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By: Law Mefor
 Published January 1st, 2010

Even with its killing spree spreading after leaving nearly 100 dead and over 100 hospitalized with attendant great humanitarian needs in the sectarian crisis in Jos, it may still not be Boko Haram that will push the nation to the precipice. The new group on revenge mission goes by the name, Janatu Nasril Islam (JNI). Though Boko Haram is alleged to have delivered the extraordinary Christmas Eve gift to the nation by multiply bombing Jos, it is Janatu Nasril Islam that has prescribed Jihad to stop the Jonah Jang government.

The Boko Haram, which has a history of violence against Christians, has also claimed responsibility for the church attacks in the northern town of Maiduguri, which also on Christmas Eve, killed six people, including a church pastor and two men rehearsing for the carol service. More killings and maiming of innocent citizens and policemen have followed since then with the authorities doing simply nothing. There is also an emerging deadly synergy between the two axes of evil forces - Janatu Nasril Islam and Boko Haram - as two sides of the same coin they are.

It is sad as it is incomprehensible that Jos and Maiduguri sectarian crisis, like every other in the country, should be allowed to spiral out of control. As the uncharted floods can submerge a whole countryside, so is a sectarian violence capable of wiping out a whole country. If the primary essence of government is providing security for lives and property, and ultimately making life more abundant to the greater number of citizens, then, government has failed in Nigeria in discharging such primary responsibilities.

What is of graver concern is that such groups are nurtured and unleashed on the nation right under the nose of the variegated security agencies, including the so-called largest police force in Africa, the NPF, and allowed to pose severe dangers to the unity and security of the Nigerian nation state, unchallenged. Nigeria is indeed in grave danger and nobody seems to care. The security agencies to preempt the drift appear at sea as to how to go about providing adequate security for lives and property in the nation’s quest to stabilize the polity.

The reason for this is not far. Culture of impunity, self-help and violence has been allowed to geminate and grow by irresponsible and unresponsive governments in the past and now only accentuated by the Jonathan government. The question is: why?

Though over the years, such private armies have grown without challenge and therefore not just a recent phenomenon, the stage appears set for a full scale cataclysm on a grander scale. Boko Haram and Janatu Nasril Islam (JNI) are coalescing and proving to be the last straw that may break the Carmel’s back. They are bent on plunging the nation into a religious war and the government of President Jonathan is not acting in a convincing manner. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 northern states claimed in its reaction to the Jos bombings that it warned government of the imminence of further reprisal attacks and regretted that nothing was done to avert it.

The situation does call to task the integrity of the government of the day and its competence to rise to the challenge. Many think the government has consistently pursued the policy of ‘Sidon Look’ ( wait and see) which is very dangerous, considering the fact that the spate of violence across the country is not abating and for years, no culprits have been brought to book. Trials in this direction have been largely a mockery and the nation predictably the worse for it.

For good measure, when the Boko Haram violence broke in Maiduguri and Bauchi over a year ago, and its leader Yusuf, hastily killed by the police in Maiduguri with Chris Dega as CP, President Jonathan, then acting , promised the nation that those behind the violence would be exposed and prosecuted. This never happened. He made a similar promise when Jos first erupted and nothing came out of it.

Now, serious plans appear underway to deal a deathblow on the nation. The Nation newspaper of 30/12/2010 quoted one Sheikh Sani Yahaya of Janatu Nasril Islam (JNI), as saying: “… Muslims in Plateau State are in great danger, Muslims are dehumanised, humiliated, maltreated and scorned by the Christians, according to him. The machinery of government is used by the Berom Christians.”

The Sheikh noted in the alleged minutes of their Bauchi meeting that 7,000 Muslims are massacred by the Christians in Plateau State since Governor Jonah Jang assumed office, accusing Governor Jang of a mission to destroy Islam in Plateau and plans to drive away non-Berom Christians in Plateau State, after destroying houses worth billions of Naira belonging to the Muslims and stifling their businesses which included motorcycle operation and Muslims given no employment with the Plateau State Government. The Jona Jang government is further accused of ordering the Plateau State Water Board to stop pumping water to places that are predominantly Muslims.

The Nation newspaper report also alleged that the sheikh had prescribed that the Muslim Ummah shall use Jihad and ensure that Jang does not return to office. The Sheikh’s alleged own words: “ Muslims in the state shall ensure that a few months before the general elections, Jihad will be declared in the state, which cannot be controlled even by security agencies, with great slaughter and massacre, which the Federal Government will have no option than to declare a State of Emergency in Plateau."

If the current threat, a very clear and present danger, is allowed to snowball, the outcome may be too huge to contain and can culminate in a whole political tsunami that can sweep away our nation as a result. The large none-Berom communities in Jos and Plateau will not sit and watch to be beheaded by the rampaging jihadists. They are bound to defend themselves and their reaction will reverberate across the country and take the nature and character of full-blown religious conflict. Many may say the nation has always faced religious crisis and survived but the coming one appears to be unique with the potential to easily snowball into consuming gargantuan proportions because Jos is where the Muslim north meets the mainly Christian south.

The time to act decisively is now. President Goodluck Jonathan was quoted as promising that the government will "go to the root" of the Christmas Eve attacks, further vowing, "We must unearth what caused it and those behind it must be brought to book". But said earlier, this will not be the first time the president will make such promise without keeping it. The reports on Boko Haram in Bauchi and Maiduguri and Jos crisis over a year ago were never implemented and doing so would have preempted the current carnages.

The Sultan of Sokoto and co-chairman of the Interfaith Dialogue in Nigeria Alhaji Muhammadu Sada Abubakar and his counter and Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor should go beyond their present polemical posturing of blaming politics and politicians and prevail on the government to act in the interest of national unity. The guilty must pay if further bloodbath will be averted.

• Law Mefor, Author, Journalist And Forensic Psychologist, Is Director Center For Leadership, Social And Forensic Research, Abuja. +234-803-787-2893.

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