International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law (Intersociety) says it is now official and no longer hidden that the present Government of Nigeria “is spreading terrorism and religious violence (i.e. Islamic jihad backed by the State) throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” The society said terrorism under Buhari-Osinbajo Government “has further been divided into state actor terrorism and non state actor terrorism, with the latter tacitly backed by the Government of the day.”
Intersociety made its views known in a statement issued Tuesday and signed by Lawyers Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Head of Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program, Chinwe Umeche, Head of Democracy & Good Governance Program, Catherine Ndidiamaka Bernard, Head of Int’l Justice & Human Rights Program, Evangeline Chidinma Udegbunam, Head of Campaign & Publicity Dept and Emeka Umeagbalasi, a Criminologist & Graduate of Security Studies and Board Chair of Intersociety.
It describes state actor terrorism as mindless, war-like and genocidal levying of the state’s instruments of violence against the law abiding, unarmed, defenseless and innocent members of the Nigerian public. “It is also shrinking and criminalization of the democratic civil space and wrongful and indiscriminate accusation of the law abiding citizens and non criminal entities including tagging them as ‘terrorists’ and ‘treasonable felons’; while at the same time turning the same state’s instruments of coercion off the real criminals or enemies of the state particularly the jihadist and terrorist Fulani Herdsmen, their splinter groups and registered mother unions.”
The statement adds, “Psychologically, part of state terrorism under Buhari and Osinbajo’s watch is the act of turning the state defense and security instruments into instruments of highway and motorway robbery such as roadblock extortion and custodial bribery and corruption as well as levying ‘war of weapons’ against innocent, unarmed and defenseless Nigerians and declaring an armistice, if not ‘permanent ceasefire’ against criminal and terror others. It further involves wrongful accusation, arrest and parading of innocent citizens or those previously arrested and incarcerated for different offenses (i.e. street crimes) in place of members of the public who committed state offenses or crimes of heinous and international nature such as massacre or mass murder, single murder, terrorism, infanticide, depopulation, widespread property crimes, forced migration and genocide.
“Non-State Actor Terrorism: By non state actor terrorism, it is propagation and pursuit of radical Islamism by fanatical Islamic groups using widespread violence including abduction and killing of members of the Christian clergy and traditional institution as well as seizure and confiscation of the lands and other properties belonging to indigenous Nigerian Christians and traditionalists with intent to instill fears in the Christendom and traditional region and overrun, conquer and Islamize them.
“The non state actor terrorism in Nigeria under Buhari has also assumed a Janjaweed form following its full backing by the Buhari-Osinbajo Government by way of legality, policies and conducts including the creation and adoption of ‘Nigerian Army’s countrywide Fulani Cattle Ranching’ , ‘Rural Fulani Grazing Authority (RUGA)’, ‘Demographic Registration of Fulani Aliens’ and the State protected invasion and seizure of indigenous forests and farmlands by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen, recognition of mother bodies of terror Fulani Herdsmen as registered associations and intellectualization including organization and broadcasting and publishing of media conferences of such bodies with violent records; to mention but just a few.
“Place of Radical Islamism In Nigeria Before Mid 2015: The radical Islamism which started decades ago in the country in the form of ‘mob violence’ with radical inter-faith undertone mixed with tribalism; majorly targeted at members of the settler Igbo Ethnic Nationality and later extended to members of the Northern Christian and traditional populations via Boko Haram and Fulani Jihadism; has now been escalated through direct and vicarious involvement of the present central Government of Nigeria.
“Using the return to the civil rule in Nigeria in 1999 as a reference point, radical Islamism by way of ‘mob violence’ was the order of the day in Northern Nigeria from 2000 to 2005. Mixed with tribal hate, it was also used in 2011 days after the year’s Presidential Election; with members of the Igbo Ethnic Nationality as the worst hit. In Plateau State between 2001 and 2008, it was used in combination of the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen to attack and massacre the Berom Christians and settler others including Igbo citizens resident in the State.
“The Boko Haram version was brought into radical Islamism in Nigeria particularly in the Northeast and parts of the Northwest following radicalization by the Jonathan central Administration in 2008 and 2009 of the then rag tag Islamic sect, called ‘Boko Haram’; in a trap set by radical elements within the Northern political class. The Obasanjo Administration had earlier in 2000 compromised and undermined the Nigeria’s Constitution in its Section 10, by allowing the same Northern radicals led by the then Gov of Zamfara State to adopt Sharia socio-criminal legal system which was later adopted by eleven other 12 Northern States.”
How Radical Islamism Escalated Under Buhari & Osinbajo
According to Intersociety, “While radical Islamism through ‘mob violence’ has drastically gone down under the Buhari-Osinbajo Administration, same through Fulani Jihadism has escalated and deteriorated, spreading like wildfire throughout Nigeria particularly since coming of the Buhari-Osinbajo Administration on 29th May 2015. Giving to Buhari’s acclaimed soft spot for conservative Islamism or radical approaches to Islamic religion, the goings on in the country are not unexpected especially among thinkable or sound minded Nigerians.
“At the embryonic stage of spread and menace of Fulani Jihadism at the early stage of the Buhari-Osinbajo Administration (i.e. late 2015 to late 2017), it was denial of Government complicity in the Fulani Jihadism all through. Then it was ‘herdsmen-farmers’ clash’. But from 2018 to the first quarter of 2019, the narrative changed and the cat began to be let out of its cat-house. From the second quarter of 2019 till now, the Administration is fully out and has taken both vicarious and direct responsibilities for Fulani Jihadism and its related atrocities.
“The Government now fully spreads and escalates terrorism by way of policy and conduct backing of Fulani Jihadism to all sections of the country comprising Northwest, Northeast, North-central, Southwest, South-south and Southeast. In the past one week of this month of August 2019, the menace of Fulani Jihadists has risen to an apogee. Along the Enugu-Igweocha (Port Harcourt) Road, a former Commissioner in Abia State was severally shot at along Isuochi-Enugu Road. The traditional ruler of Obom Agbaogwugwu in Awgu LGA of Enugu State (HRH Sunday Orji) and his beloved Queen Mother were also abducted along the same Enugu-Igweocha (Port Harcourt) Road and in the same area, a Catholic Priest, Rev Father Paul Offu was abducted and murdered last Tuesday.”