Comrade Joseph Evah, Human Rights activist and former Publicity Secretary of Ijaw National Congress (INC) is Coordinator of Ijaw Monitoring Group. In this interview he spoke on the survival of former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari in a bomb blast.
He said his survival saved Nigeria the genocide that would have been worse than what happened in Rwanda. Excerpts:
By Azu Akanwa
BOKO Haram bombing is getting deadly by the day, what is your opinion?
In fact, it is full blown war that we are witnessing and I am ashamed of our Northern leaders that they are helpless. Northern leaders should be ashamed of themselves that they can’t call their children to order. They thought they had the mandate of their people be Nigeria military rulers and civilian presidents. So what is happening? Why are they all running and hiding in Abuja? It is a shame if Niger Delta political leaders entered canoe to move into the creek why are these Northern leaders staying back?
What is your advice to President Goodluck Jonathan now?
President Goodluck Jonathan should use the Ramadan fasting period to exchange the prisoners of war now. He should bring out prisoners of Boko Haram and exchange them with the Chibok girls now. I am appealing to the president to go the extra-mile as an African statesman to do this for the sake of peace. Let the world know that President Jonathan means well.
Americans and Britain recently exchanged prisoners with the Taliban fighters, if America can do that we can try something similar. In fact, Israel did that with Hamas few years ago before this their current war. We want our girls to come out this period and I believe if we take this approach some of the Boko Haram fighters may report and help this nation in the peace process.
How will you describe the attack on General Buhari?
Let me tell you the truth the survival of Buhari in that bomb blast was the greatest miracle from God this year. It was not General Buhari that was lucky, it was Nigeria that was actually lucky that Buhari survived the attack. Some people don’t know the implications because they are ignorant of history. The killing of two political leaders in a plane crash that was bombed in Rwanda was what led to the worst genocide in Africa history.
In some families in Rwanda, there is no generation to tell the story. Let me tell you how the scenario will look like, if the bomb had succeeded, the same people who organised it will use their propaganda to say President Jonathan has killed Buhari and that his body has been taken away to Aso Rock or Niger Delta and the local people who are ignorant will start the killing that will spread like harmattan fire across the North and the Southern part will not be able to control their tempers.
So what I am telling Northern leaders who now appear helpless in this Boko Haram crisis is to say whether they don’t want Nigeria to remain together. Nobody wants to stay in any forced marriage. If they want us to end this marriage called Nigeria, let us go our different ways peacefully instead of pretending in the name of Boko Haram and telling us that your children (Boko Haram) are faceless. God we thank you for the miracle that Buhari is alive. Those who are boosting that if this bomb had killed him nothing would have happened need to re-examine their heads learn from history and pray against such calamity.
If you see the army killing themselves in the barracks what can anybody do? This is the senerio we are talking about that happened in Nigeria before Gowon took over. In Abeokuta barracks, no Igbo officer stayed alive to tell the story, almost all officers were killed with their wives on the bed. That is the power of propaganda and rumour in a crisis period.
Even now some abnormal people are already saying President Jonathan is behind the attack. Can you imagine such careless and dangerous talk?
The new states proposed by the National Conference did not include any Ijaw states. What is your reaction?
We reject the insult on us. Frankly speaking it was an insult that Niger Delta people were not considered for a state.