Solomon Asemota traced the root cause of the crisis in Nigeria – from the era of slavery through the jihadist conquests
The black man has always been a ‘sufferhead’ since the 15th century when slavery was introduced and sanctioned by European countries in the 17th century. In between, slaves were transported to the Americas but when slavery stopped it took some time before the practice was halted in Africa. The last race to accept that slavery was a crime against humanity was the Arabs but they continued in the trade until amalgamation. Lugard wrote, “Slavery in Northern Provinces: I cannot here deal at any length with the subject of slavery, but the question of labour supply so intimately affects the development of Nigeria, that a few words regarding it will not be out of place. It was mentioned in paragraph two that in 1900 when the administration of Northern Nigeria reverted from the Chartered Company to the Crown, large armies led by Fulani chiefs annually raided for slaves, and had depopulated the country. With the conquest of the Moslem States, these organized raids were put to an end. By the abolition of the ‘legal status’ of slavery, a slave had power to assert his freedom. It was not; however, illegal to possess a slave, but the status was a voluntary one. All children born after March 31st, 1901 were free at birth. The sudden abolition of the institution of domestic slavery would have produced social chaos, and the wholesale assertion of their freedom by slaves was therefore discouraged. A slave freed by redemption was, in native opinion and in his own eyes, truly a freeman, while one who was arbitrarily emancipated by government (unless for good cause), or who asserted his freedom by desertion, was not. Redemption with the co-operation of the native courts was encouraged.” [Lugard and the Amalgamation of Nigeria AHM Kirk-Greene pg. 120]. We hope that the Fulani do not now regard other Nigerians as voluntary slaves.
It would appear that our British colonial masters because they were few decided to use local materials in this case, the Fulani as partners under indirect rule. Margery Perham wrote about Islam thus, “the many centuries of unopposed opportunity which it had enjoyed, Islam has made singularly little progress in Africa except among the Hamite and Negroid tribes and, generally speaking, has not been adopted by the Negro race. It is therefore unconscionable that the Caliphate will try, in the 19th century to convert native tribes in Nigeria, with fund as proved from its mineral resources.” [Dual Mandate pg. 77]. Hamite is the name formerly used for North African people by European anthropologists in the context of a now outdated model of dividing humanity into different races favoured by supremacists. It has now become very clear that racism still exist in the world and it is only a racist that would treat other Nigerians the way Fulanis treat other Nigerians in the 21st century aided by the British men on the spot in Nigeria before and after independence. The Hamite, as can be seen in this essay, is the eye of the British man on the spot left to complete what they began before the interruption of the British – conquerors of the Negros in Nigeria. The land dispute concerning Ilorin is a good point to begin.
The Negro race has had to endure the indignity of organized slavery from the 15th until the 17th Century when the Europeans sanctioned it. Even after it ended, the Arabs kept at it. The attitude and arrogance of slave traders is behind much of the acts of inconsideration and disrespect of the Fulanis in the 21st Century. During the period of Amalgamation, Lugard was the “man on the spot” for the British Crown. After Independence in 1960, the Fulanis became the “man on the spot” representing British interest with the arrogance of a slave master.
It is pertinent to refer to the history of Ilorin and Kabba boundary dispute and how it was resolved in favour of the Emir and the role played by Governor-General Macpherson to show that the British had a deliberate policy to ensure that the North remains a dominant Region with the South as its extension of the “North” whose Northern system must apply to the South. One can say without fear of contradiction that the British handed Nigeria at independence in 1960 to the Hamite Fulani and since then both the British and the Fulani have continued to see Nigeria as their colony.
In September of 1949 the Western Regional Conference met in Ibadan to discuss the question of constitutional changes, and recommended that states should be formed within a federal system on an ethnic or linguistic basis. As an example of what they meant by this, they referred to the Yorubas of Kabba and Ilorin and the Ibos of Asaba and Aboh, both of whom they considered should be united with the majority of their tribe. The Western House of Assembly towards the end of 1950 restated their views that a settlement of boundary disputes was an essential condition of any satisfactory constitution for Nigeria. In September of 1952, eighteen months later, the Governor, Sir John Macpherson, announced his decision, which was published as Extraordinary Gazette No. 46 of the 3rd September. All the British was interested in is to decide in favour of “man on the spot” (the Fulani) for future dominance after independence though, a minority. The result is what we now see in the Fulani “born to rule” mantra.
Kwasi Kwarteng wrote, “it is a mistake to think that (colonial) administrators were motivated by liberal ideas of democracy. In many cases they chose careers in the empire precisely because they were not democrats. They were elitists … and had sought to wield power without having to go through the inconvenience of being elected.” [Ghosts of Empire pg. 5] From all that has been written about Lugard in addition to what he wrote, Lugard was definitely not motivated by liberal idea of democracy.
The Times of Nigeria in the middle of 1914 accused the British government bluntly of subjugation, with a caption, “The Hidden Meaning of Amalgamation”. The amalgamation was synonymous with a sell-out of the South, part of which reads “The amalgamation of 1914 is broadly speaking, the conquest and subjugation of Southern Nigeria by Northern Nigeria …” [Lugard and the Amalgamation of Nigeria, AHM Kirk-Green pg. 24]. All that was intended was to destroy Western civilization nurtured over the years in the South for Islamic model – Sharia North.
It is this subjugation that continued up to independence in 1960. Thereafter the subjugation continued by the Fulani to this date when the leader of the Miyetti Allah – Alhaji Bello Bodejo, an Association of which President Buhari is the patron, moved to say that North Central States of Nigeria belong to them – the Fulani, by conquest. This is complete falsehood. The facts show that the Fulani were immigrants to Nigeria in the 18th century and whatever claim to any land in Nigeria was extinguished by the British conquest of Northern Nigeria in 1900.
Lugard in his book the “Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa” wrote: “… Moreover, a large part of Northern Nigeria had never been conquered by the Fulani, and was unconquered until it submitted to the British.” It is surprising that until now, the Land and Native Rights Ordinance, which was born out of expediency, still remains the central pivot of land policy in Northern Nigeria. It is a matter of regret that this policy was subsequently introduced to the rest of Nigeria, in 1979, as the Land Use Decree. Thus the conception of trusteeship of all undeveloped land being vested in the government of the country is causing much embarrassment and hardship to the people of the South who have always held their own land as owners under Native Law and Custom, and since the colonial era, as freehold owners in possession, in accordance with the English law adopted by Nigeria. Nigerians now have to discard their title-deeds and apply for a Certificate of Occupancy – a bizarre type of leasehold tenure. [Memoirs: H. O. Davies, QC, SAN, Chevalier de Courdre National du merito pgs. 52 – 54].
It is also very clear from the facts that Miyetti Allah, President Buhari and the Fulani are presently trying to “invade” Nigeria as a whole with the mantra of “born to rule” and Sharia, as the Fulani who are Hamites have no legitimate claim to an inch of land anywhere in Nigeria. The Fulani in Nigeria are still on jihad even in the 21st century. It is clear from available facts that the Fulani have no claim to Nigeria and one is not too sure whether they want to be Nigerians. If they do, there is no reason they have continued to wage jihads against Nigerians or trying to compel Nigerian natives and Christians to convert to Islam and to replace democracy with Sharia.
This writer and indeed most native Nigerians do not desire that Nigeria should go the way of Rwanda or Bosnia and the object of this essay is to challenge the leadership of Nigeria past and present to appreciate fully the reasons for Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen and now bandits that some Nigerians in authority have decided to continue where the British stopped after laying the foundation and complete indirect control of the nation’s patrimony – oil and gas and not satisfied, want full control of minerals resources under the guise of Islamism.
The most unfortunate and humiliating aspect of Fulani neo-colonialism is the fact that we pay the Fulani (Negroid) colonizers which earned us the appellation of “useful idiots.” We provide the funds from our oil and gas and the Negroids ride us like donkeys.
Asemota, SAN, is Chairman, Board of Governing Council, Christian Social Movement of Nigeria