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Friday, January 27, 2012

Discourse 340. Weep not, Kano. Be Innovative

Discourse 340
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

Weep Not, Kano. Be Innovative

The Kano bombings of Friday, 20 January 2012, could not have come as a surprise.

It is not the first time that Kano and Maiduguri would share the same fate. The early 1980s saw the Maitatsine religious crisis spread from Kano to Maiduguri, Gombe and Yola. This time, it reversed. Coming three decades later with its epicenter in Maiduguri, Boko Haram has spread to Kano.

The two are the most vibrant commercial cities in the far North. And not by coincidence, they are also the leading cities in Qur’anic tradition. Speaking in historical terms, they shared borders and there are large populations of Kanuri in the old Kano State. They are twins, you can say, in many respects.

While the people of Kano and indeed the entire country commiserate with the victims of the attack, and while the injured are still on hospital bed hoping for quick recovery, I feel not enough attention on the future is given in our commentaries. Will last Friday’s attack and its ongoing aftershocks be the last to visit Kano or will the second most populous city in the country share the fate of its twin sister?

The motive of Boko Haram and the reaction of government to the attacks suggest to me that Kano is likely to share the destiny of Maiduguri. More attacks should be expected. They are likely to come with no less, but if not more, degree of devastation. This is not a prayer but a prudent, albeit brutal, reading of the situation. It is the most likely scenario that needs to be prepared for or, if possible, avoided all together.

Boko Haram has given its reasons for the attack. It said it was predicated on the failure of the authorities to release innocent members of the sect detained from and after the 2009 crisis. Massive arrests, it said, took place in Wudil. Recently, also, added Boko Haram, many have been quietly arrested in the Kano itself without any trial.

The organization said it put off attacking the city many times before due to the intervention of some ulama it respects. But when neither of the demands was met, it ran out of patience and finally decided to go for what is correctly described as its biggest operation ever.

If previous arrests instigated the attack, as Boko Haram said, it will be difficult to see how the attack in itself would lead to amity with the government. Naturally, more arrests were made after the attack, and more will be made, in addition to a large dose, if not an overdose, of a cocktail of both preemptive and retributive measures. The killing of a Kantin Kwari merchant and his wife and the arrest of his children point at the extent that government would go with its policy of extermination, depicting another striking similarity with Maiduguri.

From experience, Boko Haram will not be cowed by such measures. They only serve to provoke it further. Unless a wiser approach is taken, last Friday's attack was the conjugation that will endlessly replicate the Maiduguri crisis DNA in Kano. I have not lost sight of the significance of the label given to the YouTube video released by its leader, Imam Abubakar Shekau, few hours ago: "Sako Game Da Harin Kano 1." In the caption is an implicit message that there might be Kano 2! The content of the video did not leave a better ground for hope either.

What should Kano resort to? Will it choose to depend on the overwhelmed federal government, in spite of the assurances of the new IGP, or would its leaders be innovative in following a complementary or, if need be, different path to peace?

Unlike Maiduguri, however, Kano has a small window of hope. If it is true that there are ulama in Kano who the sect hold at high esteem and whose reverence was instrumental in wading off earlier plans to attack the city, then the opportunity should be used to ensure that Kano is spared the crippling fate of Maiduguri.

In the pursuit of this goal, I advise that Kano must not solely rely on the federal government, whose extermination policy has only worsened matters nationwide. The Chief of Defence Staff just recently reiterated that government will not negotiate with Boko Haram. This high horse of government stupidity will not spare Kano the spectre of destruction that is staring at it. It will only destroy the city, to the delight of some.

The state government must quickly recruit the support of the Kano Emirate, the ulama of Kano as well as its businessmen to dialogue with the group. This should be done silently without courting publicity. Some non-Kano residents, like the Chief of Defence Staff, may think this is abominable. But think of it objectively. Is negotiation too big a price for peace and what it preserves of lives, property and businesses?

Let us examine the prospects of the government's military option briefly.

The most obvious thing that will happen is that the army will become increasingly drafted to Kano streets as the attacks continue. Their mandate will equally continue to expand, each time pouching from the authority of the state government, as we have seen in Plateau and Maiduguri, with state of emergency declared in all the local governments of the city.

The state will be spending chunks of its allocation to finance the military presence on its streets. It will be a web from which Kano will find difficult to extricate itself, moreso, when the misery of the city will mean a fortune for people who will exploit the situation to their advantage, diverting billions of security expenditure - which is a quarter of our federal budget - into their bank accounts.

The people who will suffer most will be the ordinary citizens whose businesses and livelihood will be impaired. When achaba is banned, for example, as in Maiduguri and Yobe state, a million commercial motorcyclists shuttling the streets of Kano will be jobless and their two million dependents will face serious hardships. And so with other businesses. The misery, in the end, will be unimaginable.

Markets, as it happened in Maiduguri, will also be at the risk of getting destroyed by fake soldiers who will cordon them, disperse their traders and set them ablaze immediately. Businessmen will be sent letters containing bullets demanding millions of naira or face death. Those who would like to cripple the long standing record of Kano's economic success will have a golden opportunity. They will carry their operations and push the blame to Boko Haram.

At home, families will be subjected to abuse. A single explosion will justify the ransacking of the entire neighbourhood by soldiers, killing the innocent, raping the women and shooting the men. Residents of the city will be forced to abandon it. Where will those millions go?

In the end Kano will be a ghost of its present state...if it solely relies on the federal government...if it commits the mistake of its twin sister, Maiduguri.

It must pursue a different path, wherever and whenever possible. It must not be overwhelmed by its tears, which at best preoccupies it with the past incident and prevents it from preparing for the future. But unlike Maiduguri, Kano must be ready to take its destiny in its own hands. Durkusawa wada ba gajiyawa ba ne.

As I was about to conclude this piece, Reuters reported that the President has confessed that the military option is not a solution, that his government is ready to dialogue if Boko Haram "will come out." Kano should not wait for Boko Haram to "come out" before it finds peace. It should take its own initiative. Who knows? Its effort, if it succeeds, may open the way for government to follow.

Finally, I hereby condole to the families of the victims that were killed and pray for fast recovery of all the injured.

Weep not, Kano. Your great people must take heart and take their destiny into their own hands.

As the poet al-Mutanabbi once put it, Innal 'azeema 'alal 'azeemi sabouru: Great people endure great calamity.

26 January 2012


Hafiz M. said...

Dr. Tilde, it's like you so much sympathize and agree with the so called "Imam" Shekau for his reasons of attacking Kano state. These Boko Haram people are evil and they don't represent Islam and Muslims, period. One can decide not criticize them for the fear of their attack (as you easily show), but there is only one truth. The reason they gave for the kano attack is that their members were arrested and that they should be released unconditionally. Ok fine, why should any right thinking human being, resort to suicide bombing and killing other innocent human beings, just to protest the arrest of their members? Those people they've killed, are they not also humans? don't they have families? are they not muslims? And knowing fully well the consequences of killing one in Islam without a cause, why do they decide to that? I'm not holding brief for the government, and its security personnel (because they've failed woefully in discharging their responsibilities), but this Haram people are rebels and they should be treated as such. I have not seen anything to negotiate with, because these people are in possession of illegal arms and ammunitions and they are not security agencies. Have you ever heard of USA negotiating anything with alqaeda? let's assume the government negotiated with them and they agreed to cease fire, so you should expect us to be mingling with Shekau and co, after exucuting thousands of innocent souls? Dr. Tilde, Boko haram are non repentant, and i assure you that even if all their members are released, they will not cease fire. You've seen the effort of Obasanjo and you'll testify to the aftermath (Killing of Fugu's Son). What happened in kano last friday in an indication to the motive of these people. they are sadists and they don't want peace in all the northern part of Nigeria, they want us to all turn to refugees, and InshaAllahu they will not succeed.


Negotiation is great, but, what are the terms for entering into such a Pact, what could a secular administration of Kwankwaso offer to them, noting that their core demand borders on constitutionality of Nigerian state. I hope the writer is not advocating the Niger-Delta appeasement option, for it worked on them, because they are essentially corruptible, which seemingly does not suffice here.

Abubakar Illohc said...

Dr. Tilde, you said it well. We hope and pray that Kano state govt take your suggestion and see how it could make it out. We cannot allow this inhumane treatment to continue.

Anonymous said...

I always admire your write ups and follow all your comments on National issues and they were proven fruitful. but today's one is the one you ever write that i have not appreciatiated. It's seems as if you didn't symphatise with Entire muslims and people of kano on what happened on last friday and woefully too encouraging the group to wage another attack on the city......... We believe in Allah, and Allah will surely rescue us from this musibah! Wallahul musta an! Thanks all the same for managing to talk on the matter no matter what, because Others like SULTAN, who immediately after Madalla blast, in which muslims also perished, went to Villa to renew his allegaince with government. But when hundreds died by this incidents, he chooses not go nor does he see reason to visit kano......

Anonymous said...

“He who lives by the sword will die by the sword.” If every1 were to 'act' according to how they 'feel' there might not be people remaining on earth today. How many Nigerians all over the nation are unhappy with Government's way of running things? The answer is obvious, how come most of those who are dissatisfied with the governing of state of affairs in the nation in other parts (except North) of the country are not killing innocent souls??! What has the man selling recharge card, newspaper vendor, mamapot...done to deserve death at the hands of this so called sect members??! There can never be a good enough reason for killing an innocent live!!! What I see here is a total disregard 4 human life. If you place value on something you will not sit down & watch somebody mess with it. I have watched how my home State, Borno, is reduced to a terror zone. And now the terror is fast speading across the north & some few parts of the nation. The govt. needs to awake from its complacent position & live up to its responsibility of protecting the lives of the citizens. Whatever it needs to do to curb this carnage it should do NOW!!! The adage 'prevention is better than cure' appears to be a strange phrase in Nija's security operations. The govt. must start by PLACING true value on LIVES and not just on MONIE

Babanhajiya said...

Negotiating with boko haram is not a bad idea my brother hafiz even america is now negotiating with the taliban and you should know that beside boko haram there are enemies of islam and muslims in the police and the nigerian army who would seize this opportunity to wreck havoc on muslim ummah in kano we have seen them here in jos we know what they are capable of doing.

Anonymous said...

A great discourse in deed. I hope the Kano government and its people will take these advice

Anonymous said...

May Allah help d Kano leaders to follow ur piece for peace to reign in our region. Those that against negotiation 're not but traitors

Anonymous said...

A MUST read article by Dr. Aliyu Tilde. God bless u Sir, u have said it all. Let's wait nd see, hope they will act as u advised.

Zainab said...

I also agree withyou Hafiz that the way Boko Haram has behaved so fardoes not in any way suggest that it is willing to EVER putdown its arms seeing how much power they now weild in the country and the notoriety they enjoy. BUT, as the nigerian security agencies are far behind them in both intellect and operational discipline, I will go with Dr. Tilde's suggestion for now as a temporary solution until a better one is found. I dont believe that terrorists should be negotiated with either but that is a luxury even the big boys (like U.S and Europe) have not completely mastered. Our own mediocre security services cant afford that luxury simply cos they lack the know how to contain such an obviously sophisticated outfit as Boko Haram. Since the first set of Niger Delta militants were given amnesty, I have maintained my stance on the foolishness of the move but then this is Nigeria, being foolish is mainly what governance is about. It was clear (to all but the FGN) from the beginning that such a move could only birth worse case scenerios.

I pray the Kano people take this option as a first way forward to be continued from there. Thank you Dr. Tilde for at least proffering a way forward. Anything is better than the complicity with which the FGN has handled thismatter.

Unknown said...

Dr You have mentioned what is in my mind. I learn that Jigawa state govt silently order the police force to release all the members of boko haram that make it easy for boko haram not to attack Jigawa. Whoever is saying their should be no negotiation find out he is not from any affected state thank for your advice. I hope Kwankwaso and ado Bayero will take this advice.

Dele said...

Dear Dr Tilde, I just want to point out 2 important things you failed to observe in your article. First, there is no excuse for taking innocent human lives, no matter how aggrieved you are. Second, members of the Nigerian Armed Forces are not occupying force but patriotic Nigerians. It makes me bleed when 'informed people' like you refer to them as rapists.

Anonymous said...

I still beleive BH is not what we are thinking,some forces are behind this group,I still think government has link to all these things,how was sokoto arrested, the shekau guy has gsm where are the operators wont they oblige us with his where abouts to stop the killings.As I said earlier in my comments in one of these blogs in the fast , where was BH during the NLC strike ? my answer was the master minds were engaged then.another point I want us look iswhat has govt of the day acheived since coming in to being.
Divide and rule and also divert atteention of Nigerians and so many things

Anonymous said...

Dele whether you believe or not, there are a lot of rapists among the security forces and only Allah will save our people from them. Most of them see it as opportunity to make money and enjoy whenever they are deployed for any rescue mission, any where in Nigeria. I see our problem beyond BOKO HARAM. Many are hiding under their umbrella and committing series of atrocities and labeling them on Boko Haram. May Allah save us

Kabir Algamawy said...

Dr Tilde has said it from his own points of view. Since the goverment failled to prevent it and now the outbreaks occurs, it need to be manage and control the spread of cases, Dr ststed some of the possible way, therefore those againsing the Dr's point like Hafiz and co. Let you mention the possible solution to the existing inhuman and brutal happinings in the core north

Anonymous said...

Having gone through the comments of others, it is worthy to note that Dr. Tilde is trying his best to proffer a solution. Allah can place a solution on the tongue of any one He wishes if only those in authority will accept and act by it. But to me as a Muslim, I'm contented by the saying of Allah "..whenever you dispute/disagree over anything, then return it to Allah and His Messenger(for its solution).." It is left for one to believe or not. Quite O.K, spilling the blood of ANYBODY (muslim or non muslim) without any justification incurs the wrath of Allah. On the other hand, injustice from the those in authority breeds chaos and pandemonium. Therefore the meeting point is still in between. May Allah see us through this trying moment. Dr. Tilde, Kudos for always being the lead discussant.

Tony said...

Wao! Intelligent contributions! In as much as i will not support the Boko Haram guys, i will appreciate the contribution of Dr. Tilde for the suggestions. Kano used to be a very serious commercial centre in Nigeria but since the continous religeous crisis coupled with the present BH, things are not thesame. The responsibility now is on the eminent Kano sons and daughters to do evrything within their powers to stop BH operations. Kano is very important to the north and the entire Nigeria but some people would want Kano behind. BH will draw Kano back as no investor will put his money where the security is not guaranteed. God will help Kano, Nigeria.

Anonymous said...

Innocent Plateau, God almighty fought for you and will fight for you. Those who set up Boko Haram and nurtured it will negotiate with it. The true Hausa/Fulani is being exhibited. They hate strangers everywhere on earth. They are free to turn on themselves. It will be well for the rest of us.

Tilde's piece shows who he his. Too bad for him but, whatever, God dey.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dr. for setting the tone. Am sure a lot will be drawn by those who are supposed to take the initiative from your contribution and those made by others in their comments. May Allah assist us to overcome this and other challenges facing both Kano and the nation at large. Finally, the date was Friday, 20th and not 19th as reflected.

Anonymous said...

Mallam Aliyu, I'm an ardent reader of your blogs and much as I do not always agree with ur analysis or sentiments, I do appreciate the fact that you're one of the few that are ready to at least move this nation ahead. I notice also, that you attempt to give something close to a 'balanced reportage' in your blogs and I think that's commendable. That said, I wish to draw your attention to your constant depiction of soldiers as the scum of the earth... I said depiction because you never outrightly say it, but the suggestion is always there. In particular, you mentioned that soldiers raped in Maiduguri and may do so in the wake of the BH crisis if allowed to hold sway in Kano. Pls know that you do Nigerian soldiers a great disservice when you subtly accuse them of such a heinous, unholy and discrediting crime. It is an insult to our proffesion and a great slander to the men who put their lives on the line in service to this nation. To commit rape, a soldier would have to undress (at least from waist down). Do you know how demeaning and difficult such an act would be under the circumstances? Besides, you offer no proof whatsoever, yet you echo the rape accusation louder than a possible eyewitness. I believe I've said enough. I've come to respect you after reading so many of your blogs and I'll suggest you check your facts/sources better. So that in future, you don't level blanket/collective accusations on the innocent soldiers who defend this country with all they've got everyday. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

The last comment says it all. I had expected people to read serious discourse like this with discerning minds and perceive the message.

The onus is on Kano elites to decide whether to take actions to safeguard their vibrant commercial and industrial city or be allowed to be dragged by the so-called "international conventions" to their eventual ruination. May Allah forbid.

Thanks Dr. Tilde, you have done your part and may the Lord continue to strengthen you in knowledge and courage.

kabir said...

Pls nigerians. It is high time we avoid semtiments in our writeups. The issue of boko haram is beyond hausa/fulani or muslims. It is an idea which is against the tenents of islam. Therefore both the muslims and non muslims who knows the best way to contain this menace should do so. It is not that people are afraid of boko haram to such an extent that they say anything against them for fear of reprisals. Islamic point of view is the same before and now. Whoever takes an innocent life has no place in paradise. Equally whoever kill himself in sucide mission should find his place in hell fire. Suicide mission is only carried out among combatans(in a declared justified war) not within innocent defenceless citizens. since it is widely believed that they listen to certain scholars, then let those scholars tell them the truth about martyrdom. Every good muslim want to die a matyr but people should know the difference between Sucide and matyrdom.

M Mukhtar said...

There is this saying of somebody who uses the same mix but expects different result each time as being crazy . BH have not changed there tactics one bit , the security agencies too have neither . There is this obsession of curfew and check points anytime there is a crisis . Obviously this has not worked in Maiduguri or any where . It cripples activities and antagonize the innocents lending to frustration . BH have the same target ; the security agencies , so why don't you concentrate on the target , move the target ! This concept of barracks and stations is not sound planning . In this age a mobile security system will serve better . Barracks should give way and security agents should mingle and integrate with the society , that way they will be more informed , more sympathetic to citezens needs , more effective and gain the confidence of the citezenary . Disputes could be settled locally and quickly . BH are difficult to catch because they blend , why not have your security to blend ?
This concept of curfew all the time , nobody is counting the loss on the economy , some businesses operate mainly at night , who will compensate those ? One is at a loss , are the security agencies using the period of curfew to make arrests or what ? BH struck Kano in the evening , even in Maiduguri most of the attacks are in the light of day , so why lock out people in the evening ?
This calls for a complete rethink , when you employ same tools expect same result !!!

Anonymous said...

Mallam Tilde
Thank you for suggesting the way forward. Kano people should not despair. The path of dialogue as suggeted appears to be the most convincing way forward. May Allah help us Amin

Mahmud said...

Salm. Nice piece Dr. Tilde. In going through the comments I realized one thing - blatant and unconstructive critisms by some. To such commenters: Have you read and understood the article or are you just reading with your accumulated prejudice?
To reap the benefit of any piece of knowledge, one must study it with a freemind dropping all his/her baggage of ethnocentrisms n prejudice.
Dr. Has pointed out what is on ground - what is happening at the moment and in no way has he supported BH. He also made a suggestion regarding the solution, Simple.
My contribution will be on the whole perspective of what is going on and its remedy. MEND, BH, MOSOB or watever are all musiba 'calamities' from God due to what our hands have sent forth. The prophet (S.A.W) in a hadith said beware of a museeba that will affect many due to the wrong doings of a few. Also, God said He doesn't change the state of a people untill they change their ownselves. All solutions will not work untill we turn to the solver of all problems.

Ahmed Usman, Abuja said...

Crazy! So crazy.!
Dr Tilde failed to enlighten us on WHAT BOKO HARAM DEMANDS ARE.
What do they want? Islamization of Nigeria? Dis anding the constitution for only Islamic Sharia Law? Is that what the negotiatiion shud e about?
Is Boko Haram killing for Infrastructure? Are they killing because they are "marginalized"? No! They said the constitution is 'kafirci' they said they will 'Kill like a Chicken" anyone whom their ALLAH insteucts them to kill.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Ahmed, what will be the basis for the negotiation? To turn Nigeria to an Islamic state governed by the shari'a law?
I think the Islamic clerics have the responsibility of preaching to these people because their actions are worst than that of those they call infidels. The senseless killings of innoscent Nigerians and foreigners in the name of Islam is most unfortunate.
Most people are afraid of these guys and think Dr. Tilde is one such persons.

sani mudi said...

SALAM Dr. Im impressed with this sharing from your rich experience in neighbouring plateau state. negotiation per se is not wrong and could provide solution in the long run. I agree with your position that kano should avoid falling the way of maiduguri. interestingly, even john dara of middle belt, in a recent interview in the sunday trust of 29 jan 2012, suggested that the northern govs should see boko haram as essentially a northern problem and initiate dialogue accordingly. one cannot agree more!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if negotiating with BH would have prevented the carnage that seems to have no end in sight?When religion comes in the mix and you throw in unemployment and political disenfranchisement, the end product is share anarchy. It would be sad if Nigeria ends up where I fear it might end,( a divided country). said...

Would dialogue accomplish anything? Disputes with religion as a basis of justification has a propensity of lingering around forever. Throw in poverty and political disenfranchisement and the sum total of sheer anarchy. Thats where Nigeria is headed. Its not where the world wants it to be.