The growing calls for Nigeria’s President Buhari, a Muslim, to stop moves that are increasingly pointing to Islamization of a country that is not Muslim but divided into a predominantly Muslim North and a predominantly Christian South has led Dr. Nwaezeigwe to go to court on behalf of himself and a group from Eastern Nigeria.
The East, a near-homogeneous Christian region, was the theater of Nigeria’s civil war of the late 60s when the region decided to secede from Nigeria, a call that has grown strident since Buhari’s presidency got under way. The president, a much-respected former ruler who was looked upon as one that would put an end to corruption that has nearly run the country aground, seems to now head a country that is fast moving towards full Islamization.
The top ranks in appointments and promotions are mostly of a combination that have become troubling: Hausa/Fulani/Moslems from the Muslim North. It should be noted that there are millions of Christians in the North made up of huge chunks of the populations in Plateau, Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Gombe and Southern Kaduna just as there are Muslims in Southwestern Nigeria, including millions of Yorubas (the ethnic group in the region) who are from families with Christians and Muslims who have never been known to have warring factions.
Arms-bearing Fulani cattlemen, despite Sultan of Sokoto’s assertion:
“Fulani men are only after their cattle not after government or its policies and programmes. How can they carry weapons, to go and do what with?”
Captured cattlemen after the Nnimmo massacre by cattlemen in Eastern Nigeria have debunked the North’s leader’s assertion by confessing those who armed them.
Meanwhie, Fulani cattlemen, who have always grazed their cattle in nomadic style, moving from North to South – where most meat buyers are, have always had problems with landowners. As they stopped along their routes to the South of the country, first in the central part of the country to graze, they had bloody clashes in many settlements of many parts of the above-listed states. This was known as Nigeria’s Middle Belt where Muslim traditional rulers, Emirs, were installed over the majority original communities by Muslim-controlled North.
As the nomadic cattlemen moved South, especially in Oyo North area of the Southwest, many farmers who reacted when their farms got trampled by cows were matcheted or killed while their wives were raped. Gradually, the nomads got more brazen and audacious as they penetrated into the region’s interior from where they’ve moved as far south as the Eastern part of the country. The impunity and resort to what is not less than terrorism by the nomadic cattlemen who, from news reports, are being encouraged and assisted in their rampage.
In the May 29 post here, I wrote why Fulani herdsmen pose a great danger to Nigeria’s unity a believable contention judging from several news reports, including over a dozen posts on this blog since April this year.
The following excerpt tells a bit of the story of how over 500 cattlemen stormed seven communities near Enugu, the political capital of Iboland and massacred SCORES of people in the attempt to take over their land for cattle grazing:
“Nimbo massacre: I recorded killing to show my people our success –Suspect” – Punch
According to the suspect, Fulani leaders rearing cows in Taraba, Kogi, Benue, Nasarawa, Katsina, Niger and Kaduna States contributed representatives to take part in the attack.
Zurai, a Fulani herdsman living in Kogi State, said he was born in Enugu State even though his family are from Garba Shehu town in Taraba State.
His statement revealed that prior to the attack, kolanuts were shared among Fulani leaders in the seven states earlier identified, urging them to support the attack.
While President Buhari, though late in doing so, has expressed that his administration would not condone the criminality of his Fulani kinsmen cattlemen, the Sultan of Sokoto, the North’s and Northern Muslims’ highest authority did speak out perhaps the collective mind of Northern cattle owners when he dismissed news of the various rampages by his kinsmen and his words would seem to override those of Nigeria’s president as things go these days.
Also, a Muslim Northern Nigerian senator, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, representing Nassarawa West in Nigeria’s Senate on behalf of a group describing itself as “Northern senators” even dared:
“There would be no country called Nigeria, if Fulani herdsmen were asked to leave their community and states …”!
And despite calls for cattlemen to graze in their own states on grazing land to be procured by cattle owners, the government’s attempt to have land allocated in the South to grazing, a decisive proclamation in support of such calls by President Buhari is unknown despite a generous call by the Catholic Conference of Bishops that the “Federal” Government should help build cattle ranches in states where cattle rearing is prevalent. Since cattle-rearing is private enterprise, and since cattlemen make tons of money, I’m sure the president realizes that idea would not pass.
The whole idea of Fulani cattlemen making incursions into Southern and Middle Belt land is to acquire land while the central government looks helpless. It was a plan that was successfully executed in the Middle Belt long ago. Southerners see the aggressive appointments and promotions of mostly Northerners who are Muslims, the belligerent acts by Northern cattlemen PLUS the government’s leaning towards seizure of Southern land as grazing lands – a “grazing bill” once surfaced at the National Assembly – make Southerners feel there really does exist a plan to take over Southern Nigeria’s lands.
far to in many cases There are also bloody encounters in the Middle Belt and the South between Fulani cattlerearers (a group that has grown more audacious in the last year that coincides with President Buhari’s rule) and land owners
President Muhammad Buhari, Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, have been dragged to the Federal High Court, Asaba, Delta State, over allegation of attempting to Islamize the country.
Dr. Nwankwo Nwaezeigwe, who is suing for himself and on behalf of members of Nigeria Civil War and Genocide Research Network, alleged that the Buhari’s Presidency was out to Islamize the country. Counsel to the plaintiffs, Kelechi Nnadi said that the case was filed in pursuant of the fundamental human rights of his clients.Also joined as defendants in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation, Alhaji Abubakar Malami and the National Assembly.
In the suit, the plaintiffs are asking the court to determine whether a five point alleged infractions of the Nigeria constitution does not amount to a violation of the constitution and an attempt to Islamize Nigeria.
They listed the five grounds to include; “whether Nigeria’s continuous membership of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, IOC, is not a violation of provisions of section 10 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended);
“Whether Nigeria’s membership of the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight against Terrorism does not derogate from the provisions of section 10 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which proclaims Nigeria as a secular state;
“Whether Nigeria’s continuous membership of Development ‘8’ otherwise called (Eight Developing Islamic Countries) is not a clear violation of the provisions of Section 10 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) Nigeria being a secular State; “Whether Nigeria’s continuous membership of Islamic Development Bank is not a clear violation of provisions of Section 10 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) Nigeria being a secular state; “Whether Islamic Bond otherwise known as SUKUK of funds from Islamic Development Bank can validly be used to fund the 2016 budget deficit by the Federal Government of Nigeria having regards to the secularity of the Nigerian State.”
They are praying the court to nullify or declare the cessation of Nigeria’s membership of Organization of Islamic Conference, OIC, Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism, Development or Developing Islamic Countries and Islamic Development Bank. They also want the court to restrain the defendants particularly the President and Attorney General from further enlisting Nigeria into membership of any organisation meant solely for Islamic countries or any organisation bearing any religious connotation.
Meanwhile, further hearing in the matter has been adjourned till September 29, before the trial judge, Justice A. Faji.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 05, 2016. 9:18 p.m. [GMT]