“If Boko Haram kills Christians and burns down churches, we will slay Muslims and raze down mosques. We want to warn them that we, the Niger Delta youths, in this 21st century will not accept the killing of innocent Christians or the burning of churches. That if they try it in the north or any part of Nigeria, we the Niger Delta youths will not see any Muslim or mosque in the Niger Delta” – Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders, August 5, 2016
It is no longer news that the new leader of Boko Haram, Mr. Abu Musa Al Barnawi, who apparently has the backing of ISIS, has said that he will target only Christians and burn down all the Churches in the country.
He has also said that Muslims and mosques will no longer be targeted and that Mr. Abubakar Shekau, the erstwhile leader and principal voice of the terror group, is no longer the leader.
Mr. Shekau has responded by saying that he will continue to slaughter whoever he pleases and that he remains the authentic leader. There appears to be a very serious rift in the ranks of Boko Haram which is good news.
As far as I am concerned the two factions can do us all a favour by destroying one another and burning in hell.
Anyone that targets Christians and Churches, or indeed any innocent civilians for slaughter, is not worthy of life. They are nothing but vermin and, like the cockroaches that they are, they must be crushed.
Mr. Shekau is evil but Mr. Al Barnawi is even worse: he is the devil incarnate. He represents ISIS and we all know what that means.
Whichever way we look at it and whatever is going on within the ranks of Boko Haram we must not lose sight of the bigger picture. And that bigger picture points to one thing: Nigeria is in a mess.
Quite apart from the poverty and hardship that has afflicted the land coupled with the total destruction of the economy and quite apart from the shattering of peoples dreams and the drastic reduction in their standard of living by the ineffectual and barren fiscal and economic policies of an inept and incompetent government, our President did not stop there.
He also went as far as to appoint as his minister of sports a man who is clearly (to use Donald Trump’s words about Hillary Clinton) “unbalanced and unhinged”.
This is a man that can barely speak english and who, during the week of the Olympics, publicly referred to our country as “the United States Of Nigeria” whilst reprimanding our Olympic football team for getting stuck in America and arriving late in Brazil.
Someone should tell Honorable Minister Solomon Dalung that it was his job to get our boys to Rio De Janeiro on time and that it was something of a scandal and a national embarrassment that it took the last minute intervention and assistance of Delta Air, a private American airline, to get them there in time for their match with Japan.
Whilst our boys did us proud by going on to defeat Japan and later Sweden, the video of the Minister disparaging them and spouting nonsense about some fictitious and imaginary country called ‘the United States of Nigeria’ whilst wearing his ridiculous red beret went viral on the internet. A fool goes by no other name.
In normal climes the Minister would have been forced to resign the following day and he would have been compelled to apologise to the nation that he is purportedly serving for forgetting its name. Sadly though there is nothing that is “normal” about Nigeria or the Buhari administration.
Equally abysmal was the recent outing of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, President Buhari’s “super Minister” of Power, Works and Housing, on BBC TV’s Hardtalk.
Before millions of viewers from all over the world, the Minister told his host Mr. Stephen Sackhur a shameless and pernicious lie by claiming that he never promised Nigerians an increase in power generation and supply.
It is his inability to be forthright, to appreciate the virtues of telling the truth and to keep his election promises that has earned my aburo Tunde Fashola the nickname of Minister of Darkness.
Since he was appointed ‘super Minister’ the power generation in our country has dropped from 5000 megawatts at the time when President Jonathan left office just over a year ago to under 2000 megawatts today. Worst still he has not managed to construct or complete the refurbishment of a single road.
Yet it is not the crippled economy, the erring and dim-witted minister of sports, the intellectually dishonest and lying minister of power, works, and housing or any of the other numerous foibles of the Buhari administration that gives us the most concern today.
It is rather the gradual and systematic generation and invocation of a frightful and cataclysmic atmosphere of war and the looming threat and increasing likelihood of a great and violent ethnic and religious conflict, the likes of which Africa has never seen before.
If it is not Boko Haram that is slaughtering our people it is the Fulani herdsmen. Worse still they are doing these despicable things with the active connivance and support of a few people that are in the corridors of power today whose objective is to islamise our nation, plunge us into a fiery abyss and create chaos.
The bible says ‘there is no fellowship between light and darkness’. We have said it before and we will say it again: we must restructure Nigeria before it is too late. If we fail to do so we will have no choice but to reconsider our so-called unity.
If things don’t change quickly we must consider the possibility of dividing our country and renegotiating our union.
We cannot afford to wait any longer because we are playing with fire and we are sitting on a keg of gunpowder. We must attempt to do whatever needs to be done peacefully and we must not allow the butchers and those that kill in the name of their god to provoke us into another civil war.
Nothing represents the danger of the war that is looming more than the response of the Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders (an affiliate of the Niger Delta Avengers) to Al Barnawi’s threat.
They responded by saying that if Christians and Churches are targeted by Boko Haram they will kill all the Muslims in the Niger Delta area and they will burn down all the mosques. It is a simple case of “action” and “reaction” and I sincerely hope that those that are used to killing others and not being killed themselves take them seriously.
Clearly we are living in dangerous times and I sincerely hope that those that brought religion into our politics in 2015 and that used Islam and the Boko Haram offensive as a political tool against a southern Christian President are seeing the fruits of their labour.
When you invoke the proverbial genie and let it out of the kettle you must be prepared to live with the consequences and whatever follows.
Yet the folly does not stop there. As if our sensibilities were not already sufficiently provoked President Buhari took the religious dance to yet another level last week by directing the Central Bank of Nigeria to sell foreign exchange to Muslim pilgrims that were on their way to Saudi Arabia for hajj at 197 naira to 1 USD.
This whilst everyone else, including students, manufacturers, businessmen, Christian pilgrims, the ailing and holiday-makers, must continue to buy at 400 naira to 1 USD. When the math is done this amounts to a whooping N7.9 billion naira concession for Muslim pilgrims.
And all this in a country that is not only impoverished and whose people are suffering from the worst economic hardship and poverty crunch since independence but also one that is meant to be a secular state.
Such is the national outrage that President Buhari’s forex concession to his Muslim brothers and sisters has provoked that a well-known political commentator and activist Mr. Paul Achalla wrote the following on his Facebook wall on August 5th:
“N410 to $1 for business, education, entrepreneurship, food processing, manufacturing, etc. and N197 to $1 for pilgrims going to Saudi Arabia? Bluntly put, Boko Haram ideology won Nigeria’s 2015 general election!!!”
Paul Achalla is right. How can this sort of nonsense be justified in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious secular state? Is Buhari’s Nigeria crafted only for the Muslim north? Is Saudi Arabia now the spiritual headquarters of our nation?
If it is not the Sultan of Sokoto declaring public holidays, it is the President giving subsidised rates of foreign exchange and preferential treatment to members of his own religious faith.
If it is not that he is leading our country into a sinister and dangerous military coalition of Sunni Muslim nations it is that he is holding conferences in Abuja with foreign Muslim clerics whose stated objective is to “spread sharia throughout Nigeria” and islamise our country.
Worst still virtually all his Service Chiefs and principal commanders in his Armed Forces together with his National Security Advisor, his Minister of Defence, his Minister of Internal Affairs, his Inspector General of Police, his Chief of Defence Intelligence, his Director General of State Security, his Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, his Commander of the National Civil Defence Corps, his Comptroller General of Customs, his Comptroller General of Immigration, his Comptroller General of Prisons and ALL his other security, para-security and intelligence agencies, bar one, are northern Muslims.
Can there be any greater form of corruption, abuse of power, injustice and betrayal of trust than this? Does this not prove the fact that our country is in dire need of restructuring?
The 2nd part of this article will be published on Wednesday, August 9, 2016
Femi Fani-Kayode is a lawyer, a Nigerian politician, an evangelical christian, an essayist, a poet and he was the Special Assistant (Public Affairs) to President Olusegun Obasanjo from July 2003 until June 2006. He was the minister of culture and tourism of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from June 22nd to Nov 7th 2006 and as the minister of Aviation from Nov 7th 2006 to May 29th 2007. He tweets from @realFFK.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.