With Reno Omokri
Recently, the firebrand ex-Second Republic member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, warned or threatened that Nigeria may experience another civil war if the Western Nigeria Security Network, better known as Amotekun, is allowed to go ahead.
His exact words were as follows:
“This idea of Amotekun was an act of recklessness. Those who are at the forefront of the Amotekun, while in Abuja they are APC, but when they go back to their respective states, they are something else. So, it shows you that these people are actually unreliable. If care is not taken they will drag us into another civil war and I don’t believe the country can survive another civil war.”
With the way Nigeria is currently so polarised, politicians and pundits risk living in an echo chamber, which is an environment where they encounter only ideas and agenda that corroborate their preconceived notions, with the resultant effect that their opinion becomes crystallised and appears to them like the prevailing opinion, and other more reasonable alternative views, are not considered.
This, I fear, is what is happening to Junaid Mohammed. By raising the spectre of civil war, Dr. Mohammed perhaps hopes to frighten the Southwest into abandoning the self-defence idea of Amotekun.
But Dr. Junaid is ignorant. And terribly so. If you divide Nigeria into four quadrants of Northwest, Northeast, Southwest and Southeast, you will realise that we are already fighting several civil wars in Nigeria.
The chief of Army staff would want us to believe that Boko Haram and ISWAP have been defeated and that what we are seeing is the “last kick of a dying horse”. But the reality is far from that. Sadly, under General Buhari ‘there has been no progress in the war against Boko Haram’.
The above is not my opinion. It is the verdict of the Parliament of the European Union in a public resolution it made on January 16, 2020.
In the resolution, the EU stated that it:
“Deplores that progress has stalled in the fight against Boko Haram, ISWAP and the increased occurrence and severity of suicide attacks and direct attacks against military positions.”
They are not alone. The Global Terrorism Index says that Nigeria is now more terrorised today than it was in 2015, with Boko Haram/ISWAP appearing to operate almost with ease in the Northeast quadrant of Nigeria. According to the index, Nigeria is now the world’s most terrorised nation and has two amongst the ten groups listed by the Global Terrorism Index as the world’s most deadly terror group (herdsmen and Boko Haram/ISWAP).
On Christmas Eve, an affiliate of Boko Haram killed 11 Christian captives in Borno, as its revenge for the deaths of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the late leader of the Islamic State and Abul-Hasan Al-Muhajir, its spokesman, who were killed in Syria in October.
On January 19, 2020, the media reported that Boko Haram killed at least 17 soldiers, and an unknown number abducted by the Islamic terror group, with large quantities of military hardware captured by the insurgents.
While this was going on, we read in the papers that the government of General Muhammadu Buhari is releasing so-called ‘repentant’ Boko Haram members in their thousands.
So, you have a group with a leadership structure and a fighting force killing our soldiers and taking prisoners. You have the government responding in kind and also taking prisoners. What is that? Is that not a war? It is called the war on terror. Okay, are we fighting foreigners? No. We are fighting bonafide Nigerian citizens who have taken arms against the state.
How is that not the textbook definition of a civil war?
Okay, let’s shift to the next quadrant: the Northwest. Bandits have taken over vast swathes of territory in the Northwest to the extent that the locals complain that they now pay tax to the bandits as well as approach them to provide judicial services when individuals have a dispute.
Bandits have killed thousands of Nigerian citizens, with the federal government seemingly unable to stop them. Police officers were killed and abducted in their tens in Zamfara by the bandits. The situation is so bad that in two separate incidents, General Buhari’s in-law, and the district head of his village, were abducted by these marauders.
The situation got so bad that the governor of Katsina state, Aminu Bello Masari, decided to ‘negotiate’ with bandits and arranged a meeting to appeal to them!
In neighbouring Zamfara state, the governor also negotiated with them and signed a treaty with these groups, which led to their being granted amnesty. You cannot blame the man. Bello Matawalle has shown prudence in governing Zamfara, but his hands are tied. These bandits have overwhelmed the police and resisted the armed forces.
So, where you have armed groups killing Nigerian citizens as well as law enforcement officials, to the extent that constituted authorities have to sign peace treaties with them, what do you call that?
Is that not the textbook definition of war?
The truth is that Dr. Junaid’s echo chamber has prevented him from smelling the coffee. All around him right there in Kano, we have evidence of the civil war now gripping Nigeria, and he is warning that Amotekun will cause a civil war.
Amotekun will not cause any civil war. Quite the contrary, Amotekun will stop the civil war from spreading to the Southwest.
Let me ask Dr. Junaid and Nigerians what progress has been made in the investigation into the killing of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, the second daughter of the Afenifere leader, Reuben Fasoranti by suspected herdsmen?
Have those who killed her been apprehended? No. Yet, the Bola Tinubu, who paid a condolence visit to Pa Reuben Fasoranti and said her death was God’s will and nothing could be done to prevent it, has now released a fence-sitting statement on Amotekun, which serves only to protect his well-known Presidential ambition.
Well, Tinubu was wrong. It is not true that nothing could have been done to stop it. Amotekun has been precisely set up to stop the people of the Southwest from being killed one by one, with nothing being said or done, just so that Tinubu can be President. In January of 2017, the United States Congress cited Nigeria as “the most dangerous place for Christians in the world”, bar none.
What has changed since then? Nothing. The only change is that things are now much worse! Just last week, the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Rev. Lawan Andimi, was beheaded by Boko Haram!
What are we to do? Are we to all wait until Boko Haram beheads all of us and do nothing because we want to please the likes of Junaid Mohammed?
In 2012, Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim, former National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Movement, called Junaid Mohammed an “expired politician”. I did not know why he said that at that time. But after reading his interview in the Guardian last week, the penny dropped for me. Expired products are detrimental to the health of both nations and individuals.
General TY Danjuma, a man who knows Nigeria better than Junaid Mohammed, warned citizens to defend themselves in 2018. His exact words were:
“You must rise to protect yourselves from these people, if you depend on the Arm Forces to protect you, you will all die!”
Last month, he again warned the nation, and specifically the Southwest, not to underestimate the insecurity in Nigeria, saying among other things that, “In Yorubaland, everybody seems to have lost their voice, scared. And people appear not to care about what is happening. If I tell you what I know that is happening in Nigeria today, you will no longer sleep.”
The Southwest has listened to him. They want to sleep, and Amotekun will make them sleep. And if Junaid wants to lose sleep over that, he can donate his bed to an Internally Displaced Person camp in Borno. I am sure one of the millions of IDPs from Nigeria’s war on terror will be glad to have a bed to sleep on.
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