Kaduna, the land of blood
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!