Sonnie Ekwowusi writes that are our strength lies in our common humanity
He says his first name means “man of peace”. His surname means “servant of the most powerful God”. He comes down severely on the rulers of darkness who are sponsoring the genocide against the Christians in Southern Kaduna. He is eloquent as much as he is vociferous. He is courageous. He calls things by their names. He says he is ready to lay down his life to save his people. Like prophet Obadiah, one of the prophets of the Old Testament, he exhorts the people to trust in the power of God and justice of God, and not in the fleeting and precarious power of tyrannical rulers. Southern Kaduna is the kingdom of God not the kingdom of the devil.
Justice is coming, nemesis is coming, he announces. He is unruffled. “I am not making this up. I have a PhD from Oxford. I am not a sensationalist, I am an economist and a central banker; by nature we are not given to sensation. Let me make it clear: I am a humanist; I am a man of peace. Even my name, Mailafia, means a man of peace. From the bottom of my heart, I love our country dearly and I abhor all the killings and violence which the innocent people of this country have been subjected to. I pray that Nigeria will never experience another civil war. The most elementary duty of government is to protect its citizens. When a government fails to protect its citizens, to protect little children that is a serious matter. Any innocent boy or girl that is killed is my own child. I love Nigeria. Like Mandela, let me say if need be, I am prepared to give my life for Nigeria”, he said last week
In case you are still aghast wondering whom I am referring to, he is the former Deputy-Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Dr. Obadiah Mailafia. Last week his voice rang out like a lone voice in the wilderness in condemnation of the sponsored genocide against the Southern Kaduna Christians. Hear from Obadiah, “…they told us that one of the Northern governors was the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria. Boko Haram and the bandits are one and the same. They have a sophisticated network. During this lockdown their planes were moving up and down as if there was no lockdown. They were moving ammunition, moving money, and distributing them across different parts of the country. “They are already in the South, in the rain forests of the South. They are everywhere. They told us that when they finish these rural killings, they will move to phase two. Phase two is that they will go into urban cities, going from house to house killing prominent people.”
This is weighty. It serves no useful purpose to dismiss it with a wave of the hand as if the blood being shed is not the blood of human beings. Of course, it is the blood of our fellow human beings: It is the blood of our brothers and sisters, members of the same human family. Look, the killing of our fellow human beings ought to stir in us the revulsion to hate our human existence. If I may ask you one question: How would feel if you are told that some religious-fanatic-murderers had forcefully gained entrance into your parents’ house, seized your parents and your sibling including your three-year old baby-sister and hacked all of them to death, and, thereafter set fire on the entire house? Obviously the tragic news will likely make you go insane.
Well, this is the tragedy that occurs in Southern Kaduna almost on a daily basis – families are wiped out just like that. It is a tragedy that is known to the whole world. In fact the fundamental reason why the U.S. has placed Nigeria on her Special Watch List, her travel ban list and visa restriction list is mainly traceable to the Southern Kaduna genocide. We don’t need a Dr. Obadiah to tell us what we already know about the Southern Kaduna genocide. But let’s assume for a moment that Obadiah is a rhapsodic rabble-rouser who is mischievously inciting the people against the government as the DSS would want us to believe; just google “Nigerian Soldiers and Fulani herdsmen/Boko Haram killings” and you will read the complaints of some Nigerian soldiers to the effect that the war against Boko Haram is failing in Nigeria because the war is being sabotaged by some people at the top.
If the Nigerian soldiers in the frontline are telling us that, who are we lesser mortals to doubt them? In fact some soldiers fighting Boko Haram in the North-East have expressed their anger against President Buhari over his release of over 1, 400 “repentant Boko Haram” terrorists. The soldiers could not understand why their killers are being offered amnesty. In February 2020, the Borno State Commissioner for Information, Babakura Jato, frayed up in anger upon discovering that the so-called “repentant Boko Haram” terrorists were not repentant at all because they had gone back to join their killer-colleagues in the killing fields. He also said that a lot of soldiers are not happy about this ugly development. According to one Nigerian soldier, “We were at the Maimalari barracks when some of these Boko Haram people were released.
The authorities are releasing them, but Boko Haram are killing soldiers that they capture. This does not make sense to us at all. We continue to sweep across the bushes to flush these people out, and then the government will release them. Does that not amount to wasted efforts?” Another soldier said, “You wonder why Boko Haram members are on the increase? When we arrest them and bring them here, some top people would come and start negotiating their release. But, I will tell you some of these so-called suspects are returning to the bush and they were never repentant.” The objective of Boko Haram, said Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah, is to enthrone an Islamic dominance in Nigeria. Bishop Kukah persuasively argues that there is no difference anymore between the government and Boko Haram except that the latter uses bombs to achieve its objective.
You see, no man, no woman of good conscience can keep quiet over the Southern Kaduna killings. No street can remain silent amid the stillness of death everywhere in Southern Kaduna. In some of the lines of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem entitled; “We Wear the Mask”, we may be wearing the masks covering the grins and lies. With torn and bleeding hearts we may be smiling but we may not know peace until the blood of the murdered innocent children of Southern Kaduna is avenged. What do murderers gain by spilling the blood of innocent children? Nothing! Absolutely nothing!! What do the living gain by keeping quiet in times of religious persecution and religious genocide? Nothing! Absolutely nothing !!. And if they do at all gain anything it is the hottest places in hell as Dante teaches in his Inferno. Since civilization is not an attribute of religious fanaticism or religious killing or curl of hair or curve of the lip or human accent we should re-scrutinize our heritage with sharper eyes than before in order to win our civilization.
Though tribes and tongues may differ; though some self-serving politicians may ride on the crest of religious fanaticism to murder our parents and sibling and set our houses ablaze, our strength lies in our common humanity. It is our only weapon with which we hope to conquer fundamental wrong, fundamental error, fundamental injustice in order to arrive at fundamental truth. If the government wants her name removed from the U.S. Special Watch list, U.S. travel ban list and the U.S. visa restriction list then she should stop the Southern Kaduna genocide forthwith.