RE: – Plateau, the Middle Belt and the myth of ‘One North’

I share with you, the Middle Belt and the rest of the country the unnecessary, careless and inhumane lost of lives in Jos and its surroundings. My sincere condolences, deep felt sorrow goes to everyone directly or indirectly affected. The tragedy must be arrested and contained immediately. However, are you aware that the Christian Middle Belt (military, politicians and educated elites) handed Nigeria over to the Mythical One North, the Middle Belt’s nemesis today?

General J.T.U. Aguiyi-Ironsi was a nationalist. No ethnic agenda in his heart. He could easily have surrounded himself with his kinsmen, the Ibos, and make it absolutely impossible for other ethnic groups to rise and surpass the Ibos. No, Gen. Aguiyi-Ironsi didn’t take that route. He extended warmth and generosity to the rest of the country. He created and sustained opportunities for the Middle Belt, starting with Colonel Yakubu Jack D. Gowon.  

The Mythical One North, with Colonel Gowon’s acquiescence assassinated General Aguiyi-Ironsi, maimed, raped, killed and pauperized the Ibos throughout Nigeria landscape. Not satisfied, The Senate President, David Mark, as a military man, as part of the Mythical One North, declared the Ibo properties in Nigeria abandoned. David Mark confiscated those properties and assigned them to the Mythical One North and their co-conspirators from the South. David Mark has not made public his role in Ibo genocide and how many of those Ibo properties he appropriated to himself. He must have served the Mythical One North very well, as a young military officer, in lower ranking, for General Yakubu J. D. Gowon to recognize and reward him with the Chairmanship Abandon Properties Committee.

The truth shall be revealed someday.Indeed, just as the Ibos suffered, General Gowon was manipulated out of office – bloodless coup. After, an entire generation of military officers and civilians from the Middle Belt were either contained by execution or forced to retire. At one point, General Gowon had to fight to save his precious life. He owes perpetually gratitude to the Queen and the British Government. Hon. J. D. Gonwalk and the lesser known from the Middle Belt weren’t that fortunate.

They paid with their dear lives, in service to the Mythical One North. The Yorubas did not advance far, because the Mythical One North has a script for them and the whole South. Every ethnic group that conspired with Mythical One North to persecute the Ibos and others had withered, and only the Mythical One North is left standing. Why? What happened? What kind of progressive alliance are you now advocating with the South South without the South East and the South West involvement? Do you think such an arrangement will succeed and survive, excluding the South East and the South West constructive input?

I hope you’d not considered ethnic groups from those areas as spent fuel.Nevertheless, what the Middle Belt has to do to improve its current agonizing and terrible situation, in my humble opinion, is to embark immediately on true reconciliation with its past. The living remaining military men, politicians and educated elites from the Middle Belt involved in Ibo and others genocide and disenfranchisement should discuss openly individual and group participation and ask for genuine forgiveness.

True Christians (Nigerians) will forgive, but not forget, because that’s part of their history now. Gen. Gowon has asked the Asaba people for forgiveness and they forgave him. But he needs to do more. He has to advocate relentlessly for the return of all Ibo properties and bank accounts (rooted) confiscated, for cheap political expediency, when he’s the head of the government.

Also, he has to ask the entire Ibos and other affected Nigerians for forgiveness for his deep involvement in that dark and outrageous event in Nigeria history. The Ibos, I believe, will forgive and embrace him and intensify their efforts with every section of Nigeria to make the country modern and prosperous. The country has so much to go around everyone.

That will be a good start.


Bishara John Goni, PhD

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Geneva, Switzerland


The great Indian nationalist leader Mahatma Gandhi was once asked by an American journalist what he thought of ‘Western civilization’. The Mahatma quietly replied that he wished such a thing existed. Similarly, I would say that the idea of ‘One North’ would be an interesting idea – if such a thing ever existed.

The recent Jos crisis has punctured the legal fiction called ‘One North’. The idea that the North is one big happy family with a common identity and single collective future is not only patently fallacious; it is based on dangerous hypocrisy and make-believe. If it ever existed at all, it is now a divided house; a broken calabash. It is a delusion that would not go away because it suits the interests of both the Muslim North and their deluded counterparts in the Middle Belt who are obsessed with enhancing their bargaining clout within Nigeria’s competitive ethno-regionalism. In reality, it is a dude cheque in political terms; a marriage of convenience that died a long time ago, although the couple are still going through the motions.It is crucially important that we come to terms with the honest truth; recognizing our differences and learning how we might live side-by-side in mutual respect and tolerance.

The Muslim North has a heritage rooted in the traditions of Jihad and the Caliphate. The Christian Middle Belt has an identity anchored on Christianity and resistance. The peoples of the Middle Belt are what they are today because they were never conquered by Jihad and never subscribed to enslavement by the Caliphate and its feudal powers. The fact that we all speak the Hausa language is neither here nor there.

There are always two sides to any story, of course. According to the Muslim narrative, Northerners are the heirs to an illustrious heritage rooted in Jihad and the Caliphate. They belong to a global Muslim Ummah in which the Nigerian branch is one of the largest on the African continent. They have had a tradition of learning and rulership that is probably unequalled in the annals of the Western Sudan. The British colonialists subjugated the North in a manner that benefitted Christians and Western imperialist interests, blocking the southward march of Islam.

In the light of the global Islamic resurgence, the traditions of Jihad have to be reinvented to meet the needs of the twenty-first century. Western secularism and materialism have shown themselves to be highly discredited. Muslims have had to be vigilant in defending their honor and their values from assault by Western imperialism as represented by the twin evils of Zionism and American neoconservative reaction.Muslims must assert their identity wherever they are.

Believing themselves to constitute an overall numerical majority in Nigeria, they do not see why they should not have a free hand to remake the country in their own image. And because the predominantly Christian South has historically dominated the economy and financial and banking system, access to political power is the only trump-card that Muslims really have. Once in power, they must use that opportunity to defend the Northern Islamic interest, however defined.

They see nothing amiss in dominating all strategic ministries and departments of government from finance to planning, economy, the armed forces and petroleum. In none of the far Northern States are Christians accorded equal status with their Muslim counterparts. As a matter of fact, most churches are barely tolerated – they are in fact seen as being more of a menace than anything else. Aggressive proselytizing by some Pentecostal groups has been seen as a source of irritation, if not provocation. Shari’a law was partly initiated as counter to the growing missionary threat.

The Almajiri system is nurtured as a potential army to be deployed when Christians need to be ‘taught a lesson’. And when the ‘lesson’ is being taught, the victim is expected to ‘turn the other cheek’ according to what their holy Book supposedly teaches. And if they choose to retaliate, it is ‘genocide’. The peoples of the Christian Middle Belt see things differently. They believe they have always endeavored to live in harmony with their Muslim neighbors, although it is doubtful if the Muslims feel the same goodwill towards them.

The persecution of Christians and the torching of churches has become an annual ritual in most northern states since the 1980s. Christians in the far North would tell you that they live in dread of what may erupt at the slightest provocation. They would insist that they have never been the aggressors in any confrontation with Muslims. A poor illiterateIgbo woman might use a stray piece of paper with Arabic writing to wipe her hands, and all hell could break lose. Or it might be cartoons from distant Denmark, a place that most ordinary Christians and Muslims cannot find on a map. Many of these attacks are random in character and are mostly unprovoked. Even more ominous is the fact that they often occur with the tacit knowledge if not connivance, of some of the most influential elements within the North.

These days, especially here in Switzerland where I currently live and in much of the Western world, there is a relentless stream of Islamophobia that demonises Muslims in a manner that no decent intellectual would accept. The irrational fear of Islam is as contemptible as any insults on the person of the Prophet (PBH) and on the religious observances of Muslims.

We all know that ordinary Muslims are for the most part decent and law-abiding people. As a matter of historical record, the world intellectual community owes a debt to the great Muslim thinkers of the past who have made such impressive contributions to fields of learning as diverse as chemistry, mathematics, astronomy, philosophy and the historical sciences. But the ideal of the Islamic Enlightenment is one thing; violent fanaticism is quite another.

The Muslim world today is being held hostage by a small band of violent murderers who are hiding behind the banner of Global Jihad; an illiberal horde committed to the use of violence and terror as instruments in the pursuit of unlimited ambitions. It is a new form of fascism that encourages total contempt for human life. The Middle Belt has been at the receiving end of Global Jihad for more than a decade now, with impetus from revolutionary explosions in Iran, war in Afghanistan and Islamist Madrassas in Pakistan, Yemen and Sudan. Earlier on, we had the Islamisation policies of the Sardauna which were fiercely resisted.

Some of our chiefs were under pressure to convert at pains of demotion. During the military era, many Christian Middle Belt officers were compelled to convert or lose promotion. Those who remained defiant were hounded out through premature retirement or unfavourable postings.Those, like the Biblical Esau, who sold their souls for a mesh of pottage, were soon to realize that, as latter-day converts, they occupied a lower and suspect status in the order of things. Even today, under the current democratic dispensation, army postings, despite impassioned denials in certain quarters, are being reshaped in accordance with the whims and caprices of Northern hegemony. Several Middle Belt officers have been quietly retired for no just cause. The kind of blatant abuse that is allegedly taking place has not been seen since the dark days of military tyrant Ibrahim Babangida.

The questionable role of people like Army Chief General Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau and Major-General Saleh Maina, Commanding Officer, 3 Division, during the recent Jos crisis leaves much to be desired. They certainly have shown themselves to be untrustworthy as far as the people of the Plateau and indeed the Middle Belt are concerned. It is also instructive that just before the outbreak of violence, a mysterious order came from Abuja to transfer all Plateau indigenes in the Nigerian Police Force out of the State. With the benefit of hindsight, it was a malicious move. The attempt to subjugate and humiliate the peoples of the Middle Belt is nothing new. Our northern Pharaohs had always ensured that the region was always marginalised in terms of location of industries and development projects.

When it comes to representation at the Federal centre, the region always plays second fiddle to the Muslim North in the scheme of things.

Today, you are unlikely to find anyone from the Middle Belt holding a senior cabinet position in any important department of government. The same applies to educational opportunities. If your parents gave you a Christian sounding-name, the authorities at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria are most unlikely to admit you into professional courses like medicine, pharmacy and engineering. And it does not matter how many distinctions you have in WAEC or JAMB. A young, charismatic and gifted scientist – and winner of the LNG Prize for Science – has been denied the headship of Ahmadu Bello University even though his profile dwarfs that of all his rivals for the post. His only ‘deficiency’ is that he is not a Muslim. His wife and children were recently kidnapped, while his sisters and extended family have come under extreme harassment, all with the aim of discouraging him from standing for the Vice-Chancellorship.

The contempt of the Muslim North for Middle Belt Christians knows no bounds. Northern leaders continue to pay lip-service to ‘One North’, but we know that their definition does not include us. Middle Belt leaders are largely to blame for pandering to this empty, nauseating charade.

They have lost the vision bequeathed to us by such heroes as Joseph Sarwuan Tarka, Jolly Tanko Yusuf, Rev. David Lot and Patrick Dokotri. And we have all but forgotten the arduous sacrifices they made so that our people would have a more dignified future. Clearly, the calabash is broken. Instead of trying to mend it, now is the time for the Middle Belt to look to forging alternative strategic alliances, especially with the South-South. It is foolhardy to persist in the illusion of ‘One North’ when we are getting absolutely nothing out of it. The Middle Belt has enough manpower, land and natural resources to stand on its own. With our rich and fertile soils, the region can feed the whole of Nigeria with food. Jos Plateau alone can feed the whole of West Africa with potatoes and vegetables.

The ultimate truth is that the Middle Belt does not need the far North. Rather, it is the far North that needs the Middle Belt. And when the next national crisis comes, we must make it abundantly clear to the Muslim North that they are on their own. Never again will the natural valour of the Middle Belt peoples be exploited in the service of a lie. It is about time somebody saw through this humbug before it is too late.

The Sardauna, whom latter-day hagiographers are praising to the high heavens, was the man who started the tradition of ‘homosexually-centred’ rulership which people like late Major Gideon Orkar once railed against. Although he picked a few people from the Middle Belt whom he favoured with offices and largesse, the Sardauna pursued a systematic policy of subjugation of our people. He had never concealed his millennial ambition to “dip the Koran into the sea”. And it is clear that he was prepared to ride on top of the bones of our ancestors in his quest to reach the Atlantic.

Plateau people have never forgotten the fact that the Sardauna, in connivance with the perfidious British, had carefully laid out a plan to move all Jos indigenes from their ancestral homeland to the present Mararaban Jema’a area. He wanted to turn over the lush and green pastures of the Plateau to his own Fulani cattle-grazing kinsmen.

The departing colonialists were prepared to support him because they wanted to maintain some influence in the corridors of northern power after independence. It is important to underline this point as the factor why Plateau people are so edgy when it comes to the matter of land. It is also vital to bear in mind that the so-called ‘settler-indigene problem’ was neither invented by, nor is it unique to, Plateau State.

In the far North, Hausa-Fulani Christians are among the most persecuted people in the world. They are never accorded equal status among the people they live with. In the civil service they are often passed over when it comes to promotion, while in political appointments they are generally ignored. It is unthinkable that anyone with a name such as Bishara John Goni could ever dream of contesting in a local government election in Kano, Zamfara or Sokoto.

If this is the case elsewhere, why are Plateau people being singled out for demonisation for not voting for anyone other their own in Jos North Local Government, which also happens to be the abode of their most powerful paramount ruler, the Gbong Gwom Jos? What gives the Hausa-Fulani the right to impose themselves through the instrumentalities of terror and violence in a land that historically is not theirs?

Ideally, of course, we would all prefer to live in a country where citizenship is defined strictly in accordance with legal domicile rather than primordial ancestry. This is the universal standard for federalist constitutional democracies like the United States, Canada and Australia. Unfortunately, our country is still a long way away from that ideal. Plateau State cannot be made the villain for a problem that afflicts our entire Federation. What all this boils down to is that we must look elsewhere in seeking the explanatory variables for the persistence of violence and instability on the Plateau. We are led, inevitably, to the question of religion and Jihad.  

Those who are saying that the recent crisis has nothing to do with religion need to have their heads examined by a consultant neuropsychiatric surgeon. It is perhaps not a mere coincidence that one of the most virulent Muslim Brotherhoods has its base in Jos, with known links to Iran, Sudan and Libya. The Jihadists have been waging a relentless war against our people for the sole purpose of taking over our land and spreading their bankrupt ideology.

If the crisis had nothing to do with religion, why did they choose Sunday, a day of worship for all Christians, to launch their violent attacks? Why did they go into a church to massacre women and children at prayer as police commissioner Greg Anyanting reported, for which some are calling for his head?

Throughout the years, the pattern has been to target churches and pastors. During the last decade alone, more than 30 pastors have been killed. What would have become of our country if Christians, for example, had gone about massacring Muslims during prayers in mosques, and what if 30 Imams lost their lives in the process? The whole world needs to know about the satanic script from which these Jihadists have been operating.

During September 2001, in a well planned and coordinated attack, Muslim groups burned down churches and private homes in Jos in a frenzy of killing and looting. Thousands of Christians were slaughtered while many were burned while worshipping in their churches.

In December of the same year, the same hoodlums launched yet another attack, killing, looting and destroying property.

In June 2002, the Jihadists attacked Christians in Yelwa, Shendam, Wase, Barakin Ladi, Vom and Miango, again, killing people in their hundreds, burning down homes and churches.

On September 11 of the same year, as if to commemorate the cowardly plane attacks on the Twin Towers in New York, the Islamic hoodlums exploded a bomb at the Church of Christ in Laranto, Jos, causing a major structural damage to the building.

In the following month, hundreds of Christians were killed when an Islamic mob in collaboration with mercenaries from Chad and Niger Republic, attacked the town of Fajul, burning churches and homes, killing innocent people and raping women.

In December of the same year, they launched yet another assault on churches and Christian homes. Notable among the casualties were the Reverend Bitrus Manjang, his son, daughter-in-law and their six-month old child. How holy, indeed, is the precious blood of the martyrs!

In March 2003, thousands of Jihad warriors launched an attack on Kadarko, a town in Wase Local Government Area, shouting “Allahu Akbar”; killing Christians and burning down homes and churches. In April, they attacked the Berom village of Wereng, near Vom, killing, burning, looting and raping. In February 2004, some 80 Christian men, women and children who had sought refuge in a church in Langtang were massacred in cold blood.

The United Nations and the World Council of Churches have been carefully documenting these wanton atrocities. All these point to a systematic pattern of killings that one could characterise as a policy of ‘genocidal Jihad’. The aim is to maim, destroy and pillage. What they cannot have, they must destroy; leaving behind a scotched earth of ruins, ashes and dead bodies.

Why the Plateau, one might ask. I think our latter-day marauding hordes are aware of the status of Jos as the ‘holy Jerusalem’ of the Middle Belt; the seat of Christian evangelical missionary activities in Nigeria. They are also envious of this blessedland which has a climate and a terrain like no other. Mambilla and Obudu may be equally beautiful, but they are remote.

Plateau is centrally located and easily accessible; a strategic confluence for business, commerce and tourism. Through violence and terror, they are hell-bent on appropriating what is not theirs. Nobody could determine to bring such ruination to a land if that land were truly his. What we are up against is nothing less than religious war.

It is a war against a latter-day Genghis Khan who knows only how to kill, maim, rape and destroy. We would always wonder what kind of god they serve: What kind of god could that be that purportedly gives rewards to those who rape and slaughter defenceless women and children at church services?

Some of us have read the highly jaundiced articles by people like Mohammed Haruna and Adamu Adamu, the propagandists for Jihad within the Daily Trust group of newspapers. We have a fair idea of how much they were paid to write atrocious lies with the pathetic objective of overheating the polity and unleashing chaos to discredit Acting President Goodluck Jonathan. They are a disgrace to the journalism profession.

Adamu, for example, declares that Plateau people are ‘jealous’ of the Hausa-Fulani who have been ‘successful’ in business and who have a natural flair for leadership. He also insinuates that Plateau people – and by extension the peoples of the Middle Belt – are suffering from an ‘inferiority complex’.

The word ‘genocide’ was being bandied about by these ignorant non-lawyers. Why would Plateau people become jealous of people to whom they have leased their own land to grow tomatoes and vegetables? Is it the idle moneychangers at Hill Station that they are jealous of or the people selling rickety old tokunbo cars smuggled from Belgium? Who are these nondescript Hausa-Fulani ‘businessmen’ that Plateau people are so envious of? Was it Plateau people that burnt down the Jos ultra-modern market – a market that was bringing good money into the State’s Treasury? Who, indeed, is jealous of whom?

As for the allegation of ‘inferiority complex’, the likes of Adamu and Haruna forget that the Middle Belt was the seat of one of the great civilisations of Black Africa – the Nok Civilisation — that covered Southern Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, Bauchi and Gombe. They had sophisticated iron smelting industries at the same time as did the ancient Greeks. Need we mention the Kwararafa Jukuns who controlled the ultimate levers of power in Hausaland for the better part of two centuries?  

Middle Belt peoples have borne more than their fair share of sacrifices to keep this country together. In peace as in war, there are few to equal the likes of Yakubu Gowon, Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, Domkat Bali, Gibson Sanda Jallo and several others. Our people are known to be God-fearing, chivalrous, accommodating and patriotic. Those who have married our women have found them to be virtuous and hardworking. We are the heart of Nigeria. This country would not have continued to exist as a corporate entity were it not for the sacrifices made by our people.

If anybody should feel inferior, it is not Plateau people, and certainly not the denizens of the Middle Belt. It is the shameless Jihadists who have been killing, maiming and raping defenceless women and children who are truly inferior.  

About the alleged leadership gifts of the Hausa-Fulani, we have heard this tiresome fairy-tale before, not least from the ‘homosexually-centred’ orifices of Maitama Sule. Who are these ‘great leaders’ that we don’t know of? Is it the ineffectual Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the barely literate school teacher whose lack of sagacity and imagination brought ruination to our First Republic?

Is it the chronic gambler and bank robber, Murtala Mohammed? Did he not gamble away an entire division at Asaba during the civil war? And did he not confess to robbing the Central Bank ofNigeria vaults in Benin City during the operations to recapture the Mid-West?

What about the chain-smoking Shehu Shagari, whom Gowon once described as the laziest minister he had ever come across? Was Shagari not a monumental disaster as President?  Or is the claim to leadership derived from the records of the ‘evil genius’ of Minna Hilltop Castle?

Can we begin even to contemplate the moral and material havoc that this destructive man has bequeathed our benighted nation? Was it not our ‘Maradona’ who institutionalised corruption and state-sponsored assassination as official policy? And why does this man hate Plateau people so much? Why does the outbreak of violence tend to coincide with his nocturnal visits to Jos? Why does he poke his finger so boldly on the body Christ?

We need not say anything about his ignoble successor, the military Sultan calledGeneral Sani Abacha. Then we have the pathetic Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, a man whose youthful excesses by way of alcohol and abuse of hard drugs have finally caught up with him.

From a human point of view, we sympathise with him over his illness and we wish him quick recovery. But is it true that he was once confined to a psychiatric asylum? Did his elder brother Shehu not discourage him from politics on account of his inherent character defects? It is pretty obvious that Umaru has squandered all the goodwill that ushered him into power, proving to be an ineffectual wimp.

Having ascended the Presidency, he astonished everyone — friends and foes alike — by proceeding into a deadly slumber as was his wont in Katsina, leaving the administration in the hands of his devious wife and ravenous Fulani kinsmen.

On the 25th September 1918, Lord Lugard wrote to his colleague Walter H. Lang: “The Hausa-Fulani has no ideals, no ambitions save such as sensual in character. He is a fatalist, spendthrift and a gambler. He is gravely immoral and is seriously diseased that he is a menace to any community to which he seeks to attach himself”.

So much for the gift of ‘natural leadership’! Please, Adamu Adamu, tell us something we don’t know, instead of peddling rubbish that insults our intelligence. The antics of the Jihadists have been familiar to us since the days of the Sardauna.

Their trademark is deceit. Through the abuse of ‘geopolitical zoning’, they have ensured that whenever any opportunity arises for the North, it will always go to a Northern Muslim. Their definition of the North does not include us. While Christians are the majority in Nasarawa, Kaduna, Niger and Adamawa, they have never ruled those states. Because of their ‘success’ in subjugating our people, the Jihadists are frustrated that they cannot take over the Plateau, oblivious of the fact that they are a settler minority of less than 5 percent.  In pursuit of their selfish ends, they invented a fictitious tribe called ‘Jasawa’, whom Judge Niki Tobi describes as the militant wing of the Jihadists.

They have sought to demonise Jonah David Jang, a successful former military Governor of two states; a trusted leader of his people and a compassionate theologian and pastor. Realizing that their claim is absurd, they are turning the whole thing on the Berom as the alleged perpetrators of ‘genocide’ against supposedly ‘defenceless’ Muslims.They overlook the little detail about Yoruba Muslims who have been living in Jos with no problems for the better part of a century. So have been the Igbos, Efiks and others.

They cannot convincingly explain why, having lived peacefully with everybody for so long, the Berom, Afizere and Jarawa would suddenly wake up one morning and single out the Hausa-Fulani for ‘genocide’.

The over 300-page report by Judge Bola Ajibola on the Plateau crisis has come out recently. In that report Ajibola unequivocally fingers the Hausa-Fulani as the main source of the unrest on the Plateau. He also points out areas where governance could have done a better job, indicating the necessary institutional reforms that the Jang administration must put in place to strengthen law and order.

A jurist of world repute, Chief Ajibola is nobody’s fool. A devout Muslim, no-one can accuse him of bias. An oracle of the law has spoken. Let those who are strangers to law, justice and truth continue in their self-delusions and diabolical wickedness.  

If a man comes and defecates in your compound, Okonkwo tells us in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, the manly thing to do is to take a stick and break his head. If the Jihadists expect people to lie back and relax while they kill, rape and maim their women and children, then they must be jokers.  

One thing that is clear from this saga is that the Islamic fascists do not cherish human life the way normal people do. While we believe in the ways of love, they believe in violence and the rule of fear. Force being the sole language they understand, we must be prepared to give as much as we receive.

As an international lawyer, I know of no jurisprudence in the Law of Nations that says if a man approaches your home at night with a submachine gun, you should warmly invite him in with chocolates and roses.

While the Federal Government which controls the police and the army fails to defend our people, we are left with no option than to defend ourselves. And if disproportionate force is what is needed to dissuade the Jihadists, then disproportionate force it must be. Nobody could have done a greater disservice to the image of Islam than these marauding hoodlums. They have only succeeded in making us defiant and contemptuous of everything they stand for.

Until now, we did not know that these people are as corrosive as sulphuric acid and that we truly have nothing in common. It is also clear that they have absolutely nothing of value to offer anybody. 

Is it their polygamy and the abject lack of family values? Is it the rampant divorce? Is it the widespread child abuse leading to the dreadful disease of vesico-vaginal fistula? Is it the ‘dan daudu’ mentality? Is it the culture of begging? Or is it their habitual cant and chicanery? And how does it come about that even the land becomes a desert once they lay their hands on it? Are they not labouring under a curse?

Nobody should be in doubt: we read the enemy well, suffering no illusions about the extent to which he can go to achieve his ends. We know how his mind works and how he operates – his terror antics, the mischief, the surprise element, the monkey tricks and the traitorous dissimulation. We also know that no atrocity is beneath him.

Even as I write, he is still going about like a roaring lion in remote Plateau villages, killing and maiming and raping. We know that he is really a coward who cannot face the music when push comes to shove.

Of course, violence can never be the ultimate. The Bible urges us to seek peace and to pursue it. Muslims, too, are children of God. None of us enjoys taking the life of any child of God. But there is a time for war and a time for peace. God the Son is a God of love; but the God of Joshua and Aron is also a flaming fire.

There comes a time when you must stop praying and act; when you must defend your family, your children, and your land. Such, alas, are the times in which we live. The Jihadists always have somewhere else to go to; we have nowhere to go, hemmed in as we are in the geometrical centre of the Nigerian Federation.

With all manner of imported arms and mercenaries arrayed against us, and with military chieftains who leave us in no doubt as to where they stand, it is Jehovah nissi alone that will defend us.

And if some of us should fall, the Angel of the Lord will fight for us. Our children will rush forth to meet the enemy at the gates with horns and trumpets of victory. Wherever death shall meet us, it will be welcome, to echo Ernesto Che Guevera. Our battle cry will reach out to others who will take up the Libyan arms left by the retreating enemy. And the Shekinah glory of our God shall never depart from our Beaulah Land.