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Lamentations in Sodom

Chioma Gabriel

My brother lives in the Cameroons. Sometime ago when he visited Nigeria and came to my house, he told me the mallam at the gate speaks a different language and when I  tried to convince him the man speaks Hausa, he said he speaks Fulfulde.  Now, my brother is gifted in languages. He speaks Igbo, French, Hausa, Fulfulde and appreciable Yoruba. That is besides English and pidgin. Throughout the period he stayed in my house, he was friendly with the mai guard who saw him as a brother.

Later in the village, I tried to convince him to speak that language with mama Ngozi, my uncle’s wife who is also Fulani. Mama Ngozi was surprised and it also turned out that all mama Ngozi’s children speak Fulfulde, Hausa and Igbo. The only difference is that mama Ngozi’s children who all bear Igbo names are more inclined to Islam than Christianity but that have never been an issue amongst us.

They prayed both Islamic and Christian prayers with their mother and on Sundays, everybody goes to Church.

In the north where most of them reside, they said they go to mosque and sometimes to the Church. One of these cousins drives a luxurious bus and his route is the northern states. He told us he worships more in the mosque than in the church because of occasional disturbances. He even narrated a situation when Boko Haram insurgents arrested them and later allowed him to go when they realized he is more inclined to Muslim lifestyle even though his name is Uchechukwu.

In the family, we call him and his brothers Hausa although they speak Igbo and bear Igbo names.

Their father, my uncle died sometime ago but his Fulani wife is still home with us. With eight children and over ten grandchildren, where will she go?

If the way we live in our family back in the village is the way Nigerians tolerate each other, there will be peace.

If you are going to the south-east, from the Head Bridge, every Hausa and Fulani businessman speaks Igbo: whether he is selling suya, onions, rams and goats or in whatever business. Their children also speak the language.

In the south-west, most businessmen and residents who are originally from other places speak Yoruba.

In the north, indigenes from other places also speak Hausa and Fulfulde.

To me, the fear of Islamization and Fulanisation may not be real. Some of our brethren understand that language especially businessmen like my brother just like some of them understand Igbo and Yoruba.

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Nigeria has gone too far as to be trampled under foot by anybody.

There is a limit to silence and anybody trying anything funny cannot go far.

Nigerians should focus more on what keeps us together. We appear poised to argue and compel or force each other to agree and support our points of view. That is not possible. We all have our idiosyncrasies and so, in the high level of noise, many have lost their balance and interrupted greatly the flow of their message.

Nigerians can have proper discussions with less noise and threat. History should not repeat itself or rather, we should not repeat history. What happened in Nigeria of 1966- 1970 left scars so deep. They haven’t healed yet.

It is a pity we are the way we are. Developed people are craving diversity, drawing strength there from, teaching diversity and collaboration but here, we bicker over everything, we create confusion and are opposed to the trend of making progress. We go backwards and lament over our mistakes.

Insurgents, herdsmen, bandits and kidnappers have taken Nigeria by storm. They are now with us in every sphere of life. We live in houses where we don’t know the livelihood of the man living next door. We decry the high level of insecurity in Nigeria where we cannot seem to tackle the menace. These issues crop up and we disregard them until they go from bad to worse. It used to be Boko Haram. Now, it’s including herdsmen and bandits and we don’t know the new one that would crop up tomorrow. Kidnapping has been taken to dizzying heights.

These have both incubated and developed beyond what Nigeria can handle alone. They are now combined and internationalized.

Like former President Obasanjo said, we used to blame everything on lack of employment of the youths. But it is no longer an issue of lack of education and lack of employment for our youths in Nigeria. It is now global organized crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change.

A man like Obasanjo would not raise an alarm in vain. He still has accessible to intelligence matters and Nigeria should find out what he know but not by way of intimidation. His alarm has since gained support across Nigeria although many are also aghast. It is okay to blame Obasanjo but he spoke his mind as an elder statesman.  Maybe he knows something.

He spoke the truth and bared his mind over what is unfolding in Nigeria and indeed, showed how blinded by power, insensitive and callous people are becoming.

Many Nigerian leaders have denied the reality of an ongoing Jihad in Nigeria, and clarified certain misconceptions in the interest of peace and development of Nigeria. Leaders of different spheres have been called upon to tread softly to avoid a pending implosion.

But some elders are insisting that Islamists have been interfering in the governance of the country, using “Taqiyya” (approved deception) as “Stealth/Civilization Jihad” while they use Boko Haram and herdsmen as violent Jihad and were relentless in their pursuit of eradicating democracy in Nigeria. They believe the objective of the Islamists (political Islam) is to supplant the constitution of Nigeria with Sharia ideology as the source of legislation in the nation. These leaders think the nation is in the throes of Jihad.

According to them, Nigeria is moving dangerously close to a national “red line” where truth was now being criminalized as “hate speech.

Indeed, we should wake up to the issues that there are herdsmen which are different from the traditional herdsmen we know. It is no credit to the Federal Government that the herdsmen rampage continues with careless abandon and without finding an effective solution to it.

Plateau State, Zamfara and Kaduna States are currently the main site of ethnic and religious violence in northern Nigeria. There have been recurrent crises across the states, in urban and rural areas.

The issues involve political exclusion on the basis of ethnicity and religion, on the Muslim side, and fears of religious and cultural domination, among Christians.

Silence over these allegations is not golden.

The powers that be should address Nigerians and tell the people the truth.

Nigeria should not be like Rome where the Emperor played the fiddle while the city burned.

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