INSECURITY AND AMNESTY: A JOLLY RIDE TO LAWLESSNESS

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ABDUL FATTAH ADEBAJO ADEKUNLE, LAW, 100 LEVEL

Winner of the 1434AH superior pen writing competition

[Published on pages 38 and 39 of Adh-Dhikr Magazine, February, 2014]

Written: several months back…

At times, I wonder how it is that we find ourselves in the current predicament. What have we done or failed to do as a nation that causes us to deserve this ‘punishment’? Are Nigerians that distinct from those in other lands, that we are bedevilled with insecurity?

It is quite demoralising that, today, the word ‘Nigeria’ is coterminous and equated with fear, insecurity and loss of lives. Nigeria is, today, a no man’s land. No tourist wishes to see our mouth-watering cultural artefacts. No company holder dares attempt to extend his investment to Nigeria. In fact, the ones already here are, so to say, running for their dear lives. That is not all; presidents and government officials now publicly announce their apprehension in paying Nigeria a visit. A quintessential instance is the recent case whereby President Obama of the United States visited African nations such as Ghana, Senegal, South Africa and deliberately put Nigeria aside.

The pivotal genesis of their lugubrious status-quo is not far-fetched. It all started with militant activities in the Niger-Delta region, which perhaps was made possible during the civil war of 1967-1970 that left myriad arms in the hands of individuals. As an offshoot, we also have innumerable cases of high-profile kidnappings; those being most rampant in the South East and South West on the other hand are infamous for harbouring petty thieves and notorious armed robbers. With the intervention of late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua’s regime, the militants in the Niger-Delta, and activities of MEND were considerably checked. This was mainly due to the introduction of amnesty, which is a process in which violent individuals are disarmed in exchange for education, employment or wealth. This recession brought untold joy unto the hearts of Nigerians, but little did we know that we are yet to get to the end of the beginnings of the burdensome quest.

In 2009, a group popularly referred to as Boko-Haram came into the limelight. Jama’atul Ahlis-Sunna lidda’awati wal-jihad (Boko-Haram) is believed to have originated from the activities of Maitatsine in the 1970s and 80s. its fame also rose when Mallam Alli was heading it around 1995. Thereafter, he passed the leadership to Muhammad Yusuf, a radical whose extra-judicial death in 2009 gave rise to the blood thirsty side of Boko-Haram and the death of more than 10,000 Nigerians – most of the innocent.

The federal government has for too long a time turned a blind eye to the activities of the sect, allegedly because some of the members have rich backgrounds with links to top government officials. However when the situation appears to be getting out control, albeit it never was in control; the government deemed it fit to offer a friendly arm to the sect; taking as precedent the Niger-Delta militants saga. This offer was, sadly and unexpectedly, harshly turned down, with the remarks that it is the government that actually needs amnesty.

Relentless, President Goodluck Jonathan shows that he is still ‘on top of the situation’ by putting to use another trick up his sleeve, a declaration of the state of emergency. This he did on May 14, 2013 in four states of the federation including Adamawa, Bornu and Yobe states. He imposed a 24-hour curfew in these states and sent thousands of military personnel, with the aim of fishing out and crushing the sect members. In addition, telecommunication and GSM were disabled to disorganise the sect. despite the strict measures, we still hear incidents of bombing (of religious institutions and market places); a very fresh case is the killing of juveniles in Yobe by setting a school ablaze. Up to 20 people were reportedly killed. Those who fled from the inferno were shotdown in cold blood. This is to point out that, truly, no real progress have been made.

All said and done, what can we say is the panacea to this precarious situation? The answer to this is very simple, but the implementation, not quite so. Indubitably, the root cause of Boko-Haram and other shapes insecurity is taking in Nigeria is simple and straightforward: poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. In the case of Nigeria, these are most obtainable in the North.

At this juncture, it would be apt to cite one of the remarks of a famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle – he said: ‘poverty is the parent of revolution and violence’. A hungry man does not think of anything but his hunger; and an idle hand, they say, is the devil’s workshop. The only rational explanation for a case in which a teenager in Lagos killed another individual with a knife for 10,000 naira is poverty.

I hereby submit that no level of military expedition or amnesty can salvage us from our predicament; Muhammad Yusuf was able to gain supporters and disciples because people were ignorant and because he strongly preached against corruption and police brutality. Thus, if we must restore sanity, safety and self-dignity in this nation we must set out to tackle corruption, fight illiteracy, and combat poverty with all available means, lest the aftermath becomes ineluctable: a jolly ride to lawlessness.

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SOCIAL NETWORKS AND MUSLIMS

Photo credit: Kairay Media

Photo credit: Kairay Media

A MUSLIM:

He is someone who submits willingly and absolutely to the will of Allah, the almighty. He lives consistently by the tents of Al-Islam. He considers the sayings of Allah and his messenger in whatever he sets out to do.

In this age of rocket-science, there exist quite a lot of novel inventions which could only be dreamt about in the Prophetic era. This poses a challenge to present-day Muslims, as patterning their lives with that of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon his soul) would be somewhat difficult considering the quantum jump experienced in technological, environmental, and socio-economic spheres. One of such new inventions is the internet, and more specifically, social networks.

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YET ANOTHER SIGN !

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YET ANOTHER SIGN !

As if to say, ‘for the sake of the doubting thomases among you, I will show you yet another sign’. It was on a Wednesday afternoon {27-03-13}, that my very good friend, Jimoh Mujib, called me and said a brother of his just told him of a miraculous tree near his abode in Ibadan. This tree has inscriptions of ‘Allah’, ‘Allahu Akbar’ and ‘Muhammad’ {PBUH} on it. It is worth mentioning that this is barely four weeks after the extraordinary meat was discovered by a sister in the University of Ibadan.
Much excited to hear the news, I decided that we should waste no time and go to the spot to see the tree for ourselves immediately after our last class for the day. After all, seeing, they say, is believing. At around 05:30pm, we set out for Moniya, the town where the miracle is said to have surfaced. During the journey, my friend took time to tell me about Moniya, its environs and its peculiarities.
First he told me of a masjid which we passed by. The construction of this masjid was completed about three months ago. However, the shocking thing is that, it actually kicked off, even before his Dad was born, that is perhaps more than 50 years back. He then told me of the inhabitants of the neighbourhood. Cautioning me to keep my cell phone in my pocket, he said acts of immorality and incidents of theft are rampant there, despite the fact its population constitutes majorly ‘Muslims’. Moniya is much unindustrialised, judging from the state of its road, the condition of its people and the looks of its houses. This is notwithstanding the fact that it is located precisely opposite the Akinyele local government council.
Eventually, we got close to where we were headed for. The news of the tree seems to have gone viral, as everybody we asked about it knew of it. Someone even told us we would not be able to see it as it is often surrounded by scores of people. Truly, on getting there we met a lot of people there, but not too much as to deter us from seeing the tree. The tree had already been fenced, it also had someone stationed in front of it to regulate the movement and actions of people near it. Some photographers, about three, were also there selling pictures of the tree, some with lettering, at the rate of a 100 naira.
With not too much stress we entered the fenced arena where the tree is and we saw for ourselves the vivid Arabic inscriptions of the names of God and His final messenger. But this is not the only scene that struck us. We saw two elderly women kneeling down and supplicating towards the tree, and a man scooping out sand from around the tree into an empty pure water sachet. No need saying that all these are innovations {bid’a} and acts of idolatry{shirk}, judging from the Islamic perspective.
After feeding my eyes as well as my phone, we proceeded to the house of one of the notable scholars in that environment, Alhajj Wasi’, so that we may inform him of our discoveries. On getting there, he told us that the religious scholars have gone to a great length to ensure that people desist from committing acts of shirk, in relation to the tree. He also said notable people and media houses from far and wide have come to see it. People came from Enugu, Cotonou, Sarki and even Lagos. And the stations that came included BCOS, MiTV, AIT, radio Nigeria: Amuludun and Eko Aditu. He also said that the crowd that filled the place on Monday was enormous, numbering up to 10,000.
From the Alhajj’s house, we went back there, with the intention that my friend would admonish the people, to tell them that the tree is only a sign from Allah, and it should not be worshipped in leau of the person that created it. During his speech, we showed those standing the picture of the miraculous chunk of meat discovered in UI, to tell them that it is not the signs that deserve our dedication and supplications but the being Whose name is written on them.
During the course of our stay there, I went up to the gentleman manning the tree, and threw some questions at him. He identified himself as Sharafadeen Oye. Concerning the population of people at the spot some days, he said they were very many, ‘afi bi omi’ i.e. just like water. People slept there, and in fact the place was jam-packed with food vendors. He also said some of the letterings on the tree are just coming up, and the other ones are not as clear due to excessive rubbing of hands on them. People did all sorts of things with the tree. Some bowed to it, prayed beside it for children, exhumed sand to take home, hugged it, broke its branches and so on. They even went to the extent of breaking the fence in order to get to it; so that another one had to be erected and barbed.
The signs were first seen on Sunday, but it got much attention on Monday and Tuesday. The attention it got was such that both students and teachers failed to go to school, in order to see it. We eventually left the scene for Mujib’s house at around 07:10pm. And then, we got back to school at almost 9 O’ clock.
What I can say I learnt within that 4 hours journey is that the Muslim ummah is no more what it used to be. We have derailed from the pristine path of Islam, and from the example of the Holy prophet Muhammad {PBUH}. Allah is showing us all these hints, not for any other thing but for us, as mankind in general to have a rethink on our ideal purpose of being in this world. Without an iota of doubt, we have gone astray. And until we trace back our roots, mankind will forever be turmoil because, take it or leave it, true Islam is the only solution to both our worldly and spiritual problems.