Monday, February 7, 2011

NIGERIA: Travails of national re-birth

Days after a prominent presidential aspirant threatened to make the country ungovernable, the nation rocked with a new series of bomb blasts, causing massive losses of innocent lives. Over a hundred lives were lost in the first set of multiple explosions in Jos, on Christmas eve, with the bombs strategically located in Christian areas or church precincts. Security operatives quickly determined that the bombing, though obviously directed at Christians, was completely different in execution from the previous methodologies used by Moslems to attack Christians in the region. (Compass Dec 27). Amidst the wailings and the tears, discerning Christian leaders also called for restraints from their followers. The Christian Association of Nigeria particularly urged Christians to be extra vigilant and be prepared to defend themselves, but warned against “reprisals”.
Perhaps the masterminds of the bombs were disappointed that the anticipated massive retaliatory attacks by Christians on Moslems (in the religious battleground that Jos had virtually been turned to), were not forthcoming as expected. They would not give in that easily though. More bombs were detonated a week later on the new year eve, at the Federal Capital, Abuja, causing more losses of lives. This time, it was the Nigerian military that the bomb blasters obviously sought to instigate into violence, as the major blasts targeted a “mammy market” adjacent to a military cantonment. Yet again, the conflagration the unpatriotic villains sought for, failed to materialize as an outraged nation nevertheless took the developments calmly. In utter desperation, the barbarians started to slaughter Igbo traders at Jos (, banking on the restive N’digbo spirit to retaliate. Again, by divine restraints, no such counter bloodshed of innocent Hausa lives as anticipated, occurred in the South East. And the enemy had come to their wit’s end.
We believe that Nigeria’s march into national re-birth is firmly on course; as indicated, ironically it may appear, by all these developments.
The chief threat-maker in question, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, had warned that by insisting on contesting the 2011 elections, President Goodluck Jonathan was making peaceful change of government impossible, and therefore making violent change inevitable. When accusing fingers were naturally pointed out at him following the spates of bombing, Alhaji Abubakar indignantly wondered why “eminent Nigerians” should be thought of capable of instigating such monstrous acts, which he eloquently condemned. His earlier threats apart, however, the question is, who else but “eminent Nigerians” could have the capacity for executing such actions?
Unlike the independence day bomb blast which was claimed by people operating on a socio-political platform, a previously unknown Islamic group going by the name Jama'atu ahlus-Sunnah Lidda'awati wal Jihad, quickly set up a website, claiming responsibility for the end-of-the-year blasts. It wasn’t long before minutes of a meeting by the Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI) held in Bauchi on 13th July 2010 came to the attention of security personnel.
Part of the minutes reads: "Sheikh Sani Yahaya JIBWIS on behalf of the JNI Chairman presented the challenges and the maltreatment against the religion of Allah by the Plateau State Government, the Berom Nation as well as the entire Christians.” And the resolutions? "Muslims in the state shall ensure that a few months before the general elections, Jihad will be declared in the state, which cannot be controlled even by security agencies, with great slaughter and massacre, which the Federal Government will have no option than to declare a State of Emergency in Plateau."
Clearly, the politicians who would make the country ungovernable have found ready tools in the jihadists. The wonder of it all is that, despite all the abundant clues to these no-brainer crimes, no one is yet being prosecuted! Even after some would-be bombers have been incapacitated by their own bombs and arrested, apparently they still can’t be arraigned. One of such incidents occurred at the Orientation Islamic Secondary School in Barakin Ladi, where an unidentified man was seriously injured and hospitalized while preparing bomb materials. Local residents had earlier reported to the police that some Islamic sect members were preparing bombs to attack them. At the scene, the police commissioner Mr. Abdulrahman Akano told newsmen: "We are investigating the man because his claims of mixing chemicals [for academic purpose] are not enough to explain what we saw." Later on however, (and as at the present time), the story seems to have changed; and oh, the unidentified Mallam could have indeed been just an innocent school teacher doing chemistry practicals! In another incident that offered clues on a platter of gold, as affirmed by Mr Bitus Kase, the member of the House of Representatives representing Jos East/Jos South Federal Constituency, the commissioner of police was transferred soon after a Fulani man was caught in Bassa Local Government Area with devices (The Sun, Dec 28, 2010). Bombs were not planted by ghosts, Mr Kase insisted.
We urge Mr President to resist the temptation and pressure to politicize these dastard crimes, for example by granting unofficial amnesty in exchange for political supports by any of the sponsors of these heinous acts. Nigeria’s march to true nationhood is on course, and these desperate evil bombers clearly have no glorious role assigned to them by the God of heaven in the matter. Goodluck Jonathan has assured Nigerians that the evil perpetrators would be fished out and punished. We pray that the Lord will grant the President’s prayer point he raised at the Redemption Camp during the last Holy Ghost Congress: for courage to do the right thing.

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