I am unable to look at the pictures making the rounds on the Internet of some of the victims in the latest orgy of massacre in Plateau State. I do not have the heart for it.
The pictures, of scores of babies, little children and women are of the most horrific and gory kind – throats slit, eyes gorged, heads decapitated, bodies disemboweled, members severed – are conclusive evidence that we are co-sharing this geographical space called Nigeria with creatures that are the lowest form of animals in human skin. For only animals, creatures devoid of any reasoning faculty, bereft of any human feeling, possessed of the most savage instinct, can embark on such wanton genocide with such savage severity, and still go about mixing in our midst as if nothing has happened, in fact, triumphal.
Furthermore, the circumstances of the pogrom, – for pogrom it was – the criminal lapses of government functionaries and of security forces, and their shameless trading of recrimination and counter-recrimination put a stamp on the notion that Nigeria is truly a failed state! And those that still think otherwise – like my good egbon, Chief Bayo Akinnola, who of late has seized on every opportunity to decry such notion and proclaim the ‘sanctity and greatness’ of Nigeria – are welcome to their dreamland. If this house has not fallen, it is falling!
The pictures apparently emanate from a “Christian” website with the purpose of persuading and inciting Christians that the orgy was of a religious kind, an Islamic Jihadist drive to annihilate Christians. The first thing is that it is not (exactly) true. The pogrom (I re-emphasize, pogrom!) was of an ethnic socio-economic nature fortuitously helped by the further distinguishing characteristic of religion. Secondly, to what end is such incitement, I wonder, other than to unleash a wave of counter-pogrom that would hasten their biblical prediction of the “end of the world”? Now, where does that leave those of us, in our millions, who are of neither faith?
But let us get back quickly to the security forces, namely the Nigerian Army, who, since the January violence – and that January horror was not (exactly) one sided as the rampaging culprits of this March pogrom would have us believe – had been drafted to secure peace in Jos and environs. While the gruesome massacre raged for hours, the army commander in charge, a Major-General Maina Saleh, and the entire army he commands, looked away – or, according to him, were misled to a different theatre by wrong text messages! And this Saleh is an officer, and this Saleh remains in the army!
What I said in my column of January 24 – titled: Jos: Time For Home Truths – in reaction to the January mayhem, is worth repeating:
“Let it be said and known that there are other ethnic settler groups in Jos that may lay as much claim to the city as the Hausa settlers in terms of longevity and vibrancy. But these other groups mix freely, and fairly without any obtrusive interest in dominating or controlling the place and the indigenes.
“Some commentators have argued for the enshrinement of new “indigene” clauses in our almost meaningless Constitution. The Constitution cannot compel us to love our neighbour, but it can protect our neighbour against oppression, injustice, and unwarranted abuse. It can fix responsibility for the protection of the lives and property of the citizens on specific government agencies and leaders.
“The Hausa/Fulani are entitled to the protection of their lives and property in the same way as the Biroms, Angas, Tivs, Yoruba, Igbo, Nupe and what-have-you. And the force of law must be brought to bear on those who mastermind and sponsor these mad uprisings from which only themselves stand to benefit.
“Most of the criminality going on in Nigeria, most of the wanton destruction of lives and property, have continued more because our governments have lacked the will power, or even the inclination, to stamp their authority with fairness and firmness to protect lives of the citizenry, than on any inherent superiority of force by the perpetrators.”
Those who have ears let them hear!