Kaduna, the land of blood

Sunday Trust - - VIEWPOINT - Tun­deasaju@yahoo.co.uk with Tunde Asaju

Ithought Kaduna blood­hounds had tasted enough blood in their mis­er­able lives that they had fi­nally de­cided to drink the wa­ter of peace. I was wrong. They sim­ply went on an ar­ma­c­qui­si­tion re­cess. While Nasir el-Ru­fai was do­ing his ut­most best at trans­form­ing the state, en­e­mies of progress were work­ing un­der­ground ac­quir­ing arms and stok­ing the em­bers of ethno-re­li­gious vi­o­lence. The cow­ards that they are, un­fazed about de­stroy­ing the state they did not cre­ate and have done al­most noth­ing to sus­tain. They be­lieve that noth­ing would hap­pen to them for dis­turb­ing the peace and tran­quil­ity of the state and soil­ing their evil hands with the blood of the in­no­cent.

Th­ese de­stroy­ers would be sit­ting in their cor­ners, eat­ing and drink­ing con­scious they have shut off the mouths of many and de­nied more their rights to life and liv­ing. With their foot sol­diers out, some would be caught and per­haps tried and sent to jail while they re­gard them­selves as sol­diers of God. They do not know God and def­i­nitely, would never be al­lowed into that par­adise that they so covet. No­body with evil in their hearts against fel­low crea­tures and the blood of the in­no­cent knows God. None with those at­tributes would ever see God.

Th­ese are in­deed hor­ri­ble times. It is not only the wicked that have no place of rest, even the in­no­cent have no city of refuge any­where in our coun­try. Where herds­men are not in con­trol, kid­nap­pers hold sway. Where kid­nap­pers let go, rit­u­al­ists have taken over. Ev­ery arm of the na­tion’s se­cu­rity is over­whelmed and yet we are not of­fi­cially at war. Peace, the most po­tent of the fac­tors for na­tional de­vel­op­ment has eluded us.

I have seen it all. I was Newswatch’s head of Abuja Bureau 18 years ago when the first car­nage was un­leashed in the name of Sharia protests. I had been as­signed to in­ter­view Gen­eral Muham­madu Buhari that morn­ing for a cover story. Although he had re­port­edly said yes to my ed­i­tors, he po­litely re­fused to be in­ter­viewed when I ar­rived. I did not waste time driv­ing to the Ah­madu Bello Way in search of any other story when I was greeted by shards of bro­ken leaves, some scarves, bro­ken plac­ards strewn all over the same street I had driven through less than half an hour ear­lier.

Shocked and wor­ried, I had crossed the street to the Rabah Road lo­ca­tion of NAF Club where I had grown used to stay­ing in the hope that the protests would die down and that Kaduna would re­turn to nor­mal. It was not to be for the next two weeks. By the end of the day, there was hardly any space left in the ho­tel that had not been taken over by peo­ple of dif­fer­ent eth­nic, re­li­gious and so­cial per­sua­sion just hop­ing to es­cape the boil­ing caul­dron that Kaduna had trans­formed into. For those two weeks, I ba­si­cally be­came the go-to guy for first hand re­ports of the car­nage, in­ter­view­ing scores of peo­ple. By the end of the first week, even the ho­tel had run out of food.

The level of car­nage I wit­nessed over those days made the Mai­tat­sine ri­ots of decades ear­lier look like child’s play. By the time a sem­blance of nor­malcy was re­stored, Kaduna had been di­vided into Mecca and Jerusalem by fol­low­ers of the two Abra­hamic re­li­gions who were al­ways keen to tell skep­tics that they fol­low the God of peace.

It is shame­ful that the killing has re­turned. One rea­son is that our rulers choose to hide un­der one fin­ger. We pre­tend to be each other’s keeper and to be called hu­mans when our at­ti­tudes would make Yankari’s car­ni­vores cringe. There is more pro­tec­tion for a dog in a civ­i­lized so­ci­ety than there is for the peo­ple whose lives are taken in cold blood and buried en-masse. In our quest for hu­man ma­nip­u­la­tion, we would stop at noth­ing to make our fel­low hu­mans fail as long as they do not share the same ideals with us.

How could a crea­ture un­der­rate the power of the cre­ator so much as to be­lieve that they owe him the duty to put peo­ple to death in his name? Do we not say that God/Al­lah is all-pow­er­ful? How then could we fight for Him? Why can’t we stay to­gether the way our ru­in­ers are united? They tell us we are dif­fer­ent but when it comes to ac­cess to our re­sources, they do not re­mem­ber their re­li­gion or their tribes when they share what be­longs to us. This is the shame of it all. The peo­ple in op­po­si­tion to­day would be in power some­day. It’s a game of mu­si­cal chairs. The only con­stancy is poverty. It does not dis­crim­i­nate. It af­fects the Hausa as much as it does the Fu­lani; it hits the Chris­tian as much as it hits the Mus­lim and the un­be­liever. It dev­as­tates the Ibo as much as it hits the Yoruba.

There is need to stop this car­nage. Nasir el-Ru­fai acted fast and re­duced the im­pact of this lat­est car­nage. The poor needs to adopt this ral­ly­ing cry - pau­pers of Nige­ria, unite!

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