Taraba State Government Is Protecting Genocide Suspects While the Presidency and National Assembly Looks On
Evidence has emerged of the Taraba State Government officially requested the State Commissioner of Police to release suspects of Mambila genocide. The letter containing the request - or directive - by the Attorney-General of the State was published by an online newspaper, Nigeriandaily today.
The Attorney-General did not deny nor confirm the letter when contacted by the newspaper even though he refused to give an email address through which it can be sent to him. The excuse he gave for demanding their release was that the state government has constituted a commission of inquiry on the crisis. So , in his judgement, the suspects are subjected to “double jeopardy” and their arrest is itself a “contempt” of the proceedings of the Commission. Shi ke nan. With that simple excuse, they are let off the hook.
People can now see how we have in operation a judicial structure that allows perpetrators of genocide and crimes against humanity to go Scot-free. This is exactly what happened in Plateau and Kaduna States in the past. State governments sponsoring killings of some ethnic groups use judicial offices under their control to ensure that the hired perpetrators are not punished. El-rufai is not popular among many southern Kaduna elite because he proved to be too intelligent to permit their usual impunity.
Over the years, governors with genocidal plans lobby for the deployment to their state of a commissioner of police of their choice, someone who has the same criminal inclination or can easily be compromised with money. Of course, the Attorney-General and Commisioner of Justice of the state must be genocide-compliant. Under him is the Director of Public Prosecution with the same mentally deficient calibration. No case will even reach the High Court, where judges of the same ethnic or religious background and supporters of the same genocide agenda are deliberately situated to lay ambush on justice. If for political pressure or any reason a case against their own would reach them, they are ever ready to frustrate it. That is the superstructure of genocide in our country. (By the way, if the nation will make the mistake to empower states with their state police, all minorities and political opponents of these killer-governors will perish in a matter of months.)
That is how it worked in Plateau throughout the years of merciless killings of “non-indigenes” in the state. For most part of Jang’s tenure, he influenced the posting of police to the state. By 2012, all heads of Federal security agencies in the state were Christian. Also, no CP from the Muslim North was posted to the state since Abubakar (2001) until the end of his tenure. The CP, for example, would come and meet a police force that is specifically deployed to the state for the purpose. Alhaji Saleh Bayari, the then National Secretary of Miyetti Allah, once published a whole list of police officers who were transferred out of the state but returned to the state immediately at the instance of the state governor, David Jonah Jang. There are allegations that the massacres that took place in places like Kuru and 40 other Hausa settlements in January 2010 were led by some of these officers.
The same thing happened in Kaduna during the 2011 general elections. Benue Commissioner of Police then, John Haruna, was transferred to Kaduna. Under his eyes the massacres in Southern Kaduna happened, especially the extensive one in Zonkwa. Though there were even videos of the killings recorded by security agents, to date, nobody was arrested or prosecuted. CP John Haruna got an accelerated promotion to Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Operations). Unfortunately, after a short while, he died in a helicopter crash in Jos. Yakowa, the State Governor, for whose victory the massacres were carried out, and Azazi, the National Security Adviser at the time of the massacres, like DIG Haruna, also perished in a plane crash while he he victims of the Southern Kaduna 2011 massacres were still in IDP camps in Mando. Oh God of justice!
For the successful execution of any genocide, these are the kind of elaborate (in)security structures that must be established. The result has always been the same in Nigeria: innocent victims, like the sedentary Fulani in Mambila, are killed and the perpetrators continue to live unhindered to encourage further massacres. The credit of the peace enjoyed now in Plateau goes solely to the State Governor who chose to discontinue the genocidal agenda of his predecessors. Without political patronage, the criminal structure collapsed like a pack of cards immediately after 2015 elections. Ethno-religious crisis thrives on government political support, funding and protection.
Yet, the Federal Government has continued to also pay lip service to such situations. Its agents in the states are easily compromised with money and sentiments of religion and ethnicity. The victims remain hopeless. This is what led to reprisal attacks, beginning with Dogo Nahauwa, in 2012, eleven years after the genocidal killings of Jos started. Painful as the attacks were, I regret to note that they started a peace process. The Federal Government initiated the first face-to-face meeting between Fulani and Berom. Though attacks and reprisal attacks continued, the egalitarian distribution of pain made it easier to unplug ears deafened by the state impunity.
The Federal Government under Buhari, unfortunately and against all expectations, also appears unwilling to stand up for justice. It expresses concern only when there is a loud noise in the country against a reprisal attack. To date, Mambila, which saw the cold blood massacre of 727 Nigerians and over 80 others missing, has not shaken any nerve of the administration. The massacre does not enjoy the recognition that the President would give to the killing of a fly. This is what is emboldening Governor Darius to continue laying the foundation for a crisis of enormous proportion through his anti-grazing law. He has started training a militia that he tags anti-herdsmen marshals.
As if Mambila was a ground to test the will of the President, who, unfortunately for the poor citizens of Taraba, is found wanting. Office, for him, is thicker than blood. He will continue to be preoccupied with his 2019 re-election business, reconciling with his ex-supporter-politicians, while thousands will be killed in the next few months in the state without a whimper from his lips. By the time he regroups his 2019 foot soldiers, the President will be surprised to discover that the ground for winning the elections has been completely eroded by the crises he was indifferent to, as Boko Haram eroded the ground for Jonathan’s reflection in 2015. If Buhari cannot stand up to protect the lives of Nigerians, he will not be fit for re-election next year. Quote me. The country should try someone else and continue trying until it stumbles on someone who has the muscle to protect the weak and the balls to confront impunity.
We will continue to press for justice for Mambila victims even if it will be before the United Nations. The world since 1917 knows that politicians, if left unchecked, can degenerate into animals which have no regard for the fundamental rights of citizens that do not belong to their party, religion or tribes. Hence, the formulation of Geneva conventions and the court in Haig to try people like Taylor, Milosovic, Karadic and Miladic.
Nigeria too has its bunch of Taylors, Milosovics and Miladics. We only need to expose them. They can collude to temporarily distance their agents of genocide from the law. But when the time comes, their guilt will be pronounced in a land far away from a President whose silence they read as approval - that is if divine justice is not fast enough to catch up with them as it overtook some of their predecessors.
The National Assembly gave the IGP two weeks to produce suspects of the 72 that were allegedly killed in Benue State recently. They should have the balance of justice that should make them issue another directive to the IGP: let him produce the suspects arrested for killing over 800 Nigerians in Mambila last year. We have their list, town by town. Can I hear the voice of Shehu Sani and his like standing up in the Red Chamber this week and making this demand after the AG in Taraba demanded for their release?
Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde
22 January 2018