The Guardian
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Politicians, Islam and threat to peace


Peace. Image source Wikimedia

Peace. Image source Wikimedia

THERE is nothing ISIS, the Taliban are doing today that has not been done before in Northern Nigeria long before Boko Haram emerged as a matter of fact. Only that the world wasn’t paying attention then.  When the West was still fighting communism and the USSR, when J.F. Kennedy declared that “Ich bin ein Berliner in his 1963 speech, when Ronald Reagan challenged Gobarchev in 1987 to “tear down this wall,” Nigeria was being tortured by the ruling Islamic hardliners. Boko Haram is only the latest incarnation of a very long series of a progressive malaise. In February 2000, Governor Mohammed Ahmed Makarfi of Kaduna, the most multicultural state in the North imposed Sharia. Not only was the imposition contrary to the provisions of the country’s secular constitution, it was an act of religious extremism. The apex Islamic bodies, Jama’ tul Nasril Islam (JNI) and Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) did not condemn that extremism. The second bloodiest religious riot in Nigeria’s history then ensued in the state and the body count ran well over 2000. But it was Zamfara State governor Ahmed Yerima Sani who a month earlier launched the Sharia spree that has now engulfed 12 northern states. To confirm his seriousness, in March 2000, he ratified the cold-blooded cut of Buba Bello Jangebe’s hand for allegedly stealing a cow. His deputy then, Mamudu Aliyu Shinkafi was the one in November 2002 who pronounced the fatwa that scurried ThisDay fashion correspondent, Ms Isioma Daniel into exile in Norway during the Miss World pageantry officially hosted by Nigeria. The fanatics were virulently opposed, claiming the event was not supposed to hold during their holy month of fasting.
Despite the fact that the show organisers conceded that the girls would not wear bikinis on stage, the fanatics still went to work. They seized on the 18 words of Isioma Daniel that speculated on what  Prophet Mohammed would think of the beauties. Sponsored riots that led to the death of 217 broke out in Abuja and Kaduna.  The extremists didn’t want the pageantry because they claimed it would violate the holy month of fasting but they didn’t think their killing spree would.
Instead of Islamic leaders condemning the mass murder, they blamed the organisers. Dr. Lateef Adegbite, secretary general of Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) argued that with the murderous riots, the government and the organisers will learn to take them seriously. If they don’t want a programme, they don’t want it. To which Wole Soyinka, Nigeria’s Nobel laureate called him “a fool” i.e. how can you stake your need for respect on the lives of others. Two years later, the Zamfara State deputy governor rose to become the governor of the state while his boss became a federal senator and married a 13 year-old-girl.
All the pronouncements were not said or done by outcast terrorist organisations or criminals giving Islam a bad name. They were politicians who campaigned that they were going to introduce sharia as contained in the Quran and not the cherry-picked one that formed the basis of the penal code. June 2009, in the town of Sara in Jigawa State, a mob descended on a police station and burnt it down for failure of the police to hand over a fleeing man that sought refuge there. They claimed he had blasphemed against the holy prophet. October 2007, Shehu Sani’s book The Phantom Crescent satirising sharia leaders, lawyers, judges, and Hisbah (their police officers) was banned in Kaduna by the Upper Sharia Court. In February 2006, the extremists took to the streets of Maiduguri over the Danish cartoons; 16 people were killed including Rev Fr. Matthew Gajere who was helping his altar boys escape when the siege began. They didn’t know why they were rioting; they were just told to go into the streets by their sponsors. And so they chose their usual targets: non-indigenes, non-Muslims but no Danish nor European.
This is from The Punch newspaper of March 22, 2007: “Muslim pupils at a secondary school in Gandu, Gombe State, beat a teacher to death after accusing her of desecrating the Koran… The teacher, Oluwatoyin Olusesan, a Christian, was invigilating an Islamic Religious Knowledge exam at the Government Day Secondary School, Gandu when the incident occurred… the teacher suspected that a foul play was about to take place when one of the students wanted to come in with his books to the exam hall. The teacher collected the books and threw them outside, unknown to her, there was a copy of the Holy Koran among the books. The principal said before they knew what was happening, the students had started chanting Allahu Akbar (God is Great). All efforts to control the rampaging students proved abortive even when the school principal, Mohammed Sadiq, tried to protect the teacher in his office. The principal was also terribly beaten and injured while they set the teacher’s car, three classes, the school’s clinic, administrative block and library on fire.” Note: these happened during their Islamic Religious Knowledge examination. Well, maybe they did not know like everybody else that Islam is a religion of peace.
In the state that eventually became the epicentre of Boko Haram; during the January 2001 lunar eclipse in Borno, Muslims youth began a rampage destroying hotels, bars and brothels blaming them for the cause of the eclipse. In September 2001, Governor Yerima Sani forbade women to come out and cheer President Obasanjo on his official visit to his state because according to sharia, women and men should not mix freely in public. The women refused. In October 2001 in Sokoto, Safiya Hussaini was sentenced to stoning to death for adultery by Judge Mohammed Bello Sanyinlawal while acquitting the 60-year-old Yahaya Abubakar who impregnated her. After sustained international pressure, Safiya was acquitted a year later and made honorary citizen of Rome. Sokoto Governor Attahiru Bafarawa and Zamfara’s Ahmed Sani condemned the honour with the latter adding, it was act of proselytisation. It was the turn of Amina Lawal in March 2002. She was sentenced to public stoning for getting pregnant outside wedlock in Katsina. In 1998, Muslims youth like the Taliban that can’t get use to the compromises of tolerance and diversity, invaded the Olofa’s palace and razed down the shrine of Moremi, a traditional goddess in Offa. December 1994 in Kano city, Gideon Akaluka, a trader, was beheaded and paraded danse macabre because his wife desecrated the Koran. In February 1989, death to Wole Soyinka posters were carried around during Zaria riots because he defended Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, urged artists to launch their own creative jihad against the Iranian Ayatollahs, and called on civilised nations to expel Iranian diplomats from their territories. And then the Maitatsine massacre in December 1980 in Kano  –the bloodiest single massacre in the nation’s history. 4,177 lives were lost, 8,712 received various degrees of injuries. As usual, there were no convictions.
To continue with the tradition of no conviction, less than two weeks after the bombing of the UN headquarters in Abuja, the governor of Kano State,  Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso ordered 20 members of Boko Haram released as part of celebrations of the end of the holy month of fasting. Vanguard Newspaper of August 30, 2011 quotes him: “As a government, we consider all Islamic and Christian religious sects the same. It is the duty of government to embrace all religious groups toward peaceful coexistence among citizens.”
• Damola Awoyokun is a writer and historian. Follow me at @osoronga

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  • Tj

    You really spewed vitroel and hatred in this biased write up.

    • 4T2

      Glad that the truth is obviously hurting shameless bigots like you.

  • Blonde Johnny Bass

    @Damola Awoyokun, thank you from the bottom of my heart for a factual, honest, truthful, expert understanding and bravery in writing this article, you hit the nail spot on. Your analysis must be posted and re-posted online.

  • moses


    • clarion

      islam is a zoo filled with animals and a big ape called allah.

      • Etomi

        No Allah is not an ape……Allah is Satan the devil, the dragon, the father of lies, abaddon, appolyon….a terrible blood thirsty elemental!
        And Mohammed an execrable pedophile who even confided in his oldest of 13 wives that he was possessed of a terrible evil spirit!!

      • Akintola Abdulazeez

        Look at this “mushirk” trinity. Allah is one has no partner prophet Muhammad is the messenger if u don’t know about Islam is better for u to keep silent seek for knowledge and know what Islam is all about. Is it not the your Christian counter part who pretend to be Muslim and making use of to cause violence. Maitatsina the Christian are the sponsor causing violence in the name of islam . book haram CAN member are they not the sponsored? The the special grace of Allah we shall live to see the end of book haram.

  • Emmy

    So true is it that so many atrocities have been made in the name of Islam. We must, however, not forget that Christianity has breed and still breeding even worst of all species. If only we can for once stop, and look back to what Christianity has made of history, … Then perhaps we may be enlightened.

    • clarion

      the time is now, not 500 years ago.
      islam is still living in the banana tree, and muslim monkeys are refusing to walk bi-pedal.
      Christians have long ago left that place, and became better humans.
      muslims, on the other hand, are still living in the stone age.

    • Etomi

      Islam has an unremitting bloody history….
      If you are referring to the Christianity of the medieval times, it was even far more humane than Islam of the same period…I urge you to go read about the vintage bloody history of Islam!!!
      But while Christianity has evolved, Islam has remained trapped in neanderthal existence; and is poised to produce the anti-Christ of Bible prophecy..
      The worst has yet to be seen of the fascism called the bloody religion of Islam!
      Keep sounding politically correct until you become the next victim of Muslims’ scimitar!!!!!

  • Etomi

    And later they will say APC is not the political arm of Boko Haram..
    With the likes of Kwankwaso and Buhari……

  • New Nigerian

    Guardian has lost all editorial decorum for allowing this hate speech from this obviously deranged individual to cut and paste events at various points in time together to paint a sick narrative that has no bearing in facts. All these for what? Just to distract from having the electorate from putting Jonathan to task on his record. I’d say this, All Muslims in Nigeria should maintain their peace and just pass by this ignorant rants. The writer wants to incite Muslims to recall how an all-christian people from the south east killed the first leaders mostly of northern extraction, post independence and killed the first democracy and put the country into a tail spin which we are just about to get out of with the current dispensation. All for what – So Jonathan can continue to steal the commonwealth with his oil-cartel at more than 400,000 barrels per day? The writer starts from 1963 JF speech – I ask the writer to go to youtube and watch the state visit of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa to the US in 1961 at the invitation of JFK and he would have an inkling into the quality of leadership Nigeria had post independence. As of the obsession on Sharia – it is a pity that some people just give you knee jerk reactions when arabic terms are used, and I challenge anyone to read an arabic bible (yes there are bible in arabic for arab christians) and you’d see how many times “Allah” is used in that bible and how many times Christians who are arabs – those who have gone to the birthplace of Jesus Christ would tell you – say Allah every day. Anyone who hates his or her neighbour in the name of God cannot be truly worshipping God, for if you hate people for their fundamental human rights and the way they choose to worship God whom you see benefit from and share the same space with, how can you serve God that you do not see?

    The national assembly should seriously table a bill to define hate speech and incitement to violence through hate speech – this we would need as our democracy matures. Look to a multi-cultural country like Canada who has this speech for guidance and look at the human rights allowances in the USA and western democracies also for example on how citizens are treated.

    For the avoidance of doubt, this election is about Jonathan and the content of his character as exhibited by his deeds in office:

    When you analyze President Jonathan’s foray into public service from Bayelsa State as the deputy governor and then governor, to the federal government as the VP and President for the past 6 years, you’d be left to conclude that he holds no allegiance to faith, tribe, place of origin or principle other that of massive diversion of public funds. EFCC had a huge dossier on his wife as first lady of Bayelsa money laundering for him. As President he met an oil theft-mafia stealing 500,000 barrels of crude oil a day – watch Dr. Dele’s cole interview on FT in 2008 their video archive no. 62347003001 and you’d know the mafia was there before Jonathan, actually started under Obasanjo – and Jonathan converted the mafia to his purpose and made it quasi-mainstream through concessions, in a nutshell he started laundering the oil theft through official channels, by removing the oversight possible through state policing activities of the pipelines and the waterways, awarding contracts to the same oil-theft-mafia to safeguard the pipelines and the waterways!

    Through this channel he had bilked more than $60b and counting – because they pump oil at a rate no one knows anymore, could be more than 500,000 barrels…..and through all these we hear even his village has no electricity. Someone who could make a Dubai out of his village and who embezzle the “Dubai” why would anyone from the south south claim him? Jonathan is an ill wind that blows NO ONE any good. You may argue that the oil-theft-mafia he uses as the forces of production are enriched and that they are mainly south-south people with some South-East elements as well, however we would still say this is a handful of people amongst millions and as such inconsequential and in the final scheme of things criminal since it is ill gotten wealth. Mind you there are international collaborators who were supplying the Niger Delta militants with weapons to keep the system going before Yaradua granted them amnesty as a way to break the vicious cycle, however since Jonathan got there it went back up again after the concessions contracts – and the international collaborators not supply the militants with private jets, war ships and you bet – weapons.

    Unravelling the nexus between these activity and Boko Haram in the North – a false flag operation obviously – is the key to achieving peace and progress in Nigeria. My bet is on Nigeria and Nigerians, Our heroes past achieve independence without firing a single shot, we the inheritors would achieve independence from Jonathan’s mafia peacefully and through the ballot box, even though Jonathan’s mafia is prepared for war to permanently balkanize Nigeria and become the Oil Sheiks of Africa, who by the way would not develop the Niger Delta even if they were to achieve that. Everyone in the South-South and South-East should tis up and say NOT IN OUR NAME the same way Isaac Boro one of our heroes past and those like him stood up to be counted when the chips are down. Luckily all that is being asked is to express this through the ballot box by voting massively for Buhari.

    Jonathan-oil-Cartel and Sheikhdom enabled with Federal Government Contracts:
    President Jonathan have personally supervised the grand theft, through two contracts financed with tax payers money, since January 2012 (possibly fall of 2011) of 400,000 barrels of oil per day by those he hand-picked to safeguard the supply lines against theft. According to Soludo: “First, you (Finance Minister, Okonjo-Iweala) admit that ‘oil theft’ has reduced oil output from the average 2.3 – 2.4 million barrels per day to 1.95 mpd (meaning that at least 350,000 to 450,000 barrels per day are being ‘stolen’). On the average of 400,000 per day and the oil prices over the past four years, it comes to about $60bn ‘stolen’ in just four years.

    – This is done through two 2 contracts that Jonathan signed to rebel leaders from his tribe.

    These are the 2 contracts by the Jonathan administration that is a major feed to the monster bedevilling Nigeria and turning it into a failed state, and a personal estate of King Jonathan, it was fall 2011 & 2012 time frame – widely reported by Wall Street Journal and major newspapers in Nigeria – just google it – I like the composition in the piece titled, Help, This Nigerian State Is Failing By Ayobami Oyalowo:

    ”In August, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) broke some disturbing news about Nigeria. It was reported that some ex-militants in the Niger Delta had been paid about N6.32billion within the past one year by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Yes, for the ‘noble’ service of providing security against vandals for the Corporation’s oil pipeline network. Imagine! The breakdown, as outlined by WSJ, is this:

    Chief Government Ekpumopolo (alias Tompolo), Alhaji Mujahid Asari-Dokubo, ‘General’ Ebikabowei Victor Ben (Boyloaf) and ‘General’ Ateke Tom were respectively paid N5.1 billion, N1.44 billion, N608 million and N608 million yearly by the state-owned NNPC, as ‘protection money’ to guard the pipelines they once attacked.

    As if that was not enough an insult on the collective intelligence of Nigerians, earlier in the year the Federal Government awarded a contract worth $103.4million (over N15billion) to the Global West Vessel Specialist Limited (GWVSL) – a firm widely believed to be owned by Tompolo to supply 20 vessels for the use of the nation’s military authorities to secure the waterways. Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, had last year sent a memo titled, “Award of Contract for the Strategic Concessioning Partnership with NIMASA to Provide Platforms for Tracking Ships and Cargoes, Enforce Regulatory Compliance and Surveillance Of The Entire Nigerian Maritime Domain,” to President Goodluck Jonathan.

    In considering the memo, President Goodluck Jonathan and Akpobolokemi chose GWVSL as the preferred company for the 10-year concession agreement, renewable for two terms of five years each. Jonathan, in a memo dated 9th November, 2011, with reference number PRES/99/MT/61, approved Akpobolokemi’s memo, which the Federal Executive Council rubber-stamped on 5th January, 2012. According to Akpobolokemi, GWVSL “will provide platforms for effective policing of Nigeria’s maritime domain and ensure compliance with international maritime conventions on vessels and ships voyaging the country’s waters”. NIMASA maintains that the concessionaire would help the Federal Government to enforce the sabotage law and collect levies on its behalf. This, in a country that still maintains a statutory Naval force, and without a track record for GWVSL?

    From the above, the current occupant of the presidential villa showed where his loyalty lies…rather than train the military, he equipped criminals and vandals who had taken up arms against the state. No wonder so much arms and ammunition have found their way into Nigeria and our country has now become one gigantic human abattoir where someone is killed on an average of an hour, daily. Between January to May 2014 it has been estimated that over 1,500 people have been mindlessly cut down by terrorists and blood thirsty killers.’ [The number killed date under Jonathan is tracked on line and it stands at 35,065 – that is the equivalent of Liechtenstein, a country in Europe, wiped out from the face of the Earth, with a territory the size of Belgium carved away].