The reality and intensity of Satan’s wrath and evil end-time agenda, thinly veiled by the hustle and bustle of every day civil living, was again vividly demonstrated late November, as elements of the Moslem community in Jos, Plateau state of Nigeria, descended heavily on unsuspecting Christians, inflicting terrible damages and casualties. The excuse for the action, this time around, was a peacefully-conducted Local Government elections whose results tended to favour the Christian candidates against the Moslems.
It didn’t take long however to realize that the violence was directed neither at officials nor properties of any political party. Rather, the casualties were largely Christian men and women, irrespective of whether they were indigenes of Plateau state or elsewhere. An e-mail from the Anglican Archbishop of Jos Rt Rev. Ben Kwashi to Barnabas Fund on Saturday 30th November described the pogrom that had started without any warning the previous day: “The Muslims are attacking and burning this morning. It looks well coordinated. They are well armed with AK47 and pump machine guns….” Several Nigerian blogs carried the nauseating details of how organized Moslem mobs went from one identified Christian home to another, pulling down the gates and killing in cold blood, mostly the male occupants (see, for instance www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/forum/main-square/27336-three-youth-corpers-among-dead-jos.html). Another core of Moslem invaders, apparently hired mercenaries from outside Plateau state, came dressed in army and police uniforms, thus further confusing many Christians who, expecting refuge, actually ran towards their eventual executioners! Before the real army (led by the Army chief of staff himself) would intervene two days later, hundreds of innocent lives have been lost. Unfortunately a number of Moslem folks caught in the reprisal attack would also be part of that number.
One of the particularly moving killings was that of Ibukun Akinjogbin a fresh University graduate participating in the mandatory National Youth Service Corps scheme at Jos He was on the phone with his parents requesting for prayers as the Islamic mob descended on him and his friends. The heartless killers picked the phone and sadistically described to the distraught family in Lagos, the gradual ebbing-out of Ibukun’s life!
Yet, several national leaders, following the usual “douse the tension” script, were vociferous in declaring that the mayhem has nothing to do with either ethnicity or religion, but was a mere political protest. While one may not necessarily blame Moslem political figures, such as the Speaker of House of Representatives, for making such patently false statements, it is difficult to excuse those with the label of Christianity, such as the Senate President, who join in the ostrich game. The Nigerian number three man was quoted as saying “Truly, what is going on in Jos has nothing to do with religion….. I am not aware of any faith that advocates violence. Every faith that I know of condemns killing.” Really? Wouldn’t it have been more helpful keeping quiet than reducing a serious matter to mere rhetoric? The sad, bitter reality is that Islamic violence is indeed rooted in faith – at least as interpreted and clearly demonstrated by many. This would explain why subsequent governments have preferred to shy away from the problem rather than attempt to address it. For instance by the simple and sensible action of treating those who engage in arson and murder as the cheap criminals that they would be – if not regarded as religious faithfuls!
However, sadder still is the response of Christian leaders who hastily pronounced the violence, even as it was yet unfolding, as totally having nothing to do with religion. No less a person than the national chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria - CAN, (who also is the catholic Archbishop of Abuja) hasted to make such a declaration – even from far away Rome, where he was at the outbreak of the incidence. (www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=1285) He could at least have consulted his colleague, the chairman of the Plateau state chapter of CAN, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, who repeatedly averred that the crisis was definitely religious, and was clearly instigated by the Moslems. According to Kaigama, “We were surprised at the way some of our churches and property were attacked and some of our faithful and clergy killed. The attacks were carefully planned and executed. The questions that bog our minds are why were churches and clergy attacked and killed? Why were politicians and political party offices not attacked if it were a political conflict? Why were the business premises and property of innocent civilians destroyed? We strongly feel that it was not political but pre-meditated act under the guise of elections.” www.barnabasfund.org/email/email.php?id=255. The Anglican Bishop of Jos, the Rt Revd Ben Kwashi ventures an answer: "We are the victims of ... Islamic anger. Two years ago, it was the Danish cartoons. Now they are trying to lay it at the feet of the elections. We have become a convenient scapegoat and target...” www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/023788.php
With national leaders and even Christian leaders trying hard to exonerate Islam from the killings, it is little wonder that the foreign media would follow the cue. Though the foreign media were forced to concede that the riot was religious, they effectively (even if silently) put the blame mostly on Christians! For instance, the BBC in reporting “the death of hundreds of people in clashes between Christians and Moslems”, added the sub-heading “A Muslim charity in the town of Jos says it collected more than 300 bodies, and fatalities are also expected among Christians.” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7756695.stm.) Such silly, biased reporting gives the impression that the bodies collected by the “Muslim charity” were those of Muslims killed by Christians; and that the Christians probably lost a few people too! It is however well-known that Moslems have learnt to quickly give Islamic mass burial for victims of riots picked from the streets ( as in this situation), mainly to discourage retaliatory killings in the South (particularly the catholic South-East) triggered by strong emotions that are evoked when such bodies are returned home for proper burial. According to the Punch newspaper, “ The identities of the dead could not be ascertained as they were said to have been picked up randomly by the Muslim community and taken to the mosque.”
www.punchontheweb.com/Articl.aspx?theartic=Art20081201235371. Moreover, many of the Moslems killed in Jos were militants, reportedly shot down on the streets by the state-based security forces. Several hundred others (including foreign merceneries) were arrested. (www.mnnonline.org/article/12016).
Another widely circulated news report originated from the Agence France Presse (AFP) with the blazing headline: 2,000 "angry youths" storm mosque. The truth however was that the “angry youths” were not Christian youths as silently implied, but Moslems who came to threaten/blackmail the visiting parliamentary official who had come to placate the Moslem community. Some media houses using the story (such as this, www.calgaryherald.com/news/youths+storm+mosque+riot+torn+nigerian+city/1017450/story.html) even added the picture of a traumatized female youth corper, in clear Islamic veil, to complete the impression of apparent culpability of Christians in the matter!
The well-planned pogrom had began on Friday 29th November, when the results of the Local Government council elections, held very peacefully the previous day, began to indicate that indigenous Christian candidates were set to sweep the polls in all 17 LG council areas of the state. This would represent a decisive break in the influence which the largely Moslem Hausa-Fulani group has been trying to build over the years and which they hoped to consolidate with the elections. For instance, the attitude of the largely Christian Yoruba community in Jos (whose community reportedly lost about 113 people) could be contrasted with that of the Hausa-Fulani community. In a peace meeting convened by the State governor, the Yoruba leader, Chief Toye Ogunshuyi said: “We have been carrying out legitimate businesses in Jos since 1891 and we built the first church in Jos but we have been living peacefully without fighting to rule Jos” www.vanguardngr.com/content/view/23328/47/. On the other hand, speaking to Reuters, Sheikh Khalid Aliyu, spokesman for the council of imams in Plateau state insisted: "We are not aliens, we are not foreigners. We deserve each and every right." (africa.reuters.com/top/news/usnJOE4B10FZ.html).
The only problem is that such righteously indignant assertion is supposed only to apply in regions where Moslems are in the minority. Refer for instance, to the story in the last edition of CA! exemplifying incredible Islamic arrogance, even in the simple matter of allowing a legally-cleared Church building to operate in a favoured area in Ilorin, Kwara state. Kwara, just like Plateau, is a gateway state linking the North and South of Nigeria; and both of them have a roughly equal Christian-Moslem population. In such a situation, as is fast becoming a reality in Kwara state, access to state powers is blatantly used to compel non-moslems to a subdued ‘dhimmified’ second-class citizen livelihood – as in states like Kano and Zamfara where Moslems are in the vast majority. Achieving Kwara in Plateau state is clearly one of the major goals of Nigerian Islamic Jihadists, and a direct cause of the Jos conflict. It is at the same time religious, ethnic and political – in that order of relative importance!
As for the hundreds of lives lost in pre-meditated Islam-instigated killing, the President of the country, Alhaji Umaru Yar Adua at the Joint Sitting of the National Assembly for the presentation of the 2009 Appropriation Bill requested the customary “ one-minute silence” in their memory. For the survivors, he offered his personal prayers, according to the Vanguard newspaper, that “the almighty Allah condoles those who have lost their loved ones and those who have lost their property and also those who have sustained all kinds of injuries.” (www.vanguardngr.com/content/view/23228/42/). Going by past antecedents, (as we have always been careful to point out), that’s probably the end of the story. How sad!