- Category: POLITICS
- Published on Sunday, 15 July 2012 23:00
- Written by Magaji Galadima
To understand the genesis and architects of the current imbroglio bedeviling Nigeia especially the Northern part , perhaps we need to take a trip down memory lane. In the mid 1990s my big brother and former lecturer, Prof. Abubakar Siddique an erudite scholar of International repute wrote 2 well researched papers exposing the role of
late Bola Ige on Destabilizing Nigeria and campaign for the extermination of Fulani whom he severally referred to as the 'Tutsis of Nigeria' in reference to the Rwandan massacre of 1994.
Though Bola Ige whom his admirers called the Cicero of Esa-oke died without realizing his dream, recent events in the Nation's polity , the unending crisis between the Fulani and almost every ethnic group in Nigeria, the media campaign of calumny and propaganda against the Fulani, the criminalization and blaming of the Fulani over everything that is wrong with Nigeria, the brazen show of hatred and xenophobic stance of criminal ethnic militias against the Fulani all points to the ugly fact that we are indeed heading towards Bola Ige's ' Road to Kigali'
The recent attempt by Jonah Jang the Governor of Plateau State (using the STF) to expel the Fulani from their villages and later have them gathered and cornered all in a refugee camp was the same tactic used by Hitler to exterminate the Jews. It was the same ploy employed by Bosnian Serbs to massacre Muslim Croats in Sebrenaica and several other places.
Like elsewhere were genocide occurred, there is a complete conspiracy of silence in the local and International media on the killing of Fulani as well as destruction of their settlements in Plateau State. The ground is wetted, the stage is set for a full genocidal war against the Fulani. The actualisation or aversion of this impending catastrophe however defends on how well the Federal Government of Nigeria handles the situation in the coming days as time is fast running out.
Meanwhile, enjoy Prof Siddique's factual and sagacious treatise . May God bring everlasting peace to our motherland.
Magaji Galadima, Kano Nigeria.
Bola Ige and Genocide
As with the Rwandan Hutu extremists, Chief Bola Ige knows the importance of propaganda and agitation in incitement for organised violence. He also, as a SAN, knows the provisions of the international law on genocide and incitement to genocide, enacted by Resolution 260 (A) III of the General Assembly of the United Nations, on 9th December, 1946, which came into effect after its ratification by 120 members states on 12th January, 1951. In case he has forgotten, Articles III and IV of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, defines crimes of genocide that are punishable and those who are liable. According to Article III:
“The following acts shall be punishable:
b Conspiracy to commit genocide
c Direct and public incitement to commit genocide
d Attempt to commit genocide
e Complicity in genocide
Those who are liable, according to Article IV, are:
“Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article III shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.”
In the light of what has been happening since, Chief Bola Ige’s decision to write a weekly column in the Sunday Tribune seems to have been a strategic decision. It placed him in a good position to propagate hatred against his target group, the Fulani, in particular, and northerners in general. He has used every opportunity, to liken the Fulani to the Tutsis of Rwanda and sometimes of Burundi also. As the “Tutsis of Nigeria,” he provocatively proclaimed that the Fulani of Nigeria are likely to end up sharing the same bloody fate with the Tutsis of Rwanda!
In an article in his column, on page 2 of Sunday Tribune of September 4, 1996, entitled “Up Nigeria!!!” on the victory of the Golden Eaglets against the Brazilians in the semi-finals of the football event of the Atlanta Olympics, Chief Bola Ige said:
“…if the team had been made up from “ Federal character” and “quota” we probably would not have had Kanu together with Oliseh and Amunike and Amokachi. There probably would not be a goalkeeper called Dosu. Some Nigerian Tutsis would probably have packed the team with their kinsmen.”
The intensity of his campaign of hatred against the Fulani was such that he derided even the dresses worn by Nigerian athletes. According to him:
“First who asked our athletes to wear those almajiri dresses in Atlanta at the opening ceremonies? I felt insulted that Mary Onyali and others should be asked to wear a dress which is like those herdsmen and beggars wear in Northern Nigeria. There was hardly any difference between the contingent from Niger Republic and our own. Even the athletes from Benin Republic and Togoland showed off better than we. Or is this part of the native colonisation of Nigeria?”
Chief Bola Ige, in fact, endorsed the genocide inflicted on the Tutsis by the Hutu extremists. He protested against the detention and pending trial of the Hutu extremists arrested for genocide. In an article titled, “River of Human Beings.” published in his column, on page 2 of the Sunday Tribune of December 1, 1996, Chief Bola Ige said that the crimes of the genocidaires pale into insignificance compared with their detention. The Tutsis, like the Fulani, were also transformed into “native colonialist” for keeping “60,000, yes SIXTY THOUSAND, Rwandans holed up in a couple of crowded and smelly prisons on charges of murder and genocide. In a country where there are probably a score or a few lawyers to prosecute…”
Justifying the genocide, he wrote, “Buyoya of Burundi, Kigame of Rwanda and other Tutsis in uniform are doing what their brothers in other parts of Africa are doing. They, a minority, want to dominate the majority. They forget, because of temporary power, that sooner or later, an oppressed people throw off yoke. Tutsis and their brothers in other parts of Africa seem incapable of learning the wisdom which white Afrikaners learnt very well in the last ten years; that if a minority does not quickly reach an accommodation with the majority the days of the minority will not only be numbered, they may soon become nights and that quickly.”
The fact that the Tutsis were not in power when 800,000 of them were massacred in April, 1994 and, therefore, did not constitute a ruling minority in any sense of the term, was disregarded by this Senior Advocate of Nigeria, in his determination to prepare the minds of Nigerians for a repeat of the Rwandan tragedy in Nigeria.
Like in Rwanda, where Tutsi were identified as the target group and blamed for all the ills of the society, Chief Bola Ige insistently identified the Fulani as evil oppressors and parasites and, therefore, as the target group for genocide in Nigeria. Writing in his regular column on page 2 of Sunday Tribune of 16 February, 1997, on the composition of the membership of the Vision 2010 Committee Chief Bola Ige again repeated his characterisation of the Fulani as the “Tutsis of Nigeria” and blamed all the ills of the country on them. Chief Bola Ige wrote:
“Since 1960, has our bane not been that the “Tutsis” of Nigeria (who are minority of minorities - in population, in education, in management skills, in the economy) have held Nigeria at the jugular, scheming political manoeuvres that make them hold on to power at all costs and in all circumstances? The result, of course, is that all “non Tutsis” of Nigeria are not ready to trust their future to such minority who have never exhibited true Nigeria nationalism…The young people do not trust the authorities, and the way they see Nigeria is vastly different from how the “Tutsis” of Nigeria want Nigeria to be”
Yet in another piece captioned “Whose National Question” which appeared on page 2 of Sunday Tribune of 7 September, 1998, where he discussed the Scottish referendum on autonomy, Chief Bola Ige raised his incitement against the Fulani to a higher level. According to him:
‘when the brothers and children of those who wanted confederation of Nigeria in 1953, now pose as the arch-gospellers of Nigeria’s “indivisible” unity…They do so because they think they are the Tutsis of Nigeria, and imagine that all Nigerians must be ruled by them till Kingdom come. All sensible and rational people all over the world acknowledge that there are certain axioms about how people should live. If a country is multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-religious, its constitution MUST be federal…At the risk of being misunderstood, it seems to me that the reason the Tutsis of Nigeria cannot understand these simple axioms is that first, they are an immigrants uprooted group scattered all over Nigeria without any defined geographical boundaries; secondly their culture has been lost to a “religious” culture so-called which unfortunately does not enable them to appreciate the culture of other people, not even the Habe–Hausa culture, thirdly they are insignificant in numbers they have to attach themselves to others and appear as part and parcel of those they parasite on; and finally, they have had the fortune of military rule in Nigeria for almost thirty years and have succeeded in manipulating the military for their own purposes”
There is certainly no difference between Bola Ige’s characterisation of the Fulani in the quotation above and the definition of the Tutsis by the genocidal regime in Rwanda. Even Hitler could not do better. For Hitler, the Jews were vermin, dirty, blood-sucking, insects to be exterminated. Calling humans insects, or parasites helps to prepare the minds of those who are being mobilised to carry out genocide, to do so without any iota of guilt. After all, are bugs not supposed to be destroyed? Target groups are denied their humanity in order to make it easier to brutally and cold-bloodedly exterminate them.