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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Balance Sheet of Donations For Jos Flood and Fulani IDPs

(As at Today, Saturday 27 July 2012, 12.00am)


Deposits Made by Dates


Habibu abubakar (Maitama) = N210,00
ETZ 000000044333(Head Office) = N5,000
Flood Victims Contribution = N50,000

Subtotal = N265,000


Taimakon Ambaliyan Jos (Head Office) = N30,000
ETZ 00000004452 (head office) = N20,000
Ayyub ibn Ibrahim = N50,000
Adam Abdullahi (Broad Street) = N5,000
Saminu Buhari (Katsina)= N2,000
Mohammed Shariff Lawal (Head Office) = N5,000
Usman Ibrahim D (Zaria) = N3,000
Buhari Mikailu (Head Office) = N20,000
Anonymous (Liverpool) = N5,000
Salisu (Trinity) = N10,000
Aid for Jos victims (Head Office) = N5,000
Ezra Ibrahim (Kaduna) = N1,000
Aid for IDPs Jos (Head Office) = N5,000
Aluna Mohammed/DS 570654 = N5,000
Aliyu Madaki (National Assembly) = N50,000
Ahmed Saleh mni (National Assembly) = N20,000
Mohd Kolo (Bauchi) = N2,000
Salisu Garba (trib Jasawa) = 5,000
NEFT/UBA/TUD PM (Jos) = 10,000
Bashir Ahmad (Diso) = N10,000
Tijjani Aliyu Ahmed (trIB) = 10,000
ETZ 000000045026 (Head Office) = N10,000

Subtotal = N283,000.00


flood victims (Head Office) = 5,000
flood victims (head office) = 3,000
Rakiya R Haruna (Maitama 2) = 1,000
DS242568 (Sokoto 3) = N1,000
Fatima Abbani (Maitama 2) = N1,000
ETZ 000000045116 (Head office) = 5,000
Khadija S Kumo (Maitama 2) = N2,000
Abdulmumin Yusuf (City Plaza) = N2,000
Dr. G. B. Kumo (Maitama 2) = N5,000
Abdullahi Ahmadu (Kano 2) = N5,000
Yerima Othman (Int’l Airport) = N500
Shamsudeen UA (Damaturu) = N5,000
Salamatu Malamai = N10,200
Jibrin Musa (Yenegoa) = N20,000
Yakubu (Asokoro) = N5,000
Usman Saleh (Abuja) = N500
MN Yusuf (Bourdillon) = N5,000
CBN Muslim Staff (Jos) = N50,000
Bulus Sagada (Gombe) = N1,000
Haidar Maihadisi (Aminu Kano II) = N5,000
Mrs Adamu (Amuwo Odofin) = N1,800
Buba Sani Dahiru (Head office) = N5,000
Awwal Isah (Gwarimpa) = N20,000
Mustapha Adamu (Maitama 2) = N15,000
Aliyu Shehu (Kaduna 2) = N5,000
Amina Ali (Kaduna 2) = N100,000
Taheer A Y (Badagry) = N1,000
Abdulsalam auwal farouk (Head office) = 10,000
Zainab Aliyu Tilde (Head office) = 2,000
Hamza Mahmoud (head office) = 10,000
Bello Abubakar Sadiq (Head office) = (N5,000)
Nafisa Shehu Awak = N5,000
Hamza Mahmoud (head office) = N10,000
ETZ 000000045813 (Head office) = N5,000

Subtotal = N327,000.00


Abdulsalam Umar (Kebbi House) = N160,000
Hamis Garba Mele (Jabi) = N1,000
Anonymous (Abuja) = N13,000
Bulana (Bukuru) = NN5,000
Funke (Kaduna 2) = N20,000
Alhaji Dalhatu I Daneji (Unity Rd) = N50,000
Usman Sani (Gusau) = 1,000
Alil Abubakar (Kebbi House) = N5,000
Hussaini Isa (Aminu Kano 1) = N20,000
Aminu A (Bwari main) = N5,000
M D A (Kano) = N5,000
Zahraddeen Salisu (New Wuse) = N2,000
Mukhtar A. U. (Bauchi) = N1,500
Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi) = N5,000
Hasan Suleiman (?) = N50,000
Y&H (?) = N7,500
Shettima (Kaduna) = 3,000
Fatima (Moloney) = N1,500
Fatima Muslimah (?) = N1,000
Pete Bage (?) = N40,000

Subtotal = N396,500


ETZ 000000046725 (Head office) = N2,000
Abubakar Ibrahim (head office) = N5,000

Subtotal = N7,000

Sum of Donations

24/7/12 = N265,000.00
25/7/12 = N283,000.00
26/7/12 = N327,000.00
27/7/12 = N396,500.00
28/7/12 = N 7,000.00

TOTAL (from alerts received) = N1,278.500.00

But the balance in the account is reading a higher figure: N1,331,251.17, indicating that I have not received the alerts of some donations made into the account.

If we deduct the change I had in the account before the donations started to come (N23,285.67), the total donations made would be


Unlike the Fulani IDP accounts, nothing has so far been spent from this account. In the meeting that took place at the central mosque yesterday, it was agreed that since the IDPs have adequate stock of food and non-food relief materials so far, the money collected through this source would be used to settle them. Today, Saturday 28th, a collection of their biodata is ongoing right now. Based on it an informed decision would be taken on the best way to intervene in their settlement.



Deposits Made by Dates


Jinjiri Murtala = N10,000
Umar, Sani = N40,000
Aminu Salihu Mikailu = N50,000
Muazu, Adamu Mohammed = N10,000
Usman Jibrin Gani = N10,000
Othman, Suleiman T. = N5,000
Abba Kyari = N250,000
Ibrahim, Ishaq = N5,000
Umar, Fatihu Adamu = N2,000
Prof. A.G. Yahaya = N20,000
Shonoiki, Ganiyu Olawale = N7,000
Abdullahi Adam = N5,000

Subtotal = N414,000


Nasiru Yaro = N10,000
Abubakar Adamu Tukur = N20,000
Kashif Inu = N10,000
Adamu Babayo = N5,000
Ibrahim Ahmed Tijjani = N50,000
Agoje HS = N20,000

Subtotal = N135,000


Buhari Mikailu = N10,000
Muhammad Abdullahi Moriki = N2,000
Mohammed A = N50,000
Sharalla = N100,000

Subtotal = N162,000


Abdulkadir Umma Garba = N2,000
Muazu Zuhriya Ahmad = N5,000

Subtotal = N7,000


Ardo INV LTD = N50,000
Ardo Plastics Ltd = N50,000
Zainab Saadu = N20,000

Subtotal = N120,000


Eng. KD = N5,000
Zaynab = N5,000
Hauwa Baba Adamu = N10,000
M Abubakar = N30,000

Subtotal = N50,000


Salisu Garba = N5,000
Ayuba Ibn Ibrahim = 50,000
Garba Salisu = 5,000
Kehinde = N5,000
Hadiza Dahiru = N5,000

Subtotal = N70,000


Zainab Bo Alamin = N3,000
Zainab Aliyu Tilde = N2,000
Abdullahi Ahmadu Tijjani = N5,000
Nafisa Shehu Awak = N5,000
Murtala Lawal Baloni = N10,000

Subtotal = N25,000


Bashir Saad Muhammad = N5,000
Abdallah Abdul Musa = N20,000

Subtotal = N25,000


Jawad Mustapha = N100,000
Fatima Abubakar = N20,000
Abdul Abdullah Snr = N20,000

Subtotal = N140,000

Summary of Donations:

18/7/12 = 414,000
19/7/12 = 135,000
20/7/12 = 162,000
21/7/12 = 7,000
23/7/12 = 120,000
24/7/12 = 50,000
25/7/12 = 70,000
26/7/12 = 25,000
27/7/12 = 25,000
28/7/12 = 140,000
TOTAL = N1,148, 000

Previous expenditure accounted for in ( = N358,200

New Expenditure

- Hire of three truck that carried NCFR aid from the Nigerian Red Cross (NRC) Office in Jos to Dogo and Rim camps = N80,000,
- Fuel = N4,000
- 11 NRC volunteers at the rate of N1,500 per diem = N16,000

Subtotal = N100,000

Total Expenditure = 358,200 + 100,000 = 458,200.00

BALANCE = N1,148,000 – N458,200

= N689,800.00

We will press for more donations to ensure that we have enough to roof the burnt Fulani houses and replace the 40 or so cows lost. The settlement of the flood victims will also need some big amounts. My friends should be ready to receive my personal requests for donations. So, if you are my friend or oga, I may tax you on this depending on how deep I know your pocket should be. So governors, emirs, politicians, managers, emirs, ulama, publishers, etc, get ready to receive my nagging calls, emails and text messages. The small earners have played their role. Now is your turn.

I couldn't use Excel spreadsheet because my blog format doesn't support it.



For those who wish to donate, the account numbers are:


GTB, Bauchi Branch, Aliyu U. Tilde, 0044453830


Zenith Bank, Bauchi Branch, Aliyu U. Tilde, 1001030092

Thank you.

Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Short Essay 38: Donations for Jos Flood Victims

Short Essay 38
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

Appeal for

Since I posted the story of the flood disaster that affected some Hausa communities along the Dilimi River in Jos yesterday, there have been calls by prospective donors for finding an account to deposit their donations for the victims as we did in the case of their Fulani counterparts that were displaced a week earlier. I referred the matter to the leaders of the Hausa community in Jos for necessary action.

This morning I visited the scenes of the disaster, including the two schools where the IDPs were camped at Gangare and Rikos. NEMA relief materials started arriving last night, with the promise that more will arrive today, directly, not through the SEMA. The state government has, for the first time, sent a delegation this morning to the Hausa Community to comisserate with it on the disaster. It promised to send its assistance as soon as possible. This is a positive development. Then I attended a meeting with leaders of the Jasawa community at the Jos Central Mosque to work out the modalities of the relief fund.

The leaders decided that in the same manner we handled the Fulani IDP relief fund, we should do the same to the Hausa community. They agreed for the purpose of urgency to use my Zenith Bank Account – to prevent confusing it with the Fulani IDPs donations in GTB – and a text message be sent to the Barrister Sani Mudi containing the name of the donor and the amount he donated. The details of the account and the GSM number are as follows:

Zenith Bank Plc, Bauchi Branch. Aliyu U. Tilde. 1001030092.

The GSM number of Sani Mudi to whom the name of the donor and the amount donated would be sent is 08033494509.

The donations will be handled in the same way we handled the Fulani IDPs donations. We will publish online the names of donors and the amounts they donated as well as what the donations were used for, including quantities and rates of items purchased and any incidental cost incurred. As the Red Cross does it, relief will only be delivered to the beneficiaries directly, not their representatives or leaders or kept in a store, I promise.

The Flood IDPs Must Not Return

This flood disaster is unique. Whole families have been washed away. More than 200 houses destroyed, according to NEMA. But the problem is, unlike the case of the Fulani IDPs who have returned to their homes and all that is left undone now is the repair of burnt houses and replacement of killed cattle, the affected Hausa communities of Jos should not be allowed to return to those houses.

It will be the height of recklessness for anyone to advocate the repair of the destroyed houses. The entire communities are living right on the path of the river. This may not be the last flood this year. More rains are expected in August and September. I am glad that some survivors have vowed never to return to their houses. It was just last Friday I was wondering as i passed by Rikos what would happen to those houses in case of a flood. And it came, just two days later.

Our goal must be the relocation of the entire communities including those that have escaped the disaster this time to a new place entirely. To complicate matters, Jos is not endowed with flat land and the unending ethno-religious crisis has unfortunately divided the city into exclusive ethnic enclaves. The only area where the Hausa community can build now is along the Jos-Bauchi highway.

I left the leaders of the Hausa community to address this urgent issue. They have promised to convene a meeting of their council immediately.

Donate, Even If Little

Finally, let me say something about the donations. A pattern has emerged from those received on behalf of the Fulani IDPs: most of the donations are big – in the range of N5,000-N250,000. Even the first donation I received for the Hausa community some minutes ago was big: N210,000 from one Habibu Abubakar in Abuja. The small donors with N100 - N1000 are just not there.

People think they need to donate big in times like this. On the contrary, in our effort to build a donation culture among Nigerians, like in the US, it is the number of donors that matters not the amounts. We can approach a Dangote and get N50million instantly. But we prefere to build a culture of collective responsibility than depending on few individuals that may not be there tomorrow or who may grow tired. Disasters in Nigeria, human and natural, are unending. Do not belittle any good you do:

"And whatever good they do, they never belittle it. And God is aware of those who fear Him."

So if you have N50, fight the devil that belittles your effort and go ahead to donate it in the nearest bank to you now. Do not wait until you have big money. Tomorrow, God, isA, will endow you with the wealth that will make you donate a million naira or more. By then you are already used to it.

“And whatever good you do, God is aware of it.”

24 July 2012

N/B. The account for donating to the Fulani IDPs is GTB, Bauchi Branch, Aliyu U. Tilde, 0044453830. Even today, I received donations of 5,000, 5,000, 10,000, and 30,000 in that account. We have asked for a comprehensive list of people whose houses were burnt or lost their cattle in Barikin Ladi and Riyom LGAs two weeks ago. We hope to repair the houses and replace the cows, God willing.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Disaster Hits Hausa Community in Jos


Just as the problem of the Fulani IDPs was subsiding, a flood yesterday hit the Hausa communities of Rikos, Gangare and all other communities of Jos along the Dilimi river. Dozens of lives are drowned; about thirty have been recovered so far and laid at the Central Mosque. Some bodies may only be recovered hundreds of miles down the river in Bauchi State as is usually the case.

One of the leaders of the Hausa community in Jos told me how hundreds of stranded families now live in the open without any shelter or provision, in addition to the loss of their beloved ones. As I left the city some minutes ago I started to think of how aid can reach them quickly.

So far there has not been any response from the state government. It will take a day or two or even more before relief would start reaching the victims from relief agencies. NEMA will certainly channel its aid through the Plateau State State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA). Experience of communities in the state, particularly Hausa and Fulani communities, teaches that relief from SEMA often comes staled, if it comes at all, as it rarely does. The experience of Jos IDPs in 2008 crisis is still fresh in our minds. It is a painful truth that has to be told.

An official of the Nigerian Red Cross told me in the morning that they are in the field assessing the disaster. Their help will definitely come earliest by tomorrow afternoon due to paper work.

We have some NCFR relief for the Fulani IDPs remaining in the Nigerian Red Cross office in Jos. I will, in consultation with other stakeholders, see if it is possible to deliver them to the communities affected in Jos, once there is anything in the remainder that would be of use to them immediately.

The Jasawa leaders decided that in the same manner we handled the Fulani IDP relief fund, we should do the same to the Hausa community. They agreed for the purpose of urgency to use my Zenith Bank Account – to prevent confusing it with the Fulani IDPs donations in GTB – and a text message be sent to the Barrister Sani Mudi containing the name of the donor and the amount he donated. The details of the account and the GSM number are as follows:

Zenith Bank Plc, Bauchi Branch. Aliyu U. Tilde. 1001030092.

The GSM number of Sani Mudi to whom the name of the donor and the amount donated would be sent is 08033494509.

The donations will be handled in the same way we handled the Fulani IDPs donations. We will publish online the names of donors and the amounts they donated as well as what the donations were used for, including quantities and rates of items purchased and any incidental cost incurred. As the Red Cross does it, relief will only be delivered to the beneficiaries directly, not their representatives or leaders or kept in a store, I promise

"Whatever good you do, God is aware of it."

Thank you.

Aliyu U. Tilde


23 July 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Short Essay 38: We are Grateful

Short Essay 38
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

We are Grateful

In my last update on the evicted Fulani communities are facing in Plateau State, I highlighted the humanitarian problems they were facing of lack of food and shelter. Up to 40 hrs after they started to reach the camps, no aid has started reaching them.

I am glad to say that, seeing the delay from the Plateau State government in delivering relief materials to the now three camps at Dogo, Diyan and Rim, the Special Task Force (STF) went out of its way to purchase and deliver humanitarian aid to the IDPs. By yesterday noon, the convoy left the headquarters along with the Commandant, Major-General Henry Ayoola and many journalists. On our part, we decided that Saleh Bayari should follow them while we stay back in Jos to buy relief materials from the contributions we were anticipating would come, following the publication of my account number and the GSM number of Saleh Bayari and those of other members of the committee of seven that we set up to handle donations from respondents.

The convoy of the STF reached Dogo, the first camp in Barikin Ladi LGA. A Surprise: The Fulani rejected the relief materials. It took the intervention of Saleh Bayari who explained that the relief was not coming from the state government before they reluctantly accepted it. The reception was colder in Diyan. Saleh later told us that he had to go mad before they could be controlled. They dumped the relief materials and left.

Back in Jos, we were able to buy food stuff of N258,800.00. We got the escort of an STF vehicle around 3.00pm and set out for Diyan and Rim immediately. We cleared with the STF convoy just some 2 kilometers to the Diyan camp, after driving through the mountainous narrow community feeder road. When we reached Diyan, we were greeted with the same rejection slogan, “Ba ma so, Ba ma so.” I was able to convince the leaders to accept the relief after briefing them on the source of the funding. They have earlier interacted with me during the aborted NSA's reconciliation effort of 2010. I called three of the leaders to a meeting at a mosque and they obliged. “This is coming from other Nigerians sympathetic to your cause; it will not help you to reject it”, I explained. With such persuasion, they agreed to henceforth accept whatever we bring them.

We left them quickly for Rim, a place east of Makaho that is difficult to reach through Diyan. Just before the camp at the nomadic school there, we met the large STF truck packed by the riverside and some soldiers wandering around it. We three times attempted cross the river with our smaller truck but to no avail. We even gave it a hand but the surface at the bank across was too slippery. The truck just could not mount. I was surprised that none of the soldiers assisted us. They were just watching and laughing. So we decided to trek the rest of the distance to the camp, just about a kilometer away, fortunately, and left the soldiers at the river.

We were greeted by protest of youths and women. They too have refused to collect the relief of the STF. I pitied the Major whom I met there. He looked helpless. I ignored the shouts and greeted the Ardo, whom I also met a couple of times previously, including when we went to convince them to evacuate their homes some two days before. After shaking him, I passed through the crowd and met the Major standing helplessly by the side of his green Toyota-Hilux car. “So what is going on here”, I asked him. He replied, “We are trying to negotiate acceptance of the relief with them.” I felt sad but maintained my cool, surprisingly.

I demanded that I meet the Ardo aside. As we started talking, the youths came over and continued with their protest. The Ardo himself did not sound more reasonable in his speech. As he was trying to convince me on their rationale behind rejecting the STF relief, a woman in the crowd collapsed some meters behind us. The villagers said she has died. We suspended the negotiation and attended to the woman. A medical doctor confirmed that she was alive. It was hypoglycemia, he said. I forgot to ask what happened to her later. Did they give her glucose or did he die? I do not know.

After the scene was over, we continued our discussions with the crowd, moving from one circle to another. I did not bother to find the Ardo anymore. In the end, the youths understood that our trip was different from that of the STF. suddenly, many of them started running down to the river to push the truck this side. Had the soldiers given us a hand, we would not have wasted so much time. The suspicion that it was the same Fulani that fought them ten days earlier was still fresh in their minds. I do not blame them. But as peacekeepers, I just thought they would have been more cooperative. May be I was mistaken.

Anyway, our relief was downloaded and packed in the mosque. The Major left disappointed through Mahanga, while his people carrying the STF relief that could not cross the river and our escort returned with their trucks through the Diyan road. We were to meet them later around 7.30pm at Mahanga Junction along the road to Kura Falls.

I suspect that there was more than met our eyes in the protest of the Fulani in the camps. If the relief was not brought that day, they would have had a perfect reason to return to their houses; after all, the impression that the operation would only last for two days was still fresh in their minds. Accepting the relief would dispossess them of that alibi.

Before we left Rim, I told their Imam and some elders there to use their brain and not their heart in taking any decision regarding their return to their homes and that they must not toe the line of the youth and women. I also reminded them that it is their responsibility to remain resolute on what is wise and get their followers to abide by that. Resolve is among the primary responsibilities of a leader. Otherwise, I warned them, God will hold them responsible for any life lost as a result of any foolish decision they may allow their followers to take.

As we returned to Jos around 9.00pm, a rumour spread among the IDPs that the soldiers have told Ardo Luggere that the Fulani can return to their homes. I was driving home when a staff of DW called me for clarification. I said it was a lie.BThey following morning we were able to call the Ardos and advise them to return to the camps. By noon, they have complied with the advice.

Here the soldiers impressed me. They did not confront the Fulani when they disobeyed the evacuation order. That would have led to something disastrous. Maturity, foresight, patience and understanding are required in situations like this. The soldiers on ground, unlike their escort counterparts earlier at the river bank, really exhibited those qualities in abundant measure.


We started receiving donations within an hour of publishing the request on some Facebook groupsyesterday morning. The following is the list of the eighteen deposits made in the GTB account given from readers between yesterday and today. (the details of the account and members of the committee was given in his publication:

Jinjiri Murtala (N10,000)
Umar Sani (N40,000)
Aminu S. Mikailu (N50,000)
Muazu Adamu Mohammed (N10,000)
Usman Jibrin (N10,000)
Othman Suleiman T. (N5,000)
Abba K. (N250,000)
Ibrahim Ishaq Jae (N5,000)
Umar Fatihu Adamu (N2,000)
Prof. A.G. Yahaya (N20,000)
Shonoiki, Ganiu Olawale (N7,000)
Abdullahi, Adam (N5,000)
Nasiru Yaro (N10,000)
Abubakar, Adamu Tukur (N20,000)
Kashir Inu (10,000)
Adamu Babayo (N5,000)
Ibrahim Ahmed Tijjani (N50,000)
Mrs. Agoje H. S. (N20,000)
TOTAL: N529,000.


The relief expenditure we made yesterday was:

Rice 10 Bags@N9,300= N93,000
Sugar 4 Bags@N9,500 = N38,000
Salt 2 bags@N1,900 = N3,800
Maggi 2 cartons @N4,800 = N9,600
Vegetable oil 2 Jerry cans @N6,900 = N13,800
Palm oil 2 Jerry cans @N7,500 = N15,000
Lipton 2 cartons @N9,000 = N18,000
Milk 2 bags @N19,000 = N38,000
Bread = N5,000
Sachet water 30 bags @N80 = N2,400
Polythene hut covers (leda) 40 pieces @N350 = N14,000
Bar soap and detergent (Omo) = N8,200
Transport = N20,000
TOTAL = N278,800.00
Balance = N250,200.00

We will continue to update readers with the expenditure we make on this project from their donations.

Alhamdulillah. We are grateful to those who donated. May God reward them abundantly in this world and the next!

“Whatever good you do, God is aware of it.”

19 July 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Short Essay 37: Relief for the Fulani

Short Essay 37
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

Relief for the Fulani in Jos

Readers of my Facebook page ( might have read the posting I made this morning regarding the current humanitarian situation of the forcibly displaced Fulani in Barikin Ladi and Riyom local governments. I then reported that no relief material has reached them even as at noon when I made the posting. The situation has not changed and it is not likely to change until tomorrow morning, perhaps. This is in spite of the fact that the locations of the camps chosen by the Fulani were given to the state SEMA officials as at yesterday 4.00pm when we were leaving Mahanga and the Fulani were starting to move to the sites.

The STF have applied pressure on the state committee handling the relief materials to expedite action on the matter. “The eyes of the world is on this case wo,” one of the commanders told the relief officials. As at this evening when we were leaving the STF office, we received the assurance that materials will start reaching the camps latest 9.00am; otherwise, the Fulani, we threatened, will return to their homes in the prohibited area. Keeping IDPs in camps without food for this number of hours is criminal. The relief is coming from the Plateau State government. We realized that this initial delay might not be the last, should we continue to depend on the Plateau State Government for relief. A complimentary source is necessary.

For the past three days, I have been receiving offers for assistance from sympathizers outside the state. From my past experience, I told them that I would not like to handle cash directly and alone. I, therefore, sought the assistance of Saleh Bayari, the Protem National Secretary of Miyetti Allah, in forming a committee of seven trustworthy people on ground who will help in handling the assistance that will come my way. He obliged and the following seven names were listed.

Dr. Adamu Sambo (08076153997)
Musa Bayero (08034509345)
Aliyu Bello (08039245567)
Saleh Bayari (08033587281)
Aliyu U. Tilde (08137661860)
Musa Mai-Nagge (08036489783)
Muhammad Adam B/Ladi (08036536563)

This committee will sit and deliberate on the requirement of the IDPs at any given point, the purchase and distribution of items. The STF has pledged to provide adequate security for the storage and delivery of the relief material.

I have contacted some reputable personalities in Abuja – Adamu Adamu and others – to assist with handling relief materials and donations that may be easier to collect at their end. They are already putting their heads together to come up with something. If they have not concluded on it as at the time I am posting this update, details of what they work out will in sha Allah be communicated to my readers and friends tomorrow.

It is likely that tomorrow morning the STF may make an important announcement may be made, likely limiting the duration of the operation which started this morning. In any case, the need to assist the Fulani will still be there because displacement usually comes with loss of property. Some houses have been burnt last week; some lives lost, some detentions made and some cattle killed, etc. Our assistance will help in mitigating the loss and assuring them of our brotherhood.

Those who intend to send cash could please use my GTB account (Aliyu Tilde 0044453830, Bauchi Branch), or give it to the designated person nearest to them. The sender should please copy the alert of the text to Alhaji Saleh Bayari (08033587281) to register the transaction in our book. We intend to publish details of how the monies are utilized for public consumption.

The contact we made with a humanitarian agency was successful. Their material is already on the way.

I stop here. Good night.


Short Essay 36: Latest on Fulani/STF Standoff

Short Essay 36
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

The Latest on Fulani/STF Standoff

(All editing errors regretted. There isn't time to proofread the article thoroughly this late)

When it became clear that the Defence Headquarters are bent on carrying out its security operation in the areas it announced, we put our heads together to see what best we can make of the situation to ensure minimum difficulties for the Fulani that were to be affected. Saleh Bayari, the Protem National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association who was just released yesterday after a four-day detention by the SSS, was very handy. I got over to him and together with some Miyetti Allah leaders from the affected areas we visited the Special Task Force (STF) Headquarters near Hill Station Hotel, Jos, to iron out some issues regarding how the operation would affect the Fulani.

Principally, we wanted to, one, finalize on the camps to relocate them temporarily should we be successful later in the day in convincing them to the relocate for the period of the operation. The Defence has that evening given the nation the assurance that the displacement is temporary and not a design to evict the Fulani from the area totally. The three camps listed in the day are all located in areas heavily populated by Beroms. The Fulani will just not accept to go there. Also, moving the Fulani is not like moving other people. Their masters – the cows – must be taken into consideration. The cows have to graze in a secure place, away from farms. Otherwise, na another wahala kuma.

Two, we also wanted to ensure that the Fulani are secured in their camps, along with their cows. Their property back home must be secured also. Without this assurance, the possibility that the Berom attacking them and the houses they would leave behind should not be ruled out completely.

Three, we also wanted to know what arrangement was made to deliver adequate relief materials to their camps to cushion the harsh experience of displacement and avert humanitarian crisis. Speaking to one of the local government chairmen around 2.30am earlier, he confessed a colleague that this would be the first time in the history of Plateau crisis that they would be camping the Fulani. So they do not have the full picture of their humanitarian requirements, he said. In previous situations, typically, the Fulani simply left to other areas on their own without seeking any assistance from the Plateau State government they amply mistrust. Even in this case, they refused to communicate with officials until Malam Shehu Buba from Bauchi intervened.

Four, the reassurance from the STF commander that these IDPs will return to their homes immediately the short operation is completed.

In our meeting with the commander, Maj-General Henry Ayoola, he and his team assured us that all he wanted is to restore peace to the Plateau. It really took them a good deal of explanations to convince most of us that they are not playing the game of Jang, the Berom state governor.

The secret of the matter, they told confided in us, is that they do not believe that the people they encountered in the mother of all battles last Tuesday in the area after a policeman was killed were Fulani. Our Fulani, they said, do not have that firepower. Boko Haram, they strongly suspect, could be behind this. So they want to go into the places those people are using as hideouts to flush them out, within a period of one day or – maximum – two. “If I can do that without firing a single shot,” Ayoola assured us, “I would be very glad.”

Though many of us are not privy to the intelligence information that is available to the commandant, there is the general belief amongst us that the exercise is unnecessary if its aim is just to flush out the perceived outside attackers. They must have left already because tomorrow it would be two weeks and so much information on the intention of government has been made public. If the security challenges of the country are anything to go by, the attackers must have thought ahead of government and left since.

Honestly, being at the middle of a situation like this is extremely difficult for us. Maj-General Ayoola himself is just recently posted to head the STF in Jos. He is a young man in his forties, I believe, except if he is looking younger that his age. He may not be in the full picture of any hidden machination that may be employing the STF to dislodge the Fulani, now or in the long run, from the place after the Berom have failed to do so for over a decade. The level of deceit played in the crisis on the Plateau is really unprecedented in this country. Everybody that attempted to bring peace to the state will tell you the same story. I will be glad if Ayoola will prove me wrong.

This is a suspicion shared not only among the Fulani but also among many international organizations that have been discussing the matter since the evacuation order was given. Leaders of this country have proved to be pathological liars who cling to power through deceit, preoccupy themselves with looting the treasury and leave the country to run on autopilot. This is the result. The world has been watching them all along. The UN is particularly serious about this operation. Only God knows how many emails were flying last night between New York and Geneva on this matter, an official of a UN body told me. Ayoola and Defence Headquarters must therefore know the gamble they are making. If in the end of the operation or even in the long run it is proved that the operation was done to place the Fulani at a demographic disadvantage in the area or make them vulnerable to attacks by the Berom, heads will definitely roll at the Hague in addition to the internal crisis it will generate. Then as I said in my previous article we will be faced by a crisis worse than Boko Haram.

Despite our misgivings, we decided to be on the side of hope, based on the assurances the STF gave us and left the rest to God, the Able that knows what the hearts conceal and what they reveal. Four vehicles were arranged to convey us to the place to prove to the STF that there were still thousands of people in the vicinity of Mahanga. This was necessary because Ayoola and Col. Abdulmumin Jimoh, one of the field commanders, were emphatic that not up to 10% of the population remained there. Ayoola said he was in all the places yesterday and he did not see people. Those of us from the area refuted the claim out rightly and told him that thousands of people were still there. Of course, he was right that the Berom since a week ago have fled from most of the villages in the area into the neigbouring Kaduna State and other towns.

It turned out that our going to Mahanga, the epicenter of the faceoff between the STF and the Fulani, averted what would have been a major humanitarian catastrophe. If we had left Ayoola with his belief that people have already left the place, his soldiers would have killed thousands of Nigerians there after the start of their operation, when they would declare anybody seen in the place a potential target of elimination. In just less than five minutes of our arrival, we were able to prove our point. Families started trooping onto the high ground we stood on from all directions. The Deputy Commander of the STF, DSP Umar Magiri, immediately became convinced that people have not left. He informed the commandant instantly. The task of convincing them to evacuate then started. I leave you to imagine how difficult it was to disabuse their minds and reassure them that no ill was intended, more so when the Berom did not help matters. The Fulani complained that the Berom were beating drums of victory throughout the previous night in the neighbouring villages, jubilating that the Fulani will finally be evicted from the area. See?

We overcame these difficulties. In the end, we got their leaders to agree on the evacuation and allowed them to choose the locations of their camps, separate from those of Berom which, in any case, were too far. They chose the nomadic primary schools at Dogo and Sharuk in Barikin Ladi LGA and those at Diyan and Rim in Riyom LGA. These are places on the rim of the Mahanga Basin from where the Fulani can see the happenings in their dwellings that are dispersed in the undulating valley of Luggere below.(One of the locations, Rim (Makaho) was where my maternal grandfather, Ardo Shehu, once lived for many decades. It was there my mother raared cows as a small girl in the early 1930s. I used to visit him with my uncle Bello in the mid-1970s before the Ardo agreed to relocate back to Toro around 1980 where he died five years later. Huh! The old man was really hot-tempered. Kai Kai!)

Then the commander promised that no further molestation and plundering of their property by soldiers would take place. We later returned to the crowd for the address by the DC.

The DC’s speech composed of the following six points:

(1) The reason behind the operation and the assurance that it will hardly be for more than a day or two.
(2) The assurance that everybody will be allowed to return to his house immediately after the operation.
(3) That the STF personnel will immediately arrive to provide security to Fulani properties.
(4) That nobody should run away when faced by a soldier. He should stop and surrender instead for his safety.
(5) That the operation is in no way aimed at driving them away from the area.
(6) The announcement of the locations of the camps as agreed by their leaders.

We have him on videotape, not for Youtube, but just in case.

Movement was to begin immediately. It was already 4pm. The operation could start any time after the deadline of 12pm later in the night. Contacts were immediately made with officials of State Emergency Relief Agency (SEMA), which were in the waiting already. The locations of the four camps were immediately passed to them. They promised to start delivering relief materials right away.

We returned to the STF headquarters in Jos around 5.30pm. We told the command that leaders of the Miyetti Allah will be monitoring the camps during the period of the operation until the IDPs return to their homes safely as promised.

Before I close this update, I would like to express our gratitude to the individuals and various local and international bodies that showed serious concern over this issue. They have understood that this is a matter that borders on gross war crimes and violations of the Kampala convention. For the first time, the nation was united against government arbitrariness to the weak. It is left to the government to fulfill its commitments to the people it is displacing intentionally. If in the end it proves to be a deceitful, then its officials will have themselves to blame. Nobody – from the field commanders to the President – will claim ignorance because they have been adequately reminded by local and international organizations about their obligations under the international conventions that it ratified. It got away with the massacre of Muhammad Yusuf and his group. It will not get away with this.
Our lawyers are already placed on notice. Combined with a catalogue of previous evidence of genocide on the Plateau, a convincing case will not be far-fetched at the Hague.

We are humbled by the gross support the Fulani received from their brethren including many dignitaries across the country and the thousands of youths in the social media. The solidarity expressed for the Fulani cause by the entire Hausa community in Jos town is unprecedented. The township was empty. Though the city calm and banks and offices have opened, virtually all shops were closed. We appeal to people to remain calm as we update them daily with the happenings on the matter. The entire Fulani community in the country remains indebted for the high level of support they received.

Finally, the cooperation of the STF team is hereby acknowledged and highly appreciated. We hope they live to their promises. We will commend them if they live to their promises and behave professionally. If they do not, apart from inviting our condemnation, they will definitely have themselves to blame.

16 July 2012

Previous articles on the matter:

1. The Fulani Will Not Leave

2. The Fulani and the Genocide Dream of Jang

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Short Essay 35: The Fulani Will Not Leave

Short Essay 35
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

The Fulani Will Not Leave

The stage is set for committing a major war crime in Nigeria. The Special Task Force (STF) in Jos under the command of Maj-General Henry Ayoola yesterday issued an order of evacuation within 48 hrs to a number of Fulani dominated towns in Barikin Ladi and Riyom Local Government Areas for a military operation that will commence there, otherwise, their lives cannot be guaranteed. The STF statement read:


1. This is to inform the people residing in Barikin Ladi and Riyom Local Government Areas that a military operation is ongoing in the area. The inhabitants of Mahanga, Kakuruk, Kuzen, Maseh and Shong 2 are to evacuate immediately with their property within the next 48hrs.
2. Meanwhile, residents of Kura Falls, Kuzuk and Sharuk Rim of Gashish and Bachit districts respectively are enjoined not to panic and to be careful of their movement within the area and avoid places of military operation until further notice. People are enjoined to report any suspicious movement and activities in their areas.

3.You are please requested to use your medium to disseminate this information to the general pubic. It is to be announced routinely throughout the period of the operation in order to avoid any hazard to human lives and property.

Salisu Mustapha (Captain)
Media Information Officer

The allusions I made in my last Friday article are becoming real: the STF is playing the bid of the Plateau State Government to cleanse Berom-dominated local government areas of Jos-South, Barikin Ladi and Riyom of Fulani, as they did with the Hausa. The allegation that Ayoola is a puppet of Governor Jang now seems more probable than ever before. But that is not the catch.

The catch is this: The Fulani have vowed not to move an inch from their homes. Those I contacted have told me that they have sworn to stay put, come what may. Their argument is simple: There has never been in the history of any democracy, no matter how lousy it is, that people in so many towns would be driven out of their homes without any order from a court of competent jurisdiction or any arrangement made for their relocation but by just an order in the name of military operation, as if they are boarding students that are sent home when their school is shut down after a riot. You cannot do that to whole families, much less to whole towns. It is a war crime under International law.

Therefore, pertinent questions to ask on this matter are: Where do the Fulani go? What alternative have you given them? Are the Fulani – with their entire family, property and cows – just a collection of sheep that can be driven away at will in accordance with the whim of someone, devoid of any right? Why would a government that claims it is desirous of peace side with one of the two warring factions and fight the other? What has happened to Berom militia that have been committing war crimes against Hausa and the Fulani in the area for eleven years now? Has the Nigerian government arrested them or destroyed any of their homes? Has it issued an evacuation order for the residents of Haipang and Riyom that continuously kill defenceless Nigerian citizens travelling on the highways that pass through their towns? Why only the Fulani? Why?

The military is increasingly proving itself incompetent in handling matters of internal security in this country. It has emasculated the police that is the only institution with the constitutional mandate to do so and taken over its role. Since the late 1970s, the military has opposed modernization of the police through upgrading it with modern technology and new approaches of keeping internal security. The police today remain sidelined in the scheme of internal security. Everybody calling the shots in this domain of theirs is a soldier, who is trained best to defend our borders and contribute to UN peacekeeping missions. Major-Henry Ayoola and his colonels field commanders that are set to massacre Nigerians should be sent to Mali to face al-Qaeda to prove that they deserve their ranks.

Also, Ayoola in his short tenure as the STF commandant has shown sufficient partiality to warrant his redeployment. Fulani on the Plateau are bonafide Nigerians, not its enemies that deserve the bullets and tanks of the Nigerian military establishment. Ayoola must go.

It is gladdening to note that it is not totally dark. A number of human rights groups have risen in solidarity with these poor souls. A number of media houses, particularly the foreign ones, have also in the past 12 hours played their role of informing the world of the pending massacre. Their cameras are set on the scene.

The Sultan – who is the leader of the Fulani in Nigeria – and other elders have also waded in. The result of their intervention before the ultimate authorities in the land is expected to be positive. He should be allowed to remain a leader, and not to metamorphose into their commander.

The irony here is that the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, is a not only a Fulani but, like the Sultan, a direct descendant of Danfodio, the quintessential Danfodio that fought for justice and got it in 19th Century Hausaland. How could these injustices be perpetrated just two weeks after he visited Jos and assured the world that he will do his possible best to bring peace? Is driving the Fulani from their homes a means of bringing about peace? He should rise to this threat which, as I said, will prove to be worse than that of Boko Haram. If he is away, he should return to the country. His office is on fire.

But just in case Ayoola and his troops are recalcitrant and they go ahead with their intended war crime against all appeals, they should prepare their hands for the ultimate responsibility of any civilian life lost in their so-called ‘operation’. If the Nigerian authorities would continue to remain partial and indifferent on the matter until the massacre is committed, the International Criminal Court is there, watching and waiting. One day, Ayoola, Jang, the Chief of Defence Staff and Jonathan – who is away and apparently was not even consulted on the eviction exercise – will only have themselves to blame.

I support the decision that the Fulani stay put and prefer to die gallantly than to flee in the face of an army that cannot even contain the insurgency of Boko Haram. I support it 100%. To die by the sword in defence of your right is better than to live in humiliation of subservience to any mortal. This is a doctrine written in their genes. I have no doubt that they will prove me right.

Allah ballu ummatore Fulbe!

15 July 2012

Last Article:

The Fulani and the Genocide Dream of Jang

Friday, July 13, 2012

Discourse 348: The Fulani and the Genocide Dream of Jang

Discourse 348
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

The Fulani and the Genocide Dream of Jang

The death of a Senator and a member of the Plateau State House of Assembly has once more drawn the attention of the country to the unending crisis on the Plateau, not because there was cessation in the conflict before their deaths but because the crisis has started to take a new dimension altogether. The list of victims has, for the first time in the history of ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria, started to include the elite, and the politicians especially.

While the sad development seems to worry everyone and there are renewed calls for peace from many quarters, reports indicate that the Joint Task Force (JTF), whose actions was responsible for the escalation of the crisis recently, is busy destroying Fulani settlements in Barikin Ladi amd Riyom Local Government Areas, adding fuel to fire. Luggere, a Fulani stronghold, was destroyed yesterday and its inhabitants forcefully dispersed.

"This morning", the Secretary of Miyetti Allah in Barikin Ladi Local Government, Malam Mohammed Adam told the Daily Trust yesterday, "soldiers came and started burning Fulani settlements. As I speak to you now, they are busy burning all Fulani settlements in Shong II, Wuro Bello, Gure Danegu, Dyola, Rakweng, Sharu, Kuzeng, Luggel, Rachi, Matse and Afan. They are backed up with helicopters and tanks."

Once more, in the quest for peace, the Nigerian authorities are repeating the mistake they committed with Boko Haram in 2009. They have not quenched that fire since. Yet, they are starting a bigger one.

The Background

A proper understanding of the conflict must be located within the framework of the genocidal agenda of the Berom. They have vowed to cleanse the areas they dominate of the Hausa and the Fulani. Today, except in their strongholds like Sabongidan Danyaya, Barikin Ladi town, and few other tin settlements like Dorawar Babuje, all the Hausa villages in Berom-dominated areas have been wiped out. The countryside has been cleansed of nearly forty such settlements.

The flight of the Hausa and sedentary Fulani was not prompted by cowardice, I believe, but by the luxury of the alternative they have. They could migrate into the comfort of other Hausa communities in other towns in the state or neighbouring ones to continue with their farming and petty trading. Of course, their flight comes with a lot of loss of capital and property. Nevertheless, they should be grateful to nature for endowing them with that option, which it has denied the cattle Fulani. This fact is at the core of the ongoing conflict.

It was not that the Berom spared the Fula naturalis in cognizance of the longstanding association between the two groups. Not at all. Many attacks have been moffered by Berom militia but, this time, unlike in the case with the Hausa, the Fulani in all their major settlements in Beromland have so far been repelling such attacks successfully with equal, if not superior, force. It is this balance of terror that has enabled the Fulani to stay put there, while the fuel of genocide continues to burn in the heart of the Berom emperor, His Excellency, Governor David Jonah Jang. The Fulani has to do this because nature has not offered him a better choice as it did to others.

Nature has consigned the Fulani to his cattle and in Africa the cattle has consigned him to the bush. He has no option except to live in the countryside where his master – the cattle – would flourish. In the gospel of his survival, he must cherish the grass and fight to the last drop of his blood for his natural master to graze uncultivated forests and grassland. Since his appearance in West Africa a millennium ago, he has obediently followed his cattle to wherever they led him. There is hardly any country in West, Central and, now, East Africa where he has not set his foot on and he continues to press southward, following the African Drainage Basin, until one day his herd drinks from the Orange River in South Africa.

The conflict with the Berom has endured precisely because it is among the very few cases where attempts were made in history to expel the Fulani completely from a place. Nowhere has this strategy ever succeeded in the history of West Africa since it started in the period of Sonni Ali, one of the kings of the ancient Songhai Empire. Conflict with the Fulani could be prolonged and they may even sustain heavy casualties and disappear for a while; but soon their cattle would guide them back, one way or the other, to settle on the once hostile land. Only the tsetse fly has succeeded in barring the them from some territories, before. Today, even that threat is gone, with deforestation and the availability of effective drugs against bovine blood parasites. Their cows are today successfully grazing in the Niger Delta, on the Atlantic coast.

This understanding is important in the scheme of any dream, conflict or peace that involves the Fulani. His natural burden to cater for the cow must be recognized. This has led him to the innate belief that his cattle have a universal right to natural grass wherever it may be, just as the Americans believe in mankind’s universal rights to natural resources. Beromland cannot be an exception. All the Fulani asks for is grass, water and respect for his life and property. Nothing more. He is not interested in competing with the Berom in politics, education or trade. Almost all African tribes he visited so far have granted him those rights and that of passage through their territory to wherever his masters would take him.

If only the Berom, as many other tribes did, would appreciate the burden that his Fulani brother carris and allow him to graze the uncultivated fields without harassment or attempt to evict him, peace with the Fulani would be as easy as breathing air.

Is this a special demand that the Fulani are obliged to beg for? No. The Fulani are Nigerians as much as any other group. Every tribe in Nigeria traces its origin somewhere outside the country and from where, according to its elders, it immigrated. The Berom, for example, trace their origins to Niger Republic! Admittedly, the Fulani are the most recent arrivals, starting just some 500 years ago, but that does not make them less bonafide citizens of Nigeria. He is a native of Nigeria. By official connotation, a native is any non-European living in the country at the time of British conquest. The Fulani is entitled to constitutional rights like any other Nigerian. He may be living alone in the bush, with his nuclear family and herd of cows. He may be illiterate with no knowledge of the constitution or common law. He may be weak, without a political body supporting him or protecting his rights. But Nigerian he remains, undeniably.

Over the past 400 years, the Fulani herdsmen have lived on the Plateau peacefully with all other native groups without any major conflict. They have contributed to its rural economy, including jobs for families whose members they employ to attend to their cows. They have raised many children of other tribes and benefitted them in various ways. A story that Governor Jang is never tired of telling people is how he was raised by a Fulani family and sponsored his early education. Now he is paying them back with deaths and destruction! His majesty, the Gbong Gwom of Jos, Mr. Gyang Buba, ascribes his Fulani surname to a Fulani neighbour his family once lived with. And so on. The two examples speak volumoft about the peaceful coexistence that has developed over the centuries between the Fulani and other tribes on the Bauchi Plateau - as it is properly called in geography.


The Fulani believe that the recent escalation in the crisis is caused by a new Berom strategy. Knowing very well from previous major encounters that his people are no match to the Fulani even with the resources of government at his disposal (he once offered to buy their men braziers when thousands of them fled their towns after their defeat in one of those encounters last year) and neither can he convince the federal government to withdraw the soldiers from the streets, Jang has now resorted to using the JTF under its new Commander to fight his proxy war against the Fulani. If one commander could decline the offer, he can be replaced by another whoEqui would take it.

And of taking it many people are accusing the new JTF commander, Major-General Henry Ayoola. Thus, under him, the death of a promiscuous, heavy drinking mobile policeman under the JTF and the loss of his rifle at Karaku were instantly, without any investigation, hanged on the neck of all the Fulani and troops went on mass destruction of their homes and cows in Bangwai and dozens of their villages in Barikin Ladi local governments. Yet, when the Fulani complained of the destruction, the JTF publicly denied knowledge of such attacks. And it continues to claim ignorance on what is now common knowledge.

Are we witnessing a repeat of Maiduguri here? Every rational Nigerian will agree that the strategy of using crass force to settle civilian issues does not work. This was the mistake that the Nigerian authorities made in the case of Boko Haram and for which the country is paying dearly today. When compared to the international brotherhood of the Fulani, Boko Haram could just be a drop in the ocean.

Government is punishing the victims of the Berom genocide agenda. Why is the conflict in Plateau State now reduced to Berom territory only? Are they the only tribe among whom the Fulani live in the state? Why would, in the quest for peace, must the homes of innocent citizens be destroyed? Why is the JTF denying them the return to their ruined homes? How can the death of a policeman and the loss of his rifle justify these human rights abuses? Let us not forget that the conflict with Boko Haram started by the shooting of their members at a funeral procession who did not wear a motorcycle helmet. Is riding a motorcycle without a helmet enough a justification to kill many Nigerian citizens?

If the JTF had taken it's time investigate the killer of the promiscuous policman, the crisis would not have escalated in the first place. The lives of the Senator and many others would have been saved. But many people believe that it is an agenda.

The Agenda

There is a general understanding amongst the residents of the State that only the state governor has the key to its peace. That key doe not have a duplicate. Unfortunately, as General Jeremiah Husaini (rtd), one of the elders in the state, said this morning over the BBC, the governor is not disposed to the peaceful resolution of the crisis. He impervious to advice, said the retired general.

One may dismiss Husaini as a persistent Tarok opponent of governor Jang. He is not, at least on this case. Though the crisis started before his tenure, by 2007 when Jang was sworn in as the governor, most of the ethno-religious conflicts in the state have ceased. Dariye’s dream of cleansing the Plateau of Hausa-Fulani had clearly proved unattainable and abandoned especially after he was rustled by Obasanjo and the EFCC. People of various ethnic groups were moving about freely in the state without any hindrance. Business returned. Some who fled had even started returning. However, Jang renewed the genocidal dream by committing himself to three Berom-centred goals: developing his Berom homeland, cleansing it of the much bigoted Hausa-Fulani, and vesting all political power in Jos and its environs in his tribesmen. This is why the entire state is quiet, except Beromland.

Jang has largely succeeded on all the three objectives. At the expense of human lives, he has made other groups inconsequential in the scheme of things in Jos and its environs. That was his strategy behind conducting the local government election of 2008 against all security advice. He has also built a good road network in his entire Beromland, to the envy of other ethnic groups in the state. The roads leading even to remotest Berom villages are either completed and asphalt rendered or about to be completed. He has, as we noted earlier, also succeeded in expelling most Hausas and many sedentary Fulani from most of the tin mining settlements in Beromland. The only people he is yet to beat are the cattle Fulani.

Expelling the Fulani from Beromland is a record that Jang would like to achieve but from what is going on, the Fulani have vowed never to allow him win that gold medal. So long as grass will continue to grow there, so long as the land and property the Fulani legitimately acquired remain there, so long as their lives and property are vandalized without the protection from government, these African gypsies, from all indications, will continue to fight for their dear lives and those of their masters. Their basic constitutional rights are the minimum that I know they, like any other group of Nigerians, will never compromise on.

The Road to Peace

The road to peace therefore is one: the constitution as I have always argued. Let the dream of cleansing Beromland of Fulani end in the heart of Jang and he will find the Fulani instantly willing to embrace peace. This has happened in other parts of the state. As the governor, Jang has vowed to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians under his domain. He must keep that promise. Only then will Berom and Fulani live in peace. Otherwise, this crisis will last for generations to come.

As a side note, the JTF under its new commander must not be partial on this matter. If it cannot protect the Fulani, it must not join forces with Jang to eliminate them and their property. Attempting to do so will definitely lead to loss of more lives of Berom and their supporters. The Fulani cannot be eliminated. They have never been.

Let me assure all concerned that in spite of the ongoing brutality the Fulani will survive this crisis. So far they have survived the hostilities of ancient Mali, Songhai, Gobir, and Borno empires. Some of those empires they crippled, some they stamped out completely in spite of their small number, and with the rest they were able to live peacefully until the present time. In all those instances, they were equipped with nothing but three things that nobody can deny them: the valour of the nomad, two, the strength that they derive from their unmatched group feeling – or ‘asabiyya as Ibn Khaldun would call it and, three, the strong thirst for justice. That group feeling has been responsible for the defeat of most sedentary dynasties in the past. It is also the key to the survival of the nomads today. As for their thirst for justice, they are never satisfied until it is served in full measure their aggressors, either by the authorities or by them.

The power of Jang cannot match that of Ahmad Sekou Toure, the longest serving Mallinke President of Guinea who revived the hate of his ancestor, Sonni Ali. Toure assassinated and murdered in cold blood over thirty thousands Fulani intellectuals, leaders and tribesmen during his 26-year tenure. But they survived him, using their estrangement to work harder until they gained control of over 80% of the Guinean economy today. Jang, in spite of the support he is able to buy, is not more than a child trying to break a coconut with his teeth. Ridding Beromland of Fulani can only be temporary and certainly makes it more vulnerable to attacks by their brothers from other parts of West Africa. Take this to the bank.

As a minority in the area and on the disadvantaged side in the conflict, the Fulani were not successful in initiating peace with the Berom in the past. All their attempts were rebuffed. It is the move of the more preponderant and government-backed Berom that would be successful, given their monopoly over land and state resources. But the Berom, even if they want peace, are under the spell of their emperor, Jang. He controls their paramount chief and their youths. He has a choice between peace and violence.

The choice of violence, on the one hand, is not a wise one because violence is a two-way commodity: Pain on this side, and pain on the other. With the egalitarian Fulani, you get just as much pain as you give him. The road to peace, on the other, is quiet and its results are three-dimensional: In this case, peace to the Berom, peace to the Fulani and peace to other Nigerians living on the Plateau.

With the support he enjoys from the press, his ethnic group, law enforcement agents, Plateau courts and the state treasury, Jang may foolishly choose to remain recalcitrant and prefer violence to peace. We pray that he one day sees the light, become wiser and listen to elders of the State such that the lives of to meddle into Plateau affairs.

Lastly, may peace be upon the leader who brings peace to his people. And already blessed are the people who seek justice, no matter the odds, without surrendering.

12 July 2012

Important Update:

As at yesterday (13 July 2012) evening, things have calmed down after the JTF has destroyed Fulani homes in Riyom and Barikin Ladi local government areas. They did not kill any Fulani though. The Fulani, it is reported, got a wind of the invasion. Even last week when they used helicopters and when fires were exchanged, most of the JTF fire unfortunately fell on the favoured Beroms. I learnt from three independent sources that in the fights last week, the Fulani sustained only one death and two injuries.

You can see my point now. Jang can never be sure who will suffer most when he attempts to unleash violence on innocent people. I was speaking yesterday in Jos to someone a Jarawa from Yelwa who lost a brother when Berom youths killed 26 passengers at Haipang railway crossing last Sunday. Among the victims, he said only about six could be said to be Muslims. The rest from their looks were of different ethnicities now known to include some Tarok from lower Plateau. The youths were then just killing any Nigerian traveling on the highway. They have done this repeatedly since 2010. Nobody is arrested.

Whatever it is, one, violence is not the answer, but peace. Two, the gene of the Fulani cannot be eliminated on the Plateau. A clan of the Berom, according to Berom historians, originated from a Fulani ancestor. The Fulani have therefore already done the damage: their DNA is permanently stamped on the Plateau. And they will continue to share it with other Africans wherever they go.

LATEST (14 July 2012)

A quit notice was served the inhabitants of many Fulani settlements in Barikin Ladi and Riyom Local Government Areas this morning, signed by the Media Information officer. The text of the notice: 

(1) This is to inform the people residing in Barikin Ladi and Riyom Local Government Areas that a military operation is ongoing. The inhabitants of Mahanga, Kakuruk, Kuzen, Maseh and Shong 2 are to evacuate immediately with their property within the next 48hrs.

(2) Meanwhile, residents of Kura Falls, Kuzuk and Sharuk Rim of Gashish and Bachit districts respectively are enjoined not to panic and to be careful of their movement within the area and avoid places of military operation until further notice. People are enjoined to report any suspicious movement and activities in their areas.

(3) You are please requested to use your medium to disseminate this information to the general public. It is to be announced routinely throughout the period of the operation in order to avoid any hazard to human lives and property. Salisu Mustapha (Captain), Media and Information Officer (RESTRICTED).

Readers are left to judge for themselves.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Discourse 347: Regulating Preaching in Nigeria

Discourse 347
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

Regulating Preaching in Nigeria

I am a strong advocate of regulating preaching in Nigeria. This is a responsibility which successive governments since independence have failed to take seriously. At the best instances, laws at state level were made but hardly was there any time when any serious attempt was made to enforce them. Some ulama and priests were thus left for over five decades to preach the gospel of hate and disunity mainly in pursuit of fame, money and power with adverse consequences to the peace and stability of the country. The fruits of that laxity are indisputably here for all to see, feel and regret over.

So the decision arrived at during the Senate retreat at Uyo last week that the National Assembly will pass a law to ensure that men of religion operate within the ambit of the law without abusing the rights of other citizens or their dignity is a good start. The law itself will not be enough though. The real battle will start when attempt is made to enforce it. Then, Nigerians must come out in support of the government. Unless we do so, we will live to witness more insurgencies and unrest in future.

Some of our learned men of religion have failed to honour the covenant of God. They have failed to call people to Him “with wisdom and kind words.” Their reckless diction has therefore repelled thousands and attracted none. They have not preached the love for humanity, the sanctity of life, or the inviolability of human dignity. Unable to win over new converts, they turn to their followers and gain popularity among them by inciting them against others of the same or of different religion. The followers, in turn, easily buy in to their manipulation, given their low level of exposure, unemployment, poverty and shallowness.

It is shameful to see how such preachers paint the bad portrait of God as if, subhanallah, He were a monster that lives on blood; that rewards the murder of the beings He created; that He is a sadist that enjoys to see mankind in perpetual condition of hate, distrust and suffering, with women widowed and children orphaned; that those preaching the gospel of hate or murder the innocent in His name have a place in His Kingdom, His Paradise. This is a blatant misrepresentation of every attribute of God. Such preachers are lost and more lost are the sheep who follow them or take their words seriously. Such preachers are few in the society, though the most vocal, admittedly. Humanity today does not need them.

Mankind needs only those who understand that Paradise is reserved for the kind, who understand that the entire mankind is from Adam, who guide people to ease instead of suffering, who recognize and observe the sanctity of human blood, labour and property, who honour the dignity of others, who respect their neighbours and fulfil their obligations towards them regardless of whether the neighbours belong to their religion or not, so long as they share the same space and time of community, state or nation. These are the men of religion we need today.

The effort of government to sanitize the religion sector must not start with a legislation and end with the conviction of some preachers. First, government needs to re-examine its policies on broadcasting in the formal sector as a whole. It is saddening to see how radio and television stations – including government broadcasting corporations – are used as platforms for religious propaganda in the name of sourcing revenue. Very few, if any, stations edit what preachers say, clearly insensitive to the effect it will have on public peace and order.

To worsen matters, the allegiance of many civil servants working in such stations for the ulama and priests, and for their sects and churches, is stronger than their commitment to the peace of the motherland they will leave behind for their children to inherit. In most states of Northern Nigeria, for example, all the broadcasting stations are government-owned. So if governments will give the necessary directives to check this imprudence, it will go a long way to curb the menace on our airwaves in this part of the country where the problem is endemic. The Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation should rise to its responsibility on this matter. After two or three unpatriotic MDs of such stations are dismissed, the rest will sit up and discharge their responsibilities professionally.

Beyond the radio and television are many modern means of communication. In places of worship, the use of public address systems in broadcasting has caused a lot of havoc to our public peace. Preachers are not contented with addressing their audience in the premises of their place of worship. No. The whole world must listen to them, willy-nilly. This violates our privacy especially when it takes place during odd hours. These practices have been widely condemned by renowned scholars of the past. An easy reference here is Fiqhus Sunnah of Sayid Sabiq and Al-Madkhal of Ibnul Hajj. I have not yet heard any scholar that has come forward to justify these violations.

I wonder why people sleeping in the early hours of the morning should be disturbed with a preaching recorded in a different place and circumstance from where it is played now. Whether you belong to its faith or not, you are compelled to listen to a voice of a person that is clearly half-educated, uncouth, and knows nothing about the dynamics of modern society. This is too dangerous to be left unchecked in any society. Religion, as I have argued repeatedly in the past, is turned into a nuisance by such practices.

Our markets have also become venues for broadcasting all sorts of sermons. Traders using motorcycles, cars, and wheelbarrows broadcast religious materials from public address systems to attract customers. Subhanallah! It is not uncommon to hear the preacher on the tape commenting on one religious crisis or another, of which he has little knowledge about and whose fire has long died out. This re-inflames the heart and infects it with hate and distrust.

To further compound matters for any regulator, preaching now has gone digital. I have many times heard disgusting preaching played by labourers on construction sites on their handsets. I have received many hate sms texts on my phone. I have also read many hate comments in religious websites, in addition to the preponderant hate speech against northerners that has become the hallmark of some popular websites and discussion groups. As at 2010, the government had not the requisite forensic digital laboratory to monitor the activities of various Nigerian websites. I do not know if it is in place now.

And nobody should think that he is serving his religion by turning it into a nuisance, not even by making its teachings ordinary and ubiquitous. The Holy Prophet, as reported in a hadith, spoke on religion to his companions only sparingly in order to prevent them from getting bored with it. The more you hear something, the less valuable it becomes. Nigerians were more attentive when they hear the Word of God sixty years ago precisely because preaching and religious materials then were less ubiquitous. Their hearts used to tremble when the punishment of a sin is mentioned. They knew little, but practiced much. Their faith per capita was great. The depth of their faith was reflected in the prudent lifestyle of the nation.

Not anymore. With religious texts and preaching becoming as common as air and with the commercialization of religion, our devotion depreciated as our per capita knowledge of the scriptures appreciated. God has become too familiar to command any restraint in us. His words are no longer sacred. We make them the ring tones for our cellular phones and the alibi for our atrocities against our fellow countrymen. We become a nation of religion without faith. We know much, but practice little. We represent the contradiction of being the most religious, but one of the most corrupt nations on the planet.

There is the need for government to reinvent its strategies on our internal security. For example, it must devise means of checking the indoctrination that has been going on for decades in our secondary schools and institutions of higher learning. Students invite preachers of all kinds without the knowledge of the school authorities. Instead of these centres of learning to foster unity among our diverse people, they have become brothels where our children are infected with the virus of hate and intolerance.

One wonders how our security agencies became nonchalant over such gross violations of our laws and subversion of our internal security. Government needs to be proactive on these matters rather than leave things to degenerate into crisis of regrettable proportions. There is the need for security agents to become vigilant in our places of worship, broadcasting stations – public or private, markets, schools and institutions of higher learning, the Internet, etc. Once someone is caught spreading material that contravenes the law or spreading hate speech, he should be arrested and prosecuted in the appropriate court of law. If it is a group, its leadership must be made to face the full wrath of the law.

The law must thus be drafted to cover a number of subjects and a wide range of circumstances. It should also empower individual citizens who are victims of such violations with the locus standi to charge their violators before a court of competent jurisdiction, where the law enforcement agents fail. To prove their case will not be difficult with the preponderance of voice recording devices today.

Let me assure government that the majority of Nigerians will be happy to see such a law passed and enforced. I may not also be wrong if I say that nothing will happen if government sends to jail any preacher that contravenes such a law, regardless of his position among his followers. Neither would heavens fall on us, nor would hell be let loose. We the silent majority have been suffering abuses in the hands of few of individuals that have hijacked religion and use it for their selfish purposes.

As I was writing this article came to me the shocking news that some preachers now even charge "performance fees" before they preach at, say, any wedding ceremony. La haula wala quwwata illa billah! Such preachers are daily on the move in their effort to harvest the maximum income from their customer-followers. Their currency is an inflammatory empty rhetoric that appeals to sentiments of youths. Wallahi, this is a bid’ah – bad innovation – hitherto unnknown in this part of the world. Such commercial preachers are few now, but their number is on the rise. The nation must be saved from their evil. It is they who need salvation, not us.

Finally, I am not unaware of the weakness in government that made previous attempts at regulating preaching fail. I think government can cash on the fact that the circumstance now is different. We have now seen enough darkness: the unrests, the murders, the bombs, the extra-judicial killings, the curfews, and so on. Let there be light, please. We will rise to support government in any measure it takes to ensure that the country does not continue on the path to anarchy. That is if its officials do not continue to be too preoccupied with their mania for looting our treasury. That has always been the anaesthesia that prevents them from making any sacrifice for our common good.

7 July 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Kano Interview Series (12 articles)

The Kano Interview Series
(A collection of 12 interviews)
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

As I promised my readers earlier, I hereby present them with a valuable collection of some 12 interviews I carried out on the one year spent by the present government in Kano State. Though not exhaustive, they nevertheless cover various sectors. I wouldn't comment on any of them, leaving my readers to make their independent judgements.

I will only add an interesting note. The collection contains what the former governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, said about the performance of his successor. This is to ensure a balance in the collection by listening to the opposition too. Fortunately, his interview is followed in the series by that of the present governor, who touched on the points emphasized by his predecessor.

The link to the each interview is placed underneath its heading below:













3 July 2012

Kano Interview Series (11) Shekarau on Kwankwaso

Kano Interview Series (11)
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

Shekarau on Kwankwaso

In order to balance whatever I observed regarding the performance of Engineer Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, I tried to reach out to the opposition. Having failed to get the chairman of the largest opposition party in the state and the chief press secretary to the immediate former governor, I felt would be more open in the assessing the present administration, I went for former governor himself. I was able to get about an hour of his time. Initially he said he would not like to say much about the present government, but as we went on, as you would read, he could not resist the temptation to publicly disagree with some policies of the present administration. Though he touched a number of issues like security, Hisbah, non-continuity of policies and projects, he laid heavy emphasis on his objection to the labeling of public projects with “kwankwasiya” emblem of the present administration.

It was a pity that this interview came before that with the incumbent governor. If it hadn’t, perhaps, I would have given the defence of the incumbent on some of the charges as Shekarau was raising them. Nevertheless, the link to the full interview with Kwankwaso is provided at the bottom of this one to enable the reader to hear his own side of the story.

I asked him how his party lost the last gubernatorial elections and he was honest enough to say that apart from the malpractice that he alleged, there was also negligence on the part of his supporters and agents, including the non-manning of some polling booths, before he finally gave the whole thing a spiritual interpretation. This is how the forty minutes interview with Shekarau took place in his house in the afternoon 9 June 2012 in his house.

Me: Sir you are welcome. To start with, how is life with you after Government House?

Shekarau: Well, Alhamdulillah. It is indeed very interesting for me to experience yet another new lease of life so to say. It’s just like when I retired from service after having served for about 26 years. I was used to going to the office every day in the morning until the evenings. The same thing when I joined the full circle of the civil service as a permanent secretary. There were no weekends and so on. So when I suddenly voluntarily retired from service and ventured into political activities before I got used to the environment of politics, there was a sudden change of life. I was finding myself very idle. There were no intellectual challenges. The need to dress up early in the morning and go to work was not there. So I had to make adjustment.

Now in the same vein, after having served for eight years as the governor with all the challenges, then suddenly I finished up. For the first few days I was trying to adjust when I work up the following morning and say prayers and doing the usual early morning chose, instead of jumping into the bathroom and getting ready for work, I founding myself jumping to bed and taking additional sleep. When I woke up by 10 or 11, I was laughing at myself, how free I was at that time. There was nobody waiting for me, no new things to do in terms of challenges or thinking what next or what instructions to give and so on. So I found the first challenge to adjust from being too occupied to suddenly being totally relieved.

Two weeks after, without even creating anything, I found myself busy again. People were coming to me for courtesy calls, seeking for ideas, inviting me to make some scholarly presentations. I have made some presentations at Universities of Ife and Lagos, making me do more reading and more writing. More than that is the challenge that people believe we still have more to offer politically and socially. That is why when people visit me they find the place a little bit busy. I still receive a lot of mails from various organizations and societies, both within and outside, etc. I try to balance it with a lot of exercises which I didn’t have the time to do when I was the governor.

Another benefit is the chance I have now to read a lot of materials that I have been compiling, especially religious materials which I couldn’t do as a governor. I read many papers too. As a governor, a whole day may pass without the opportunity to read even the paper cuttings made by my director of press. I had to struggle to browse them. But now I have the time to go through the papers, digest them and listen to a lot of radio programs, both local and international. A lot of political meetings too…

Me: So life is back. (Laughter) We will go back a bit and ask how did your party lose the last elections? As an incumbent, it is assumed that you already had 60% of the votes. May be you were too transparent, you didn’t want to rig or you were occupied with your presidential campaign.

Shekarau: I think there were a number of factors. In the first place, I would like to say that I, personally, along with many of us within our party don’t believe that we really lost the election. We didn’t in terms of real votes. That is why we went up to the Supreme Court. Of course, the courts have the right to give their own judgments but from the reports we had from our representatives in polling booths and so on we believe that there were some areas of election malpractice. Secondly, we believe that a lot of the ballot papers weren’t genuine in the sense that they were not stamped and signed at the back. We got a lot of reports on that. We wanted to get the court’s approval to conduct forensic examination of each ballot paper. The problem was that our lawyers didn’t mention all those details in their initial prayers. So when they raised it in the proceedings, their prayer wasn’t granted.

Having said this, there is the other part regarding the issue of overconfidence. In some of the polling stations, our supporters felt that it would be just a walk over. There was negligence on the part of our supervisors, feeling that we were the incumbents and have ruled for eight years and so on. We had reports from some of our representatives that some polling centres were not fully manned by our agents. We discovered that it wasn’t that they didn’t want to do the job or they were disloyal, they just felt that it wasn’t necessary.

On the whole, looking at it from the spiritual point of view, I just feel that God in His own wisdom would like to still use us to send messages and teach lessons generally as it has become clear now. We have done our little bit and whether appreciated or not, there is the chance now to see it from another perspective. As we have seen now, within the first three four weeks when the new government started, people started to see the difference. As people always argue, sometimes you only appreciate good when you see evil. So, now that we had our own time, probably God in his own wisdom would like to expose the good things we were able to do but people couldn’t see them until they see the opposite. The example I would like to give is the issue of maintaining peace and order in the society.

For eight years, even the man on the street will tell you that we had peace. We even started attracting more investors to Kano. Unfortunately, few weeks or months after we left office the whole thing seems to have collapsed. People are wondering what has happened? By our own assessment, a number of the measures we took and structures we put in place that have been helping to maintain the peace were bastardized by the (present) government. It is now that people are appreciating it.

Me: You mean programs like a daidaita sahu, Hisbah and so on?

Shekarau: A number of programs like the societal reorientation program which was principally directed at sensitizing the people’s attitudinal change are things that should be continued. We have done a lot of media talks, sponsoring a number of moral programs in the media, publishing a lot of materials, visiting schools, etc. Even though the Hisbah is still there structurally, the benefits are no longer on ground. One, when the new government came, it sacked two-thirds of the Hisbah guards that were trained and sensitized through a lot of workshops. It brought new ones overnight. In fact, I learnt in the media that the Hisbah clashed with members of the public on two occasions resulting even in a death. People don’t see them as they used to be. They are aware now that somehow people that are morally bankrupt are involved in some of these exercises. And you know you lack the moral right to tell somebody not to do something when you’re into it yourself. These are some of the things that our vacation of the seat is used by God to show people and vindicate us on many sectors.

Me: At this juncture, on this issue of security, Kano has witnessed Boko Haram last January. When I visited it in February, the town was in a coma. Then I returned in March and now, one can see that businesses are back and virtually every shop is open. Don’t you think your successor deserves some commendation as well as the federal government because other states that experienced similar attacks like Yobe and Borno are in a terrible security shape?

Shekarau: Well, I think I commend effort of both state governments – state and federal - and particularly the security agencies for being up and doing in terms of restoring peace. I am sure if you cross check, you will find that the one day bombing was one big thing that happened at a time and attracted attention. Naturally, that will send the people underground. But thereafter, the threats have continued. It is almost a daily affair now. There is hardly forty-eight hours passing without having a report of shootings or people wanting to bomb one place or another, or police deactivating one bomb, etc. so the scare is still there. The tension is very much around. There is the general consensus that people are not really living at ease now. There is this fear of who could be the next person. This is a responsibility of not only the state government but also the federal government.

I believe the issue of security is not all about force. You have to use a lot of other means: psychological warfare, community policing approach just the way we started with the Hisbah. We recruited the minimum of 20 guards in each of our 484 wards, locally sourced from each ward. Apart from Hisbah guards we gathered elders in each community to form what we called zauren shawara (consultation forum). His highness (the Emir of Kano) took his time and went round to every 44 local government areas and personally inaugurated the zauren sulhu (reconciliation forum).

Me: Aren’t they there now?

Shekarau: No. They have been disbanded. They were controlled by the headquarters of a daidaita sahu. Nobody is inspiring them. The committees are not there. In fact, we were about launching the palon shawara (consultation parlour for women), hoping that the new government that will come in would continue with it, had we won the election. The idea was to allow the women to form such committees at the local level. In fact, the zauren sulhu was so effective that most people preferred to refer their misunderstandings to them than resort to the police stations. Hisbah was virtually handling thousands of such cases and resolving a lot of such crisis and disagreements. These are some of the ingredients that helped to build what you call a peaceful environment.

Me: Sir, it is not a flatter that you are today the most expereienced person regarding the seat of the governor. You just left it after 8 years so you must have accumulated a lot of experience. You have seen what’s been going on in the past one year. I know that Kano is a very vast place. So, whoever is on that seat must be facing a great challenge. Can you give us your personal assessment of how the new government has fared in the past one year?

Shekarau: First of all, I will agree with you that today by the Grace of Almighty Allah, I am the only living longest serving governor of Kano. The only governor that served longer than me was Alhaji Audu Bako who has passed away and who served for 9 years. I have served for 8 years. I can as well claim that I know the art of governance of Kano more than any other person, whether civilian or military. On that note, I think I am well equipped to know how Kano is faring at any given time. I have on my own pledged not to make any assessment of the present administration. My party candidate has been the one making such assessment against the background of what he intended to do and what is happening now.

But on the whole and without sounding like blowing one’s own trumpet, I think the difference is very clear. I will not be totally wrong if I say that great majority of people aren’t happy with what is happening especially in terms of quality of leadership and in terms of participatory approach in governance, starting from the state executive council down the ladder to the ward level. What we hear today is that it is virtually a one man’s show: the governor virtually dictates everything which is more of a military style.

Secondly, the newly introduced and very myopic attitude of naming government properties after a particular political slogan is common today. Every structure put by the present government is boldly labeled “kwankwasiya”. I think this is very wrong and it isn’t appropriate. These are public properties. If you’re naming public properties after your name, it is attempting to immortalize one’s self which doesn’t conform to our moral values. I won’t say much on it because some citizens have challenged it before the court. When his commissioner was asked why they are doing this, he said it is because subsequent governments will not deny that they did the projects. I think this as primitive.

In fact, I always quarrel with my officials when they attempt to do that. I remember when samples of children exercise books were brought to me carrying my photographs, I objected to it. On a common sense, I was governing a state composed of citizens of divergent views. If I would use government funds to print exercise books with my photographs and my name boldly printed on them and they are distributed, there could be some parents who don’t share your own political viewpoint.

Me: You mean they may think that you are indoctrinating their children…

Shekarau: Not only that they may think that I am imposing myself on them. These are public funds. Why should I attach my person to it?

Me: Sir, Don’t you think they are just sending a message saying that we did this? Don’t you think that in the political milieu if you don’t blow your trumpet no one would blow it for you – as the first Sardauna once said, and you are the second, mind you?

Shekarau: With due respect to the first Sardauna, I don’t think what he said applied to a person. What he wanted to say is that government should speak out; it should make people know what it is doing. That is transparency and accountability. On the other side, if one thinks morally and spiritually, good should be done for its sake: Serve people as a responsibility and allow God to immortalize your name. No matter what little good you do, God has a way of immortalizing it. For example now, it is no longer a secret that any time we go to town, you see the sea of people that come along appreciating us without having written anything Shekarau anywhere. It is the service that was imprinted in their hearts. When they see us they remember it. Even in the case of the Sardauna, it was many years after he passed away that many structures were named after him.

Me: There are two questions here but I will put them in one form. Given the wealth of experience you have on that seat, don’t you think it is a good idea to gang up with the present governor, I mean to open a line of communication with him so that you will be in talking terms, advising and discussing issues? Don’t you think it will go a long way to help him in the administration of the state, now that the court case is over and it will take the next three years before we face another election?

Shekarau: I agree that it would have been a very beautiful situation. It would have led to continuity in programs. But I think the burden is more on the person now sitting. A leader is the one that has the responsibility to create the atmosphere for other people to advise him. You just don’t walk into a leader and say I have come to advise you. You have to see the opening, very much welcome and the right atmosphere is created before you can advance.

If I will give you an example and it is not a secret that the government has abandoned virtually every on-project it inherited from us. Many media people have challenged him and the governor continued to say that he cannot go into any project without cross-checking its finances to ensure that there isn’t any fraud.

Me: But I think now they have recalled the contractors. I met contractors on some of the sites…like the hostel you were building at KSUT. The contractors have been recalled, some have been paid their outstanding certificates and they have resumed already.

Shekarau: I am very glad to hear this. But look at very big projects like our two giant hospitals – the general hospital in Giginyu and the pediatric hospital which will be the best of the its kind in Nigeria, all of them have reached 70, 80% level of completion. There are few abandoned road projects that were ongoing, like the one outside here. There is a major road that runs across the city, starting from Kabuga and ending at the junction of Ibrahim Taiwo Road. It is a long distance road of about N3billion. There is the road from behind Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital that cuts across Karkasara. And there are a few other projects that I cannot recall right away. But in the whole I think if the government has seen government projects as people’s project, it should continue with them. I don’t mean to say that governments that came in should blindly jump into the projects they inherited; I don’t blame them. They should properly cross-check because they are taking over from the opposition government to ensure that proper billing was made, that there isn’t any fraud, and that all the procedures were right. Once that is done, the project should be completed.

In a nutshell, if anybody would invite me to advice on how Kano would move forward and I refuse, I think I would be ungodly. I have the moral responsibility to offer my advice and suggestions to the best of my ability and with all sense of responsibility. But you can’t do that unless you’re given the opportunity under the appropriate environment.

For example, just a couple of weeks ago, I was sharing notes in terms of security with a retired military officer and he asked whether the government at the national level ever cared to discuss with me on what needs to be done to improve the security in Kano. His argument was: Here is a person that has governed a state for 8 years – and he wasn’t referring only to me – and the most populous state like Kano. According to him, forget any opinion that anybody would have, at least by now the government – even at the level of the Presidency – asking me what did you do to get it right, to live in peace and what should be done now. I told him nobody has contacted me so far. He said it is unfortunate. So unless you’re given the opportunity to advise, you are helpless. I can’t walk now to the Presidency and say I have come to advise.

Me: Lastly, what advise do you have for the people of Kano and to the present administration?

Shekarau: My advice for the people of Kano is that they should continue to be patient, law abiding and supportive of any government in place. Once elections are over and a government is in place, support any project put forward by the government. My advice is when any government comes up with a project in the interest of the public; we should put aside political differences and support it. On the other hand, I will advise the government not to over-politicize government activities and projects because that will be the reason that people will have in believing that it is their own project, that it is not about your political party. This is why I am a bit unhappy with the naming of projects after a political party. No matter how bitter you feel about a government, that government will have to live its period. Your abusing the government and quarreling with it doesn’t help matters. You must be patient enough to wait for the elections to come. When they come, use your vote to dislodge who you don’t want to see. This is my advice.

Me: Thank you very much sir.

For the full text of the interview with Governor Kwankwaso, please go to

9 June 2012