is lashing out at all those that have called them out and that are deeply concerned about the carnage that has taken place in Southern Kaduna. The advisor pours scorn on the suggestion that a man should protect his family, loved ones and home from cold-blooded murderers who are attempting to maim and kill them. He is suggesting that the people of Southern Kaduna should keep quiet, passively fold their arms and happily welcome, with a warm smile, those that have come to rape their wives, slaughter their children, burn their homes, wipe out their faith and take their land. Is that how to make Kaduna great again? Is that how to get back to the glorious days of Abubakar ‘Dangiwa’ Umar, Ahmed Makarfi and Patrick Yakowa when Kaduna had real governors who were balanced, mature, sensitive, caring, gentle, cosmopolitan, inclusive and fair to all regardless of faith, tribe or ethnic nationality? Is that how to get back to the peaceful days of Kaduna when those of us that play polo used to look forward to going there to play at the annual Kaduna Polo tournament? Is that how to get back to the days when Kaduna was one of the best places to visit in the country? I doubt it very much. The truth is that nothing could be more insensitive, irresponsible, callous and utterly absurd than the Special Advisor’s suggestion. In any case one wonders just who these “political jobbers and opportunists” are and precisely what these “ongoing efforts to achieve lasting peace in Kaduna” are given the fact that the Kaduna State Government does not appear to give a damn about the fact that thousands of innocent and defenceless people, including women and children, have been butchered during their watch and right under their noses. The Govermment of Kaduna State is evidently more interested in insulting, undermining, discrediting and threatening with arrest its critics and those that have expressed outrage about what the people of Southern Kaduna are being subjected to than in protecting and saving innocent lives.
Yet since no names were mentioned, for now I will limit myself to responding to Mr. Special Advisor only with the words of Mr. George Makeris of the One Nigeria group who hails from Southern Kaduna himself and whose views reflects the minds and thoughts of many concerned citizens not just in Kaduna but throughout the country.
In a direct response to the Special Advisor he wrote the following: “Picking of arms for self-defence is obviously the last bastion of hope for Southern Kaduna and not its first option since the commencement of these mindless massacres. This last resort became necessary when it becomes glaring that government is not interested in securing and protecting the lives of the people of Southern Kaduna people even though this is against its oath of office. If Government had lived up to it constitutional responsibility and demonstrated unparalleled commitment in curbing the menace, citizens have no business bearing arms. It is the failure of government that makes taking up arms necessary. Even America had to allow its citizens to bear arms when it couldn’t protect them from constant attacks. It is only natural to arm your citizens or allow your citizens to arm themselves, when you cannot guarantee their safety. It is such a shame that the El-Rufai Government is not worried about its inability to secure the lives and properties of the Southern Kaduna people. It is not worried that despite a twenty four hour curfew, a massacre took place in Goska. It is not worried that the Southern Kaduna people lack arms amidst relentless hostilities. It is not worried that it cannot arrest and prosecute the murderers but it is worried that the victims of constant attacks are now rising to arm themselves for self-defence as enshrined in the constitution. Does this not tell any rational mind that the Government is helping the mindless murderers and condoning the massacres? How can people who have never spoken against the massacres since it began suddenly start talking against carrying of arms for self-defence? This tells us the type of criminals we have in power in Kaduna state and it explains the situation better to the international community. I don’t see how those criminals can make Kaduna great and I believe it is just a matter of time before they are picked by the Interpol for crimes against humanity”. Mr. Makeris has hit the nail on the head. I could not have put it better myself. Permit me to conclude this contribution with a few words about someone that I have come to respect and admire. I had the distinct honor and privilage of receiving Rev. Musa Asake, the Secretary General of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in my home a few days before Christmas. He is a courageous and truly wonderful man and I was struck by his extraordinary humility. We discussed the situation in the country and particularly the marginalisation, persecution, slaughter and genocide that Christians are being subjected to in our nation today with particular reference to Kaduna state and the north. Two days later Southern Kaduna, which is where he comes from, was attacked by the Fulani militants and herdsmen and approximately 800 innocent people were butchered. Asake is one of the few men of God in this country that has the courage of his convictions and that is prepared to risk all for the Body of Christ. He is also one of the few Christian leaders and men of God in this country that has not been intimidated by the gratuitous insults, unadultetated violence, veiled and unveiled threats and pure hatred of those that seek to wipe out the Christian faith in Nigeria. Neither can he be compromised by their lying words, serpentine spirit, charmed meat, forked tongues, consistent inducements or the tiny crumbs that they regularly serve the uninformed, naive, gullible and morally bankrupt from their accursed table. He is not amongst those Christian leaders and clerics who are only too ready to sell their souls for a pittance, prostitute their principles, betray their faith, denigrate and undermine the the Church, turn a blind eye to the slaughter of their flock, decimate the faithful, destroy all that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and millions of martyrs that came before and after Him died for and attempt to stop the spreading of the glorious gospel. Asake is clearly either a concious or sub-concious believer in and practitioner of what came to be known as “liberation theology” which was made famous by primarily Catholic priests who stood up for the poor and the oppressed, who emphasised on evangelism AND social responsibility and who confronted and resisted tyranny and dictatorship in Latin America and other parts of the world from the 1950’s up until today.
He comes in the mould of other great clerics like Matthew Hassan Kukah, Benson Idahosa, Ajayi Crowther, Martin Luther King jnr., Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti, Gustavo Guttierez of Peru, Leonardo Boff of Brazil, Jon Sobrino of Spain, Renee Padilla of Ecuador, Samuel Escobar of Peru, Orlando E. Costas of Puerto Rico, Alan Boesak of South Africa, Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Ian Paisely of Northern Ireland, Nicholas Duncan-Williams of Ghana and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam in the United States of America. Such is the fire in his bones and such is his courage and passion.
A few days after Christmas I listened to his riveting and moving words in an interview with the Port Harcourt-based radio station, Garden City FM, and I wept. He told us exactly what happened in Southern Kaduna on Christmas eve and on Christmas day and it is simply barbaric. I thank God that we have Christian leaders like him who are not ready to sweep things under the carpet and who have the courage to speak out and tell the world the bitter truth. May the Lord help and deliver our brothers and sisters in Southern Kaduna. I implore those that have the opportunity to do so to trace the 20 minute interview on the internet and to find the time to listen it. And to those that are unconcerned, that don’t give a damn and that believe it doesn’t matter I say the following. You are shortsighted, ignorant, narrow-minded, insensitive, callous and very selfish. As Rev. Asake rightly said, those of us from the south should get ready because the Fulani killers and herdsmen are coming there too and they have a master plan! Yet few understand the gravity of the situation or even care. The Nigerian people are so weak, so battered, so bruised, so stoic, so trusting, so naïve, so ready to accept injustice, so gullible, so uninspired, so uninspiring, so fearful, so faithless, so incapable of being couragous and standing up for truth. They are like the proverbial frog that is slowly boiled to death in a pot of hot water. They just sit there, doing and saying nothing until death comes. They will wait forever for God to deliver them forgetting that God has already deposited everything that they need in them to enable them to deliver themselves. The ability to joyfully accept barbarity, wickedness injustice and to merrily tolerate evil and tyranny is NOT a virtue. It is a curse. For those that do not see it that way please consider the words of Rev. Martin Luther King. He said, ‘COWARDICE asks the question: is it safe? EXPEDIENCY asks the question: is it political? VANITY asks the question: is it popular? But CONSCIENCE asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor political, nor popular – but one must take it simply because it is right’.
My love and words of encouragement go out to our Christian brothers and sisters in Southern Kaduna particularly who have just been subjected to ethnic cleansing and genocide by the Fulani militants and herdsmen backed by government security agents and the military. May the souls of all those that were slaughtered rest in peace.
May God heal the wounds of their loved ones and all those that they left behind and may He strengthen and avenge them speedily. God will never abandon or forsake them or indeed any of us. Help is on the way, hang on to His sure word and hold on to His promise. Our God is mighty and He will surely deliver. To the Nigerian people I have the following to say. May the Lord give us a strong resolve and the fortitude to stand up for the weak, the helpless, the dull, the vulnerable, the young, the elderly, the marginalised and all those that are being subjected to genocide, persecution and injustice. 2017 is a year of miracles, blessings and breakthroughs for those who know and trust Him. It is our year of abundance and final victory over evil.
Have faith, be happy and be strong. Despite the challenges, the difficulties and all the noise we hear on the market, God will make all things beautiful.
The night may be dark and filled with sorrow but joy comes in the morning. For Rev. Musa Asake I have only three words to say: “onward Christian soldier!” Happy new year!