Just as the guns and bombs of Boko Haram, the main northern wing of our ethnic militia, continue to boom, and as if they actually sat down at a meeting to plan the final dismantling of the Nigerian state, Boko Haram’s counterparts in the creek –MEND and others replied with the wartime information (despite its amnesty deal oiled by oily security contracts with the Nigerian state under President Jonathan) that they will commence hostilities from the end of May, 2013.
Operating from the western flank of the ethnic militia ground movement, the OPC, whose tongues are currently tied and muffled by a potential juicy security contract, informed on their own oily application to the Nigerian government through one of its spokespersons Dr. Frederick Fasehun. Shortly after Mr. Fasehun’s public disclosure, another spokesperson for OPC, Mr. Ganiyu Adams, whose current mellowed voice has been oiled of recent by the potential greasy oil pipeline security contract to their OPC militia- suddenly came out booming to advocate-not as usual about how his “Yoruba kinsmen” are being “marginalized’- but for a share of the oily security contract with Mr. Fasehun.
Meanwhile, MASSOB, the chief player of the eastern wing of Nigeria’s ethnic militia ground movement has laid low-no oily deal yet. The eastern war songs had mellowed somehow for some time with a dubious treason charge hanging over the head of its leaders. This is the strange, dubious and paradoxical relationship, which the Nigerian state maintains with the ethnic militia movement.
Confident of oily amnesty deals from President Jonathan’s government who lacks that much needed sense of intense urgency in governance in the 21st century, Nigerian ethnic militias have always justified their “legitimacy” on sundry reasons. The most recurring justification are their claims of marginalization, persecution and oppression of members of their ethnic groups. While OPC would argue that it emerged during the era of military dictatorship especially IBB/Abacha as a response to the “persecution” of the “Yorubas”, the MASSOB would rest its legitimacy on same premise-the “persecution” of the “Igbos”.
Furthermore, while MEND and the creek militias point to the “persecution” of “peoples of South South” and the criminal neglect (this is true) of the oil producing South South by successive governments, Boko Haram and its affiliates in the Northern part rest their legitimacy on “Islamizing” Nigeria.
Defenders of these militias continue to spin and spew new arguments to justify the existence of these militias. However, the relevant question is: Can and Will Nigeria survive with these militias? My answer is No. Nigeria will implode if these ethnic and religious militias are allowed to continue. It thus follows that any individual, collective and selective defense of any of these militias or formal or informal legitimacy –both government or private – given to these militias is a direct, expressed and explicit threat to the corporate existence of Nigeria.
On different occasions, depending on which wing of the Nigerian ruling elite has been selected to be in government, Nigerian state often worsens the problem by being selective in its dealings with these militias.
For example it is funny or perhaps not funny that a dubious treason charge hangs over the head of Mr. Ralph Uwazurike and other leaders of MASSOB while President Jonathan’s government is considering the oily application of Oodua Peoples Congress for oil pipeline security contract. It is not funny-and therefore dubious because there is no difference between OPC and MASSOB. Yet MASSOB is facing treason while OPC is being considered for an oily contract.
Furthermore, we have had clarion calls for amnesty for Boko Haram; I have not heard same for MASSOB from those who call for amnesty for Boko Haram. This paradox becomes more odd and immoral as President Jonathan commences its amnesty program for Boko Haram while a treason charge hangs over Mr. Uwazurike of MASSOB.
These immoral paradoxes show the manipulation of the Nigerian people by the different wings of the Nigerian ruling elites. Rather than ask MEND to mend their terrorist ways, President Jonathan has awarded juicy contracts to ethnic militias in the South South and is considering doing same for OPC. Given this moral duplicity, I believe that President Jonathan must drop the treason charge over the head of Mr. Uwazurike and other MASSOB leaders, and award the contract to guard Eastern oil pipelines to MASSOB.
It must also award contract for Northern oil pipelines to Boko Haram as part of its amnesty. If we Nigerians do not see why these ethnic militias must cease to exist, then they all must be treated with equity by the Nigerian state. However, in the 21st century, the existence of ethnic militias such as OPC, MEND, MASSOB, and Boko Haram in African countries is a major set back, and an absurdity.
For example, the statement of the presidential aide and chairman of President Jonathan’s amnesty program, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, to MEND and other creek ethnic militia and terrorists that insecurity will return to the Niger Delta if President Jonathan is not returned to government in 2015 justifies the view that all the ethnic militias are illegitimate and that they are tools in the hands of the ruling elites.
Furthermore, the allegation that Boko Haram collected 500 million naira (strangely Boko Haram has not used their usual YouTube to deny this) to free the French hostages further confirmed the view that Nigerian ethnic militias are foot soldiers and messengers of hate and death, which our ruling elites use to negotiate and garner power for themselves. Therefore, the allocation of oily oil pipelines security contracts to them by President Jonathan is a down payment for terrorism-in-waiting. If this act continues, President Jonathan would have used Nigerian money to pay for the dismantling of the Nigerian state.
This is not acceptable. Some people had consistently worked for the sustenance of the corporate existence and integrity of our country. This is why the Nigerian state under President Jonathan must first stop the persecution and prosecution of MASSOB, stop the oily contracts to these militias, stop contracting our security to erstwhile and current terrorist militia groups (OPC and MEND/creek terrorist groups), directly take responsibility of our nation’s security and go ahead to openly use the force of law to dismantle and delegitimize all the ethnic and religious militias (OPC/MEND and others in the creeks/MASSOB/Boko Haram) today.
They have to go. They do not have a place in a 21st century Nigeria. The characters in these ethnic militias must not be allowed to lead our youths and children astray. We should not allow these ethnic militias and the Presidential support given them by President Jonathan to return us to the Stone Age.