Boko Haram Republic of Gwoza: Jonathan Abandons Northern Christians
Written by Obinna Akukwe
The Boko Haram insurgents have finally chased away the predominantly Christian community of Gwoza and hoisted their black and white flag in the conquered territory. Succinctly put, they have captured the Christian community of Gwoza and declared it an Islamic state. This is just the beginning. There are reports that they are transferring most of their kidnapped wives, slaves, concubines and armories from Sambissa Forest to Gwoza. The Catholic Secretariat had issued a statement claiming that the male catholic faithfuls in the town are being beheaded by the murderers while their women are being raped and forced to marry the blood suckers. This is happening at a time when a Christian by name Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
I have every reason to be worried because as a gospel minister and missionary who combined various activities to also involve in evangelistic missions, medical missions, educational missions and developmental missions in many villages in the north of Nigeria since 2000, I have come to have a direct feel of the frustrations of both the Christian communities in the north and their Muslim counterparts. I have come to know for instance that many Muslim elites never supported Sharia laws as imposed by former Zamfara State Governor Sani Yerimah under the timid reaction of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo but their voice of reason was subdued by the loud voices of almagirenchi and intolerant religious extremists.
I also know that many Muslims are against Boko Haram but some thought it was business as usual until the insurgents also started targeting them. I also know that some bold Muslim critics of the sect were murdered and government never found out their killers. Time may not permit me to say all I know about the madness from informed point of view but the summary is that Ppresident Gooodluck Jonathan had abandoned northern Christians to their fate. Any attempt to put it in any other way is just sycophancy.
In Borno State alone, almost all the predominantly Christian communities have been overran by Boko Haram. I stated in an earlier write-up titled ’Boko Haram Republic of Gwoza, both a bad idea and bad omen’ in the first paragraph that” a Boko Haram Republic of Gwoza is both a bad idea and a bad omen for Nigeria because the indigenes of Gwoza are not sympathetic to Boko Haram. Boko Haram Republic flags should be hoisted in territories where majority of the inhabitants are supporters of the insurgents, and definitely, Gwoza is not part of them. Currently, Boko Haram has declared Gwoza an Islamic Republic and that is very unfair to the predominantly Christian community”.
Going further, I had stated another fact that “Gwoza is among the communities and local government area in what is politically termed Southern Borno which has a majority Christian population with a minority mix of pagans, animists and Muslims. Such communities include Damboa (where Boko Haram had also taken over) and Chibok (where over 250 Chibok school girls were kidnapped and serially raped to death), Ngala (where 480 soldiers fled from to Cameroun). Other such towns including Askira, Uba, Biu, Bayo, Shani, Kusar and Kwawu are mainly Christian communities yet they have no signs of development because successive regimes in Maidugeri have victimized them on account of their Christian heritage, dating to between 80-102 years.”
I also added that “Now Boko Haram had left the Muslim dominate areas of Borno and are now hoisting their flags in non-Muslim zones, murdering, raping and butchering people mercilessly in the name of Allah. Gwoza had recently fallen finally into the hands of the insurgents and the murderous terrorists have declared the town an Islamic Caliphate in the most recent video from them”.
It is the worst of time for northern Christians. They are majority in States like Adamawa, Yobe, Taraba, Borno and has a sizeable population in Kaduna but they live their lives as minority tribes. They are denied political patronage and infrastructural boost. They still willingly subject themselves to the ruler ship of Emirs appointed by Islamic fiefdoms and they are always the first to defend the concept of One Nigeria. These northern Christians rejoiced when Jonathan became the president while some others preferred the anti-corruption crusader Buhari as president. However, since the insurgency started, they had hoped that Goodluck Jonathan, a president who had knelt before Pastor Adeboye’s alter at Redemption Camp, a president who had sat at the ministers seat with men of integrity like Pastors Paul Enenche and Bishop David Abioye, a president who had visited Pope Francis in St Peter’s Basilica and also shaken hands with Most Rev Dr Carey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will have enough common sense to know that allowing his fellow Christians to be slaughtered by some extremist Muslims is an error of destiny.
In 1980 a fiery Islamic preacher by name Mohammed Marwa also known as Maitasine came on board during the civilian presidency of a Muslim by name Shehu Shagari. He took over the city of Kano and was spewing out volatile speech until it snowballed into a religious crisis. They wanted to control Kano, killing Christians, but Shagari sent in troops to flush him and his band out. In the ensuing conflagration, about 4000 persons died and the leader of the group was killed. Two years later his disciple started another massacre in Borno and they clashed with soldiers, resulting to the death of about 3000 persons, including Christians and the extremists.. Shagari never hesitated to send well equipped troops to flush out the insurgents.
During the era of Muhammadu Buhari, the remnants of the Maitasine started problem again in Yola and about 1000 persons were killed. Buhari sent troops and the murderers were routed and Maitasine died in finally in Nigeria.
In 1995, a young Igbo trader and Christian faithful by name Gideon Akaluka was beheaded and his head paraded on the streets of Kano, hung on a stick. His offense was that his wife allegedly used a portion of the Quran to clean up as tissue paper, an allegation later found to be false. Akaluka ran to a police station for refuge but some powerful persons masterminded his being dragged out of protective custody and beheaded. Then maximum ruler, late Gen Sanni Abacha, a Muslim, ordered an inquiry into the incidence, and in the process, according to those privies to the incidence, nine persons named as masterminds were executed except Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the current emir of Kano, who was left out by royal magnanimity.
During the presidency of Yar’adua , initially he displayed bias in his handling of the Jos crisis especially when it was alleged by Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State that Yar’adua deliberately refused to pick his calls while Christians were being killed he but when the Christian community, having sustained heavy casualties, mobilized and carried battle to the Muslims, he sent soldiers to massacre the retaliating group. That act was a bad spot in the judgment of Yar’adua , however, it was on record that he was the president who dealt a deadly blow to the Boko Haram insurgents in 2009, when he ordered the military to dislodge them from Borno State. In response to presidential orders then Brigade Commander mobilized soldiers who gallantly arrested the then Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf and handed him over to the police and the defeated insurgents left Nigeria alone.
Since the Christian born Goodluck Jonathan became president, the military is yet to have a firm grip on the situation. Boko Haram leader , Shekau, had become a world terrorist champion, Christian communities in the north are being ravaged and young Christian girls are being kidnapped and raped to death. Gwoza has been declared an Islamic Republic and the predominantly Christians natives massacred. Chibok have been abandoned after the terrorists initially kidnapped over 259 school girls from a secondary school and also the continued abductions of other school girls numbering over 250.
This is the irony of Goodluck Jonathan presidency. His presidency is a good omen to the Niger Deltans (which is good) and a bad omen to northern Christians. In Kaduna State communities have been invaded by herdsmen and slaughtered and nobody has ever been prosecuted. Benue communities like Agatu, Guma, Gwer West and Makurdi have had to live in fear of herdsmen attacks. It is only the fetish Eggon Community in Nasarrawa State that has solution to herdsmen attacks. Jos is as volatile as petrol
Therefore, apart from General Babangida who dragged Nigeria into the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), successive governments have never abandoned the Christian communities in the north the manner it happens under Jonathan. He plays politics of 2015 re-election while fellow Christians are being slaughtered and their villages overrun by Boko Haram. He is neither defending the Christian nor Muslim communities and it is a bad omen for Nigeria.
The Bible had asked us not to put our trust in man. Jeremiah 17 v 5 states “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” The northern Christians have trusted enough in Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan and they have died enough. Whenever I inquire about certain pastors or brethren from Borno, I would get response that either the person is dead or his family dead from Boko Haram attacks and it is becoming worrisome and the list keeps increasing. It is time for the northern Christians to put their trust in God. Gwoza, Chibok, Damboa, Biu, Askira, Uba, Magalla, Ngala, Damboru, all Christian communities are taken over by terrorists and a stupid politically and financially embellished pastor is still telling them to trust in Jonathan.
Jonathan had abandoned Northern Christians to their fate but Jonathan is not God. I prophetically advice my fellow believers in the north to cry unto God in a manner that excludes human trust. Surely, the God that defends the defenseless will raise up a help from nowhere and stem the plague in the land.