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The Jihad According To Governor Samuel Ortom

Written By Abu Maigoro

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Gradually, we are brainwashing the most vulnerable people in the society through unguarded utterances using religion and ethnic as a tool to solve our political future.

The unfortunate killings in Benue and the amplifying of different interpretations as a reason behind the unreasonable murder of innocent soul has undoubtedly created disharmony and tension between Christians and Muslims.

However, Sharon Faliya Cham of vanguards for the Protection of Democracy in Nigeria, already discredited the fabricated agenda of “ethno-religious cleansing”.

In his text at a press conference on 7th June, 2018, with the theme; There Is No Religious War In Nigeria, he said:

“It is unfortunate that certain high profile individuals in the state country have turned their backs on the fatherland and openly become willing accessories to the evil and unpatriotic plot of other enemies of Nigeria within and outside.

Such individuals chose to betray the national cause from which they derived their privileged status and recognition as statesmen and leaders by fanning embers of discord and intolerance among people while at the same time undermining the legitimacy, authority, and effective performance of the defense and security agencies at a critical period”. I quote.

Governor Ortom was said to have described the ugly killings in Benue and in some part of North as a continuation of Sheikh Othman Danfodio Jihad by his Fulani herdsmen ancestors.

This had actually paved way for social media, Lagos press, TV and radio studios to justify and stereotype every Fulani herdsman into a violent caricature, blood-thirsty and treacherous… that they conducted every attack against the people and slaughtered every single farmer.

Also, they accuse them of responsible of gunning down two holy priest of the Catholic Church and 17 others.

And according to the reports herdsmen rendered many communities homeless and others escape to IDP camps in different locations, with the aim to conquer and  establish Sokoto caliphate.

In fact, the whole epic is built on a curious hatred. More ominously, the trend has schooled generation of Benue – Middle Belt Christians to view Fulani herdsmen as perfidious enemies.

In this trend we are bent to read from the other site of the story and we are programmed to agree with the only media sympathy on Tiv ethnic group but we are bound to ignore any casualty from voiceless Fulani ethnic group.

But Mr Emmanuel Yawe, a native of Benue from Tiv dialect, penned in his weekly article on the Nation Newspaper of 27/05/2018 that “the clashed between nomadic herdsmen and rural sedentary farmers are not new to Benue state or states that are in the Benue valley.

“These has been there as old as Nigeria itself.

“Under colonial administration when agriculture was the main stay of Nigerian economy, the colonial masters took measures to ensure the rural populace involved in sedentary farming and the roaming pastoralists – in the northern region.

“Both have adequate space to earn  their living. Forest reserved and grazing routes were carried out as maintained as state policy. Those who offended the law received punishment.

“This policy continued in the first republic. The radical change came with the collapse of the first republic and the ascendency of oil as the major cash cow of Nigerian economy.

“Agriculture and agricultural practice suffered a serious relegation in the eye of government. Consequences of this radical change in the policy soon emerged.

“Grazing routes gave way to highways built by government with the money derived from crude oil sales. Modern cities like Abuja took much of the land that was reserved for grazing under the government of the colonial masters and the first republic.” He said.

In this juncture, the enacting of anti – grazing law could be another factor that can cause crises between farmers and herdsmen but it should not be seen as a major cause as  Honourable Minister of Defense Mannir Dan-Ali believed to as the only reason behind the killings.

I totally disagree with the minister because his state of Zamfara is currently in serious devastation of killings and destructions by cattle rustlers, herdsmen and unknown gunmen  and there is no anti – grazing law there.

The killings in Zamfara are the worst menace to have ever seen in recent community attack.

Both Governor Ortom and Defense minister justified their incompetence by arguing and repudiating.

Self-aggrandizement and denial on national issue can only add salt to injure when Nigerians are waiting for them to work in synergy in finding alternative community resolution and proper security architecture that can guarantee lasting solution to the incessant killings.

The Minister of Defense position on anti-grazing law triggered the sentiment behind Sokoto Caliphate. And Governor Samuel Ortom being a student of primitive interpreters of Jihad could hardly hide his perception and general misconception of jihad in the mind set of average Nigerian Christian.

Now, it has become a duty to clear the air on Sheikh Danfodio’s Jihad with the current crisis or killings of innocent soul for any reason. There is no connection between the two in any explanation.

The Jihad of Danfodio came in the late seventeenth century, and it wasn’t aimed to wage a war against any faith or ethnic group.

It was social revolution  against unjust rulers, oppression, corruption and servitude to bring back the glory to the common man. Jihad literally means “struggle”. It means a struggle to improve the self or society or do to the will of God.

Sheikh Danfodio  came at a time when there was a serious state of crisis and social disarray in the  area of Hausaland. Most Hausa rulers were corrupt and oppressors. Ethnic division among the societies with difference in structure mostly spoke different languages and while both groups were largely Muslim.

Therefore, the declaration of Jihad was widely circulated among the Muslim community in Sokoto Province  and spread to neighboring states, such as Kano, Katsina and Daura who had similar conflicts against their Hausa rulers.

There was no effort to force non – Muslims to convert, in fact, several areas practice their religion without harassment and continued to coexist peacefully with the Sokoto Caliphate.

The political and scholarly talent of Sheikh Usman Danfodio  had credibly transformed Muslim ummah to practice Islam in accordance with the Shari’a.

He taught them to abstain from stealing, lies, laziness, cheating, oppression, corruption, fornication, opulent lifestyle, neglect of the poor and illiteracy. And encourage them to acquire knowledge and to be self – reliance.

Also in his book title “Irshaad,” he would say, “It is obligatory on a woman to acquire a full knowledge of her religious obligations such as prayer, fasting, zakaat, ḥajj , as well as the more mundane matters such as trade and transactions.

“If the husband is not able to supply this knowledge, she is under an Islamic obligation to go out in search of it.

“If he refuses her the permission,” the Sheikh Danfodio stated categorically, “she should go out without his permission, and no blame is attached to her nor does she incur any sin thereby.”.

This is the summary of the social transformation of Sheikh Othman Danfodio Jihad which Governor Samuel Ortom  was referring to the carnage in his state.

Maigoro writes from Jos, Plateau state

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