One of the scholars at the National Mosque in Abuja, a friend of mine, was kidnapped along Abuja-Lokoja road, few days to the 2019 general elections. His comportment in captivity impressed the bandits; they accorded him great respect and opened up to him. They said there will be no abatement of their operations if Buhari wins his second term bid; “cases of Kidnapping and banditry will be everywhere.” When my friend asked for their reason they said that “money is not moving under Buhari”, whatever that meant, and, that “an Atiku presidency will bring abundant wealth to the people.” These were Fulani who actually conversed within themselves in Fulfulde, but when the ransom of twenty million naira only (N20,000,000) was settled, the recipient was an Igbo man who collected the money in Abuja.
As soon as the money changed hands few days after the incident, the scholar from the National Mosque and the friends kidnapped along with him on that disastrous day were guided to a place where they could retrace their steps to the highway. His armed escorts said to him: “We are a kidnap syndicate. Sorry for the capture and the inconveniences you went through. Rest assured, you will rejoin your family safety. From here to Maiduguri, no group will kidnap you a second time until you reach home. They are all aware of your release and the direction of your journey.”
And so it was that my colleague at the National Mosque was released unscathed but his chauffeur was injured, shot at when the bandits were shooting indiscriminately at the time of the abduction.
Is there any link between kidnapping, banditry and politics? Has this bleak prophecy of “cases of kidnapping and banditry…” being rampant not fulfilled? What is the relationship between the Fulani bandits and the Igbo ransom-collector? What is this “kidnap syndicate” that is so coordinated that the Abuja-Lokoja road bandits could give assurances and guarantee that, from the moment of release until their captives reach their destination, they will not be kidnapped “a second time” by any other group even if they were to travel from that point to Maiduguri? Why are these criminals described in some quarters as Fulani “privileged bandits” who are “part of an agenda to conquer other Nigerians and subject them to recolonisation by their sponsors”? Who are their sponsors – the government or opposition politicians?
The precursor to the current debacle of kidnapping and banditry was the Fulani farmers-herders crisis. The President of the Senate, during the Third Republic, Chief Ameh Ebute spoke, Tuesday in Abuja, on this issue at a One-Day International Conference on Good Governance and Accountability in Government organised by the Coalition for Civil Society Organisations for Change and Good Governance.
The former lawmaker said “the various security challenges facing Nigeria predate the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. It is on the heels that before 2015, there has been insinuation in certain quarters about the sponsorship of violence as a means of achieving political, religious, and ethnic goals by elite politicians.”
According to the former number three citizen, some politicians and senior citizens “have exploited ethnic and religious clashes to their advantage.” He cited an example of how “a former minister of Defence” was silent during the killings “in Taraba state because those being killed are not from his ethnicity.” Chief Ameh said silence during such carnage questions the sincerity of these “supposed elderly political leaders in Nigeria who have been exploiting situations for their personal and selfish gains.” He also averred that the purpose of “those that lost in the 2019 general elections” and who “have vowed to make the country ungovernable, was “to cause the disintegration of Nigeria and to paint a picture of incapacity before the eyes of the International community.” He stated, “that the killings and kidnappings, as well as the rise in cases of armed banditry, is as a result of what members of the opposition have plotted thinking that Nigerians would be gullible.”
“In the wisdom of members of the opposition”, said the former lawmaker, “the farmers-herders conflict must be construed in such a way that would make the citizens lose faith in the present Administration. While this is not only despicable, it is also an indication that those that failed to actualise their political ambitions at the general elections have refused to move on with their lives. However, instead, they have chosen this dishonourable path of fuelling ethnic and religious conflict aimed at distracting and destabilising and distracting the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Most politicians hide under cover of farmers-herders’ crisis to perpetrate evil in the society. They arm and sponsor militia groups to wreak havoc. This much has been witnessed in situations where there has been a hasty ascribing any form of crime or criminality to a particular ethnicity or religion.
“For example, we have seen situations where people from southeast Nigeria have been arrested masquerading as herdsmen after committing a crime or engage in any criminal behaviour. I also recall a particular episode that happened in Ghana, where a Nigerian man was arrested after killing three persons. He claimed to be a Fulani herdsman but couldn’t speak Hausa or pronounced a word in Fulani.
“That is the irony of the situation we face as it stands today. People are masquerading under different umbrellas to perpetuate evil and passing the blame on ethnicity or religion, which would ultimately lead to reprisal attacks on innocent people going about their normal businesses. The cases presented in the Benue-Taraba axis give us a hint on how the political elites have continued to exploit the situation for their benefits.
“The political elites understanding the gullibility of their subjects have formed the habit of taking advantage of communal clashes to paint a particular ethnicity or religion in a bad light just in an attempt to be able to perpetuate their nefarious activities thereby causing unrest in the polity.
“It is most worrisome that in a state like Taraba, the government would choose to play petty and feign ignorance to the monster they created. I am particularly pained that a personality such as Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma would condescend so low as meddling in petty politics despite what he has benefitted from Nigeria.
“The likes of Danjuma and his cohorts have indeed shown that they do not have the interest of the country at heart. This is also on the heels that some CSOs have been able to expose the fact that a high ranking member of the opposition is behind the wave of violent protests by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) with huge sums of monies.”
Economic Advisory Council (EAC)
I like to attend a ball that has a python as the debutante. I am infatuated with Python Dance. It exorcises the society of boisterous demons and pressurises them to unashamedly jump bail. With the new entrant from the ‘Biafraland’ into the government of “the Fulani caliphate and their collaborators within”, as a member of the recently constituted Economic Advisory Council, the list of “traitors” to be consigned to the Nuremberg treatment is growing. Do whatever you may to placate them – attend secret conferences, financially support the movement, serve as surety in their litigation with the state – it will not be sufficient to ward off their ire once you are guilty of collaborating with the enemy, the “Fulani government and their president.”
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