By Chioma Gerbil
When Gov Nyako’s memo to Northern Governors’ Forum first leaked to the press, there was a huge argument on whether the letter was real or forged. The memo titled On-Going Full-Fledged Genocide in ‘Northern Nigeria’ dated April 16, 2014 was sent to Vanguard’s mailbox on Friday April 18 and it triggered off an argument in the newsroom as to whether somebody forged Nyako’s signature; whether the memo was real or fake and other security questions.
The argument also bordered on whether the seal of Adamawa state government was real or super-imposed. The argument degenerated further into whether a serving governor and ex- soldier who understands security issues would be so irresponsible to write about security issues in that manner.
When our argument was getting nowhere, we called Editors of other newspapers but most of them claimed they didn’t see the memo. At the end of the day (Friday April 18), we decided to call the Chief Press Secretary to the governor who didn’t pick our calls. We called two others in Nyako’s government who claimed ignorance of what we were talking about. At that point, we decided not to do any write-up on the matter.
But by Sunday, most newspapers and on-line publications had gone ahead with the publication of the story, some sensationalising it and even quoting the presidency’s reaction.
The first paragraph of Nyako’s memo read:
“The adverse security situation in Northern Nigeria in particular and Nigeria in general is being felt by all of us. While every State Government is doing everything possible using virtually all its resources to stem the tide of near disaster facing all of us especially in the North, it is a well-known fact that the present Federal administration has now become a government of impunity run by an evil-minded leadership for the advancement of corruption that is apparently enjoying the protection of the Federal administration but is being denied by the administration using its mass murderers/cut-throats imbedded in our legitimate and traditional Defence and Security organisations. It is very clear that the protection of life and property of innocent citizens in Northern Nigeria and recognising their Human rights and Voting rights in the forthcoming general elections is no longer a cardinal principle of the administration.”
The memo went ahead to allege that the victims of Jonathan administration’s evil-mindedness are substantially Northern Nigerians, accusing the administration of determination to bring wars to the North between Muslims and Christians and within them; and between one ethnic group and another or others in various communities in the region. Nyako claimed that cases of mass murders by Jonathan administration’s bloody minded killers and cut-throats are well known and accused the government of attributing the killings to Boko-Haram. In other words, Nyako perceived the killings to have been carried out not by Boko Haram but Jonathan administration’s henchmen.
This memo was perceived as most irresponsible and very inciting and many think that such a governor in other climes, ought to have been arrested and tried for sedition and treason.But Nigerian government didn’t take any serious action against him.
He wrote further:
“Thousands of our young girls and boys have been kidnapped by clearly organised militia in the last few years and kidnapping is now a random affair all over the far North. These organized kidnappers must have the backing of the Federal administration for them to move about freely with abducted children just as those who convey ammunition and explosives from the Ports to the safe-houses of so called Boko-Haram in the North.
“We no longer accept let alone believe that our prominent Mallams in the Mosques in Kano and Zaria have been killed by ‘innocent’ Boko-Haram members or Christians in the North, nor do we believe that the killing of the Pastor and other worshippers in the Christ Apostolic Church in Jimeta-Yola was done by any Muslim or Boko-Haram members. We know where we are now pointing our fingers. There have also been attempts to assassinate the Senate President (Northerner) in Imo State, two Executive Governors of States in the North (the Governor of Benue State and my humble self), two of our most prominent Traditional leaders (Shehu of Borno and the Emir of Kano), Senators and others too numerous to mention, all from Northern Nigeria. This is in line with the demonic policy of the evil-few in and around the administration that have advocated how Northerners, both Christians and Muslims, are to be so dealt with, ill-treated and oppressed!
“No wonder, we in the Northern Nigeria are now facing an organised ethno-religious campaign of hate fuelled by the Federal administration to make communities which hitherto have remained peaceful for centuries to start killing the minorities in their midst and to facilitate mass killings of the innocent and the arbitrary arrests and torture of elders of minority ethnic groups in the various Northern communities…
“Fulani communities in parts of the North who have been in their locations for over 100 years are now being raided and uprooted by paid killers within the Nigerian Army for the satisfaction of the Federal administration instead of being protected as citizens with their rights and dignity safe-guarded. This has happened to those communities at Keana L.G. in Nasarawa State and Laddoga and Kachia in Kaduna State. It is presently extended to Benue, Zamfara and Katsina States. Furthermore it is a well-known fact that virtually all the soldiers of Northern Nigerian origin recently recruited to fight Boko-Haram have been deceived in that aspect. They are being poorly trained, totally ill-equipped, given only uniform and are killed by their trainers in Nigerian Army training centres as soon as they arrive in the Nigerian Army camps being used by so-called Boko-Haram insurgents. Virtually all the Nigerian Army soldiers killed/murdered in these operations so far are of Northern Nigerian origin. The administration has also hired militia from all across especially North Africa who have been deceived into accepting to come because they were made to believe that they would be fighting infidels…”
It was the most irresponsible letter to have been written by anybody, let alone a serving governor? What did Nyako intend to achieve by those frivolous allegations? Should a responsible leader habour such in his thoughts or imagine same in his imaginations let alone put pen on paper to write same to anybody?
What Nyako was trying to do was to incite people and create more blood-letting in the polity. Was he trying to blame the South for the carnage in the north? Or was he trying to say that it was the southerners who went to northern Nigeria to be killing southerners and after succeeding in driving them away from the north, are now creating sacrilege in Northern Nigeria as being witnessed today?
Was it Jonathan that vowed to make Nigeria ungovernable in his own regime? Haba, Gov Nyako! Did you really write this or did somebody else do it on your behalf?
Ordinarily, one would join the call for milads to take over four northern states as that could bring total sanity in the system but this is democracy and we are giving it all it takes.
So much was said about the kidnapped school girls in the North and many are also beginning to ask more questions.When are we going to see the faces of the parents of these alleged kidnapped school girls of Chibok? When will the school authorities publish the faces of the kidnapped girls, those that escaped from their captors and those still missing? Can we see the faces of the parents crying over their missing daughters? What are the roles of politics and 2015 elections in this issue? What is the exact number of the missing girls? 100, 200, 230 or 234? Can the principal of the school speak on camera? Can we see her face and know what she looks like? How did it happen? Who saw it happen? Was it so easy to kidnap about 234 girls and nobody raised alarm till the completion of the operation? We have had series of protests. Do the protesters know these truths? The school girls that allegedly escaped, can their faces be seen? Can they speak and narrate their experiences on camera? Were these girls actually abducted in the first place or was the whole thing stage-managed?
But something in Nyako’s letter appear true indeed. The killings started in Borno and we mused over it until it degenerated. Then it moved on to Yobe and we didn’t take them seriously. The killers proceeded to Adamawa State and we watched and condemned. And progressively, the killings continued. They attacked Kano, Katsina and Sokoto. We condemned. Now their tanks and marauders have begun rolling into the North-Central. They have invaded Abuja, even the seat of power and they are making progress. They keep hitting Abuja and on May 1, did it again. Imagine the impunity of the terrorist! The other day, Boko Haram scare hit Lagos!
But there is a scenario I have noticed. And it can become something else in the future. We are contending with Boko Haram. There are also the Fulani herdsmen who have invaded our communities and are creating tension.
Now, there are other questions we have not asked ourselves. In Lagos alone, most okada riders along Apapa-Mile 2 axis are non-Nigerians. In our homes in Lagos, they are our mai-guards. And down our streets, they operate kiosks and shops. They polish your shoes and kill your cows.
In the South-East, while the natives leave their homes and villages to hustle in the cities, the villages are left in the hands of these itinerants who came into Nigeria from neighbouring countries. They dig our boreholes, our latrines and toilets and do other menial jobs. They are the mai-guards even in the villages where we come from. They are also well organised like Boko Haram but are working for us at present. We don’t know their links with the others and how dangerous they could be. Yet they are our watchmen! Some are northerners but most are not Nigerians and they are everywhere all over Nigeria. Now, that is one issue! If Nyako truly wrote this memo to Northern Governors’ Forum, he was very economical with the truth. The only truth about his memo is that we should watch the spread. And that is the biggest issue.