Open Memo to Mallam Nasiru Elrufai

Dear Mallam Nasir El-rufai,

Executive Governor of Kaduna State.

Sir,

Hope you are doing great sir. I am conscious of the fact that governing Kaduna State isn’t a tea party so this letter might help you a little in certain direction.

Your press statement of 28th April, 2017 really got me thinking about a key word whose aura lends weight to the content of the statement. It further influenced me to write this letter to you. But since memos are in vogue now, let me also say it’s my humble memo to you sir.

The key word in your statement that I want to dwell on is REPRISAL.

Reprisal, Retaliation, payback and the other related synonyms are words that I recently got fascinated with due to their direct connections to certain incidents and individuals in our country. But reprisal as a noun is a word that is always accompanied by blood, sorrow and sadness. It’s a word that connotes irresponsible illegality within the context of a civilized society. The etymology of the word confers credence to its bleak source of comfort to those unfortunate to be in the path of those securing its practical application.

Reprisal either in war or peacetime breaches people’s right. It doesn’t respect the Laws of War or those of the Geneva Convention. In peacetime, reprisal doesn’t also respect any laws, contrary to the fact that it should more than in times of war.

Assuming that the act of reprisal should be applauded as championed by some; can we say that there would be proportionality between the offence and reprisal? No. Check history sir. Reprisal ordinarily should be preceded by a set demand for compliance that’s not met. But not all are sir, and most aren’t done within the ambit of reasonability.

While these were going through my mind, I saw a statement by your sir, on 28th April, 2017, warning against reprisals and assuring victims’ families (of reprisals?) of justice.

“…THEREFORE, THE GOVERNMENT IS REQUESTING THAT EVERYONE SHOULD SHUN THE TEMPTATION TO INDULGE IN REPRISALS. RATHER EVERY AGGRIEVED PERSON MUST PLACE THEIR TRUST IN THE INSTITUTIONS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT. THE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT TOLERATE CONDUCT LIKELY THAT COULD JEOPARDIZE PEACE AND TRANQUILLITY THROUGHOUT THE STATE,” said El-rufai.

Nice words, Very noble, Very virtuous. But because perception is reality and Katherine Anne Porter said “The past is never where you think you left it,” it has a way of catching up with us. Let me remind you sir, of your earlier stand on reprisal which now runs counter to the content of your statement. In effect sir, it point, with all sense of seriousness and responsibility, that you were a champion and promoter of reprisal in all its hideousness.

1. When you made your famous tweet on 15th July, 2012. Wasn’t it an ethnic exultation and an immoral affirmation of a resort to illegality within a constitutional environment?

2. When on 6th April, 2016, you featured on a Channels TV programme ‘Sunrise Daily’ and told the world that the attacks on Southern Kaduna were acts of reprisal for the alleged attacks on herdsmen from several African country, weren’t you affirming and justifying the act of reprisal here sir?

3. Then on Friday, 3rd December 2016, you, while briefing journalists on the pogrom in Southern Kaduna again reiterated your narrative that herdsmen and their cattle from across 14 countries in Africa were allegedly killed in Southern Kaduna during the 2011 post-election crisis and “they organized themselves and came back to revenge”. Again an affirmation of the practice of reprisal isn’t sir?

4. When you slammed a 24 hour curfew through the state security council, in Jema’a, Kaura and Zangon Kataf Local Governments Areas of Kaduna State around the 20th of December 2016 in Kafanchan, and 22 December, 2016 when it was extended to Kaura and Zangon Kataf, wasn’t it an act of reprisal for the demonstration that was staged against you in Kafanchan by those women? You know deep within you sir, that it wasn’t because of any security consideration isn’t.

5. Please sir, when KASUPDA demolished the house of your North West Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Inuwa Abdulkadir on April 5th, 2017 was it not a reprisal for his insistence that the purported suspension of Comrade Shehu Sani didn’t meet due diligence?

6. When Comrade (Senator) Shehu Sani was severally suspended by the Kaduna state chapter of the APC, wasn’t it an act of reprisal because of his insistence in criticizing certain policies of yours?

7. When the Shiite were massacre sir, wasn’t it an act of reprisal by the army over their alleged insistence on not budging off the road for the convoy of Gen. Buratai?

8. When they IMN was proscribed through the Kaduna State Gazette No.21 of 7th October 2016, declaring the IMN an unlawful society, sir, wasn’t it still a continuation of an act of reprisal?

9. When the Kpop Ham and others visited you and requested that schools closed in Jema’a be reopened and you replied that: ‘if the people of Southern Kaduna value education, they will learn to live in peace and stop fomenting trouble.’ Isn’t this sir, a clear case of pure reprisal against a people you assumed are the aggressors? Permit me to add sir that your answer to the revered monarch reeks of arrogance. I watch the video clip.

10. When the House of Senator Danjuma La’ah was ransacked sir, wouldn’t you consider it an act of reprisal from you because of his call to his people to defend themselves? I am buttressing this particular point on the strength of what you said when the Senator Kabir Gaiya led ad-hoc committee on the Southern Kaduna killings met with you on 31 January 2017. If you remember sir, Senator Gaiya had to caution you on some threats you made in the presence journalists.

11. Wouldn’t you agree with me sir that some of those youths being paraded through some of our various courts are there because they chose to speak out against some of your conducts in this state?

12. Should I go on sir? No, let me stop here, temporarily and look at the effect.

So sir, has it occur to you that the reprisal you championed in its various colours resulted into a collective punishment that made no distinction between the alleged guilty ones and those ignorant of what transpired?

When you champion the act of reprisal sir, were you aware of the fact that innocent people could be killed? Didn’t it occur to you sir that it emboldened the killers to rev up the tempo of the barbarity?

How do you sleep at night sir, knowing full well that you obsession with reprisal, anchored on a medieval practice that has now been shrunk into irrelevance by the constitutional democracy we run, that is anchored on rule of law, could have been responsible for an escalated destruction in Southern Kaduna?

But I am happy now that you are warning people about the dangers of reprisal. You are now born again – or so it seems. That’s good sir. It’s never too late to retrace our path toward redemption. Even though it’s coming a bit late for victims of retaliatory attacks, its heartwarming sir, that you are now asking everybody (I guess that include you) not to engage in act of reprisals.

However sir, with repentance (assuming that’s what it’s sincerely is) comes atonement. Meaning, it’s now time to walk your talk; it’s time to reverse some of your actions which we can attribute then was coloured by your love for reprisal, and retract some of your statements on it. You are a new person now, behold the old has passed away, and we will see a new you.

Bless you sir.

Let me leave you with this saying I saw somewhere: “No matter how hard you focused on the future, your past remembers you.” We will too, both the past and the future. You will too sir.

My best regard your Excellency as you continue on your new way of governance in Kaduna State.

Reuben Buhari

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