A group in Nigeria under the aegis of Arewa Christians Association (ACIPA) has decried the level of insecurity in the region calling on the President of the United States of America Joe Biden to intervene before the country slides into war.
Here is the full statement:
PRESS STATEMENT ON THE INFRINGEMENTS ON MINORITY AND ETHNIC
PEOPLES RIGHT, SECURITY AND RELIGION IN NIGERIA BY AREWA
CHRISTIANS ASSOCIATION (ACIPA)
TODAY SATURDAY 27TH FEBRUARY 2021
1. Ladies and gentle of the press; the fourth realm of the estate, hope of the oppressed and democracy, fellow Nigerians, it has become imperative that we present our position at this critical moment of our journey as a Nation.
2. “Conscience is an open wound, only Truth can heal it” These are the exact words of Late Othman Danfodio (1804). Nigeria is on the precipice as a result of the handwork of few religious bigots and tribal chauvinist under different guise; some as politicians, others as clerics and others as monarchs. We observe with dismay and nostalgia the unfortunate but avoidable circumstance that led to demonstrations, destruction, killings and imposition of curfew in Billiri, Gombe state by Governor Mohammadu Inuwa Yahaya. Against all odds and advice from major stakeholders and prominent Nigerians, the governor chose the cheap side of religious bigotry and ethnic sentiment in despising and denying the Tangle people the right choice to their ancestral throne.
3. On Monday 15th February 2021, the nine (9) out of ten (10) kingmakers of the Tangle Royal stool voted. Dr. Musa Idris Mai Yamba was voted with five votes to become the new Mai Tangle elect. The other two contestants, Alhaji Danladi Maishanu Maidoki got two votes and Mallam Ahmed Magaji got two votes. Rather than doing the needful in accordance to the Gombe state chieftaincy law 2021 part VI number twenty (20) sub sections one (1), the governor travelled to Abuja and directed that Alhaji Danladi Maishanu Maidoki with two (2) votes out of the nine (9) be declared as the new Mai Tangle.
The above was the scenario that led to an earlier peaceful demonstration in Billiri before the breakdown of law and order.
4. However, on Wednesday 17th February 2021, the Tangle Intelligentsia movement promptly wrote the governor of Gombe state. Also, the Tangle community overseas wrote an open letter to the governor appealing that the wishes and desire of the Tangle ethnic people be upheld in accordance to their tradition, norms, rights and history. Unfortunately the governor reneged.
5. Despite the provocation leading to the crises in Billiri being precipitated by Governor Muhammadu Yahaya, he had the audacity to reel out his dictator’s riot act through a broadcast on Saturday 20th February 2021. It is unfortunate that the Governor a Fulani Muslim chose to arrogate to himself the right to impose a paramount traditional ruler to an ethnic people who are over 90% Christians. Item five (5) of the governors broadcast reads thus; “Let it be clear that it is within my power as governor to appoint any of three recommended candidates to become the new Mai Tangle” This is unfortunately the types of people we have as democrats in Nigeria!
6. Apart from the immediate past Late Mai Tangle, Dr. Abdu Buba Mai Sheru II being one of the paramount rulers of a major Northern ethnic group and Chairman of the Northern Nigerian Christian Monarchs, he is also one of the grand patrons of the Arewa Christians and Indigenous Pastors Association (ACIPA).
7. The Governor of Gombe State, Alhaji Mohammadu Inuwa Yahaya should be held responsible for whatever happened in Billiri and Gombe State with regards to the enthronement of the new Mai Tangle. The Bible is clear on leaders as Parents not to provoke their children to wrath, (Ephesians 6:4) because there is consequence(s). The infringement on minority righty, and ethnic nationalities with regards to territorial space, appointments, other constitutional rights and practice of religion as well as imposition of alien religious philosophy are unacceptable to Nigerians.
8. While the A.P.C government distraughtly rode her way to power amidst questionable circumstance using the change security mantra, the reality on the ground experienced by Nigerians is different from the government propaganda and narrative. The Kankara school children abduction in Katsina, the most recent Kagara school abduction in Niger state and the highly suspicious and questionable negotiation and settlements with public funds to Islamist criminals is no longer acceptable. These have come to confirm the obvious; a network of terrorists recycled as bandits or Fulani herdsmen with the agenda of empowering Islamist who do the dirty job for some clerics and Islamic government apologists.
9. It is evident that there is a nexus between the terrorists, Fulani militia, and the bandits and with some security personnel as well as politicians. The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the new service Chiefs know what to do unless if they are also going to play the ethnic or religious card to Nigerians while hiding under a smokescreen that have since been unveiled. While upholding the Islamic cleric sheik Mahmoud Gumi earlier, his diplomatic shuttle to the forests for a second time exposes the weakness of the security forces all led by Muslims also rise more questions.
10. The statement credited to Gumi that “attack on them (the terrorists/bandits) was carried out by Christian soldiers to cause division amongst them (Muslims)” is not only inciting but is culpable. Again the news on Hausa newspaper circulation to the effect that Sheik Ahmad Gumi said, “Boko Haram is a blessing to Muslims in Nigeria” is rather despicable.
We therefore, find it difficult to know where the respected Sheik Gumi belongs to. It is either he is loyal to Nigerian’s unity or sympathetic to criminal elements who are also Muslims. The respected cleric should allow the military and other security outfits do their job in accordance to their oath and as recently directed by the Commander in Chief and confirmed by the new Chief of Army Staff.
11. Cash settlement for terrorist, Fulani militia or bandits and prisoner swap for those abducted is unacceptable in view of this blown business and racketeering between politicians and criminals. Unless if there is double standard or complicity by government and the security operatives, this should seize forthwith.
12. Just as the statement from Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed of Bauchi state encouraging Fulani herdsmen to carry guns is disheartening so is the statement of Bello Matawalle the Governor of Zamfara state that, “Not all bandits are criminals” appalling and disgusting. Perhaps the governor has another definition of banditry in his lexicon or state where sharia law was first introduced in Northern Nigeria. Unfortunately despite the introduction of Shria in Zamfara state like most Northern states, they have the highest illiteracy, poverty, criminal elements as well the highest mortality rate.
13. The statement from Nigeria’s immediate Army Chief, General Tukur Buratai that “The Army cannot defeat Boko Haram” leaves so much to be desired of him. Unfortunately, the Presidency nominated the former Army Chief and his likes who have failed to protect Nigerians as they swore allegiance to be ambassadors of Nigeria overseas. However, we understood the perspectives of the former Army Chief from spiritual prism. In reality, governance and security in Nigeria from the mass of our spiritual security intelligence have been hijacked hence the statement from the former Army chief. In truth there is a correlation in the failure of the political class and the security as a result of the spiritual manifesting in the physical.
14. The former service chiefs should be answering questions from an inquest committee, yet in a brazen disregard to their failure and an insult to Nigerians, this administration of President Buhari chose to nominate a breed of failed army officers to represent Nigeria and Nigerians overseas as Ambassadors. It is obvious that the system that hide and protects criminals as senators after being governors or looters being governors and ministers will also protect failed service chiefs under diplomatic immunity as Ambassadors. It is obvious to Nigerians that the Kangaroos legislatures will eventually endorse the president’s nominees as they did while we were consulting to make this press statement.
15. Unless the drumbeats of war is sweet to those whose desire is to impose Islam on Nigeria, impoverish our common estate or dominate other Nigerians, they must terminate every form of infringement of ethnic minority rights and all forms of persecution against non-Muslims and as well as the imposition of sharia. The legislative arm of government, executive and indeed the security architecture under Muslims should swallow their pride of intent, religious sentiments and ethnic jingoism to expunge every clause promoting Islam above our collective interest and Constitution.
16. It is evident that for decades, imminently qualified northern Hausa Christians and northern Fulani Christians have deliberately been denied opportunity to serve Nigeria at both State and Federal levels. Let it be on record that we are aware of the Islam in Africa organization (I.A.O) and the Abuja declaration of 1989 which was build up to the global Islam agenda of the Organization of Islamic Countries (O.I.C) conference in London in 1990. The nepotistic and religiously biased appointments by the President and indeed the All Peoples Congress (A.P.C) with regards to the President’s recent key appointments further confirms the obvious. It is therefore, not a coincidence that there are nine Northern Muslims as to the two southerners in the National Security Council.
17. In line with our objective for a greater secured and prosperous Nigeria, we have commenced building an alliance with Hausa, Fulani, and Northern ethnic nationalities. We call on the southern Nigerians to rise against this charade and impunity of corruption, marginalization, nepotism, bigotry, insecurity, persecution, injustice and oppression of the minorities.
18. We stand for justice. It is a fact that amnesty for terrorist, bandits or any form of criminal elements deny their victims and citizens the right to justice. Both Islam and Christianity implore all to stand for justice. The holy Quran in surah An-Nisa is clear on the subject of justice in chapter 135. Unless if President Buhari’s A.P.C government interprets the Holy Quran and Hadith in compliance to the dictates and Jurisprudence of global jihadist, Boko Haram and the bandits, the government should proscribe and deal decisively with Fulani Militia under any disguising name(s). It has been proven that negotiations, settlement and amnesty to terrorist and bandits have been a failure. On all the occasions that the former Governor of Zamfara State Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari granted amnesty including sending bandits and criminal elements to mecca for holy pilgrimage, they have come back to be worse or transformed into some form of criminality at a different level of operation.
19. To compare the South West’s Odu’a People’s Congress (O.P.C) and the South-South and South East’s Niger Delta Defense Frontier, IPOP to either Boko Haram, Fulani militia or the northern bandits is an insult to the intelligence of Nigerians. What if the Christians, the middle belt or ethnic minority’s front, initiate and arm their own criminal elements, bandits or terrorist? To transfer money running into billions from the common wealth of a state or nation to terrorist or northern criminal elements as kidnap or negation ransom to northern Muslim criminal elements by this government, either at the State or Federal level is a criminal disservice to Nigerians that must be accounted for.
20. The recent closure of Christian schools in Kwara State for disallowing Muslim girls to use hijab is not acceptable! Operating a dual Constitution cannot function in a democratic Nigeria hence the over-heating of the polity in view of the superiority by some adherents of Islam and Islamization. Unless the Nigerian Muslims and politicians are telling Nigerians that the Constitution is inferior to Sharia law, we must expunge the 1999 Constitution smuggled in by the fraudulent military government under retired General Abdulsalami Abubakar in 1999. He did a great disservice by being part of Nigeria’s problem today. Imposition of Sharia Laws and standards anywhere on Nigerians by deceit or default is unacceptable. Rather than Northern politicians focusing on the ravaging poverty, illiteracy and insecurity on the north, they chose the path of inglorious failure through religious bigotry and ethnic sentiments.
21. The greatest shame of our generation in the north is that, despite more years of Northern Muslims clinging to power than Southern Christians from military to civil rule since 1976 the north continues to suffer worst as a result of corruption, religious sentiments and general gross failure in leadership.
22. However, we have questions for the proponents of Sharia, Islamization and the perpetual control of power by the Northern Muslim politicians who saw power as their exclusive birth right:
1. Since the introduction of Sharia in Zamfara state over ten years ago by Ahmed
Sani Zamfara and the blind adoption of same by some Muslim governors through inducement of Arab Petro-dollars, how far have the north fared?
2. Did Dubai, China, or Korea and other emerging economies greater than Nigeria achieved their fit as a result of sharia or any form of religious adherence?
3. What will happen to the freedom and rights of Muslims and adherents of other faith should predominantly Christian states in the north like Plateau, Benue, Taraba or Southern states like Ebonyi, Cross rivers, Enugu or Akwa Ibom just to mention a few chose to impose a Christian cannon law in addition to the Constitution of Nigeria?
23. Todays emergence of ethnic and religious jingoist as politicians under fraud using religious clerics and regional tribal champions is unacceptable as we forge new alliances with true patriots for a greater, secured and united Nigeria. We are therefore poised to change the narrative from now, 2023 and onwards by networking and mobilizing to elect credible leaders as the new breed of Nigerian leaders towards a prosperous secured, greater nation.
24. In conclusion, we demand that the procedures of selection and appointment of monarchs and traditional rulers in accordance to their cultures, traditions and history should be legislated into the Constitution of Nigeria to avoid impunity and flagrant abuse by State Governors, the likes of Governor Mohammadu Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe state. This will forestall imposition or deposition for religious or political reasons and will as well safeguard the ethic peculiarities of ethnic nationalities with regards to their identity, cultures, norms and traditions.
25. Lastly, following Nigeria’s slide into being a failed state and on the precipice of anarchy, absence of social justice, the rule of law, denial of minority rights and freedom of practice of religion as well as persecution coupled with absence of institutions to check government abuse or to uphold the tenets of democracy we hereby make the following request;
a. We kindly request that the United States Government through the appropriate process assign a special envoy to Nigeria with immediate effect to forestall a total break of law and order leading to war.
b. We also call on the United Nations to assign a special rapporteur to review, monitor and report back with regards to human rights abuse, matters concerning minority and ethnic people’s rights, religious persecution and denial of other rights contrary to the United Nations charter.
c. We commend the lifting of curfew in Gombe State from 24hrs to dusk to dawn by the Governor, Alhaji Mohammedu Yahaya. However, we put him on notice that should any harm befall the Mai Tangle elect, Dr. Musa Idris Mai Yamba, or further infringement on the right of the people to choose their paramount ruler, the governor will be held responsible in view of the information with regards the threat to the person of the Mai Tangle elect. The Federal Government and the international community should take note.
d. We call on all true Nigerian patriots and nationalist of all faith, ethnic nationality and region to join us in building a new safe, united and prosperous Nigeria.
God bless Nigeria and expose all evil and conspirators against our collective peace and security in Jesus name, Amen!
Rev. Luke Shehu, ACIPA Chairman
CC: President and Commander, Federal Republic of Nigeria
– Executive Governor of Gombe State
– Governor Simon Bako Lalong, Chairman Northern Governors Forum
– Office of the National Security Adviser (O.N.S.A)
– All Service Chiefs
– All Legislatures
– All Clerics: Muslims and Christians
– National Director, D.S.S.S
– Nigerian Christian Elders Forum
– I.N.G.O’s and N.G.O’s
– United Nations Secretary General
– United States Secretary of State
– United States Legislatures
– British Parliament
– African Union General Secretary
– ECOWAS General Secretary
– Common Wealth General Secretary
– Governor Simon Bako Lalong, Chairman Northern Governors Forum
– Media Organizations.