COLONIALISM AND CONTRAPTION: AFRICA’S BLEEDING CATALYSTS. (I of 6)
INTRODUCING THE FLOOD-GATES OF HELL AND BLOOD:. (EDITED)
By: Gideon I. Onyedi.
‘‘This man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity,…….and it was known unto all the dwellers,,,,, in so much that the field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood’’.
The single, ‘solemn’ sorrow in the hearts of men of conscience and candour is that mankind no longer has value for truth, honour and life. The power and appeal of self (nature), position, wealth, and fame are awesomely overwhelming to a blindfolding and deceptive degree that hell keeps expanding itself every day, and blood seems and counts inferior to the wastes and water in the gutter. And mankind considers it not.
I wish men were acquainted with the path of peace and progress, and had the courage to commune and tread thereon, and the honour to utter and defend the truth and justice: that lamb and lion doth cross no path alike, nor dwell in a common abode, except with necessary ‘domestications’ and ‘delineations’; then would blood cease to flow, and hell ‘freeze’ to grow.
Peoples of extreme and deep-rooted historical, cultural, religious, and markedly linguistic diversities and variations, and socio-political and economic (mutual) counter-orientations and inclinations, without a purgative, compensating ‘gulf’ bridger in their education, socialization and civilization, hardly do imbibe and possess values, visions and aspirations alike. They hardly co-exist in peace. Lasting and genuine peace. And, they hardly make or build a prosperous nation. Though they struggle for ten centuries and a dozen generations.
It is a yoke, unequally matched. A journey of disagreeable partners. A story ever told and scripted in offensively obnoxious diction and style on indeterminate ‘canvass’. An anthem of historical dissimulation lyricised in discordant and jarring tones: ‘though tribe and tongue (may) differ, in brotherhood we stand’: hoodwinked brotherhood. A dream cast in nightmarish ideals. A vision, deceitfully forged beyond the realm of reality. A pillaged, distorted, and abandoned reality. I ‘speak’ of abounding experiences that cannot be denied. Across the nation(s). Across the Sahel. Across the continent. Beyond the continent.
Colonialism in Africa did not know this. If it did know, it did not care. And Africans have proved the above-stated theory and socio-political philosophy right with their blood. Their ever-flowing blood. Their salty, sweaty, drenching blood. Their ‘worthless’, unrequited, unaccounted ever-spilled ‘black’ blood.
And, so, it came to be.
On Sunday, the 19th of May, 2019, brought together by circumstance and ‘accident’ of manipulated history, a group of distraught representatives, of some of the various ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, convoked a consultative session in Abuja. The meeting was for one purpose: fashioning a platform and measures for the defence and protection of their individual ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, a heterogeneous nation of extreme multi-ethno-religio-linguistic and ‘ideo-aesthetic’ composition, from incessant mortal attacks. This is, as they feel mortally threatened by an unprecedented preponderance of loss of lives and general insecurity consequent upon the blood-thirsty and conquest-driven activities of the rampaging Fulani militia or herdsmen, the Boko Haram terrorism, (which particularly is, according to the gladiators themselves, an act driven towards the reestablishment of the ideologically and perspectively defined ‘morally upright’ Islamic Caliphate/Sultanate as existent in the precolonial), and the unrelenting spate of kidnapping and rape. The consultative forum was a result of evident loss of confidence in the ability of government to protect the citizenry. The forum came under the auspices of the organization: The Ethnic Nationalities Defence Organization, ENDO.
Again, on Friday, the 23rd of August, 2019, brought together by evident fundamental irreconcilabilities with certain other ethno-religious group(s), fear of extermination and conquest, and the need for survival and preservation, the leaders of thought, royal fathers, elders and various groups of the South East Igbo, and some other representatives from their neighbours within Nigeria. rose from a Security Summit in Owerri, the Capital of Imo State, with a communique and declaration, calling for a plebiscite, and requesting for full autonomy for the region on account of deep-seated incompatibility and hostility, and the unrelenting killings, rape, destruction of their farmlands and crops, etc., being perpetrated by herdsmen, without any intervention or decisive action from the Nigerian government to arrest the situation.
Part of their Communique reads: ‘‘that the endemic instability of the federation has been due to an inherent incompatibility of values between the dominant religions, traditions, and cultures of its indigenous ethnic nationalities.’’ This threatening spate of insecurity is in addition to a further ‘threat’ to take their ancestral land from them through a Fulani-controlled Federal Government’s policy on Ruga project, or the suspiciously perceived alternatively packaged National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP, another form of Ruga, (Fulani settlement), a considered and perceived project of land acquisition through veiled, induced, intimidated or blackmailed negotiation, or ‘confiscation’ for the benefit of the nomadic Fulani cattle rearers. A project which was also unanimously rejected at the Summit.
The nation is boiling and burning.
As a proof of ‘substance of claim’, the comment credited to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions, Ms Agnes Callamard, (who had spent two weeks in Nigeria on a fact-finding mission on account of the extreme volatility of the nation), on Monday, the 2nd of September, 2019, in which she reported thus: “The overall situation that I encountered in Nigeria gives rise to extreme concern… The warning signs are flashing bright red: increased numbers of attacks and killings over the last five years with a few notable exceptions,” unmistakably clears the air of doubt on the state and level of insecurity and general instability in a typical colonially contrived multi-ethnic nation of irreconcilable fundamental incompatibilities.
Callamard, in her report, went further to describe this nation of intractable ethno-religious monstrosity as ‘‘a pressure cooker of internal conflict’’ which “If ignored, its ripple effect will spread throughout the sub-region given the country’s important role in the continent.” She warned that pretending that this extreme situation doesn’t exist would be a major mistake. It is cautionarily instructive to note that the Federal Government of Nigeria expressed politically understandable reservations with her report as presented. A perceived case of image laundering and diplomacy of redemption versus a desperation and helplessness of the masses over the most regrettable reality of seemingly irredeemable, irreconcilable, irreducible, and irreversible bloody incompatibilities.
Further to as posited above, and strengthened by the evidence of increased killings and insecurity in colonially-created multi-ethnic African nations, I need to point out that there is a school of thought, and they therein seem to be in the majority, indeed, pointing fingers at the West. This group, including separatist agitators like the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the Ambazonians, victims, observers, etc., have always believed and cried out that since the end of colonialism in Africa, the harrowing experiences in many nations of post-colonial Africa have been such which depict the black race as a God-forsaken fearful dark world. As the tearfully ‘celebrated’ cemetery of the walloped weak of the ‘other tribe’, as the fear-inspiring and sorrowfully trending tomb of the pillaged ‘poor’ of the ‘other region and religion’, as the despicable mass grave of the incapacitated and marginalized, and, as the unguarded gate of ‘hell’ of the defenceless indigenes of the rival, threatening and threatened ethnic groups. Indeed, post-colonial Africa has always been the epicentre of the theatre of an unprecedented bloody fiesta among the deceived, debased and colonially used, abused and disused gladiators and ‘mediocre’ of the black race. And the dirge has always been a resounding one….
Let us not be quick to forget the recent massacres and on-going killings in Benue, Southern Kaduna, Plateau, Taraba, Enugu, Ekiti, Delta, Imo, Abia, Ondo, and many other States and places in Nigeria by unknown gunmen or herdsmen from within and or outside Nigeria.
Sordid as the graphics may seem, it is primal to always state the obvious in obvious terms. Not doing so is tantamount to hitting a child, and shutting him up from crying out of pain. (Those whose enterprise, statutorily, politically, and diplomatically speaking, is to suppress truth and ‘ugly’ but informative and descriptively necessary details in reportage, on account of its ‘sordidness’, should as well prevent sordid events from engulfing the human race, we all should, as a matter of fact). I ‘speak’ to all Africa, African leaders and colonial masters.
Do shudder at the gruesome tearing of the wombs of pregnant women to harshly sever the foetuses and slice them in their own pool of fresh blood. This takes place while the colonial West watches, and for diplomacy, respect for sovereignty – colonially circumscribed sovereignty, and interest, does little or nothing; or chose the measured course of a belated intervention, while our leadership seems helplessly overwhelmed.
Do shiver at the horrors of slaughtering of men by savagely tying their hands at their backs and slithering their throats with machete, as is done to goats and cows at the abattoirs. While the colonial West watches, and for diplomacy and interest, does little or nothing. While our leadership looks helplessly overwhelmed.
Do quiver at the mindless dismemberment of human bodies in various places. And, while the West, the colonial master, watches, and for diplomatic relations and other interest, does little or nothing, what do you think of the raping of women and particularly pushing a hot iron rod into the genitals of a particular most unfortunate helpless victim by herdsmen in the presence of her husband in Ebonyi State, Nigeria? Till date, no arrest. No prosecution. No intervention.
Even the State Governor, Mr. David Umahi, wailed a helpless lamentation, appealing to the uncertain cultural senses of the perpetrators to have regard for the culture and ‘sacred’ customs of their host communities, like a prisoner of politics, of power, and mundane substance. Perceived rightly or wrongly as subservient to his own alleged ethno-religiously alien political godfathers, benefactors, captors and tormentors, even in his own ancestral land. If ever such exists. The height of helplessness. A colonial narrative of the exploited.
On December 28, 2019, a 20 year old Fulani herdsman, Isa Loalu, was reported to have raped one Mrs Mary Okeke, a 54 year old Ebonyi woman to death. This happened while she was returning from farm by night. At the time of this write-up, the culprit, Isa, was in the custody of the police. It is possible that for every reported case of rape there might be many other cases unreported by the victims for fear of stigmatization and cultural profiling given our socio-cultural sensibilities and ‘pride’ as Africans? It is also possible that there have been some consequential ‘spiritual’ and health implications, and unwanted pregnancies from these heinous acts, with serious potentialities? Two or three decades from now, new sociological events and ‘evolutionary’ developments could emerge from both accounted and unaccounted/hidden acts of dehumanization, victimization, persecution, etc.
To lend credence to this position, we need to have a flashback on the dialectics and counter allegations between the Sultanate in Nigeria and the Christian Association of Nigeria on the killings and persecutions perceived to be ethno-religious based in the country. Having earlier accused the Fulani/herdsmen of being responsible for this, and with the Sultan of Sokoto explaining that killings associated with Fulani do not mean killings supported by or associated with Muslims, as according to His Eminence, many of these Fulanis are atheists whose only concern is to protect their cattle. He also did explain a well-known situation that these same herdsmen have been attacking native farmers in Zamfara, Katsina, Kebbi and other Northern States, and concluded that the attacks have never been only against the Christians. This is substantially and verifiably true.
However, his measured admission or evident denial that Christians are obviously being persecuted in Nigeria provoked a counter substantiation of the earlier claim by the Christian Association of Nigeria, through a press release by its National Director, Legal and Public Affairs, Evangelist Kwamkur Samuel, as posited here-under:
“It was painful reading from the media that the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Sa’ad Abubakar saying that there was no case of Christian persecution in the country where Christians are being killed on daily basis and their landed property confiscated. It would have been better if the Sultan had remained quiet the way he did when those killings were taking place. Recalling the several hundreds of the innocent people whose lives were cut short by the Fulani herdsmen in Southern Kaduna, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa and Taraba states, (states with Christian majority), it is an insult and insensitivity for anyone to be claiming that the unprecedented persecution which victims are well known did not occur. It is also an act of disrespect to the dead. If those who were responsible for the genocide in the Middle belt of the country were Fulani atheists “whose main interest is to protect their cattle, what stopped him from condemning the unprecedented genocide? By the way, if Fulani atheists took it upon themselves to be killing Christians the way they did in Benue, Southern Kaduna, Plateau, will it still not be called Christian persecution? “Do the Fulani atheists have the right to be killing people the way they did and are still doing in some part of the states? We are happy that the Sultan did not fault our claim that there was unprecedented killings in those areas may be the security agencies would have helped us to unmask the culprits and their religion if they had not appeared powerless while the killings lasted. It is reprehensible that to date, those who killed our brothers and sisters after raping and maiming them for weeks are still at large as if they were spirits. The observation made by His eminence that if there have been cases of Christian persecution in the country we would have raised it at the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), where the leadership of the both religions meet, we wonder why the Sultan too could not come to NIREC to fault our position…’’ (CAN, Dec. 28, 2019).
Caution, restraint and objectivity should be exercised with truth in profiling any particular ethno-religious community in Nigeria or Africa in. This is because every ethno-religious community, to varying degrees, has their own share of blame in the exacerbation and perpetration, be it offensive, defensive, or ‘defensively-offensive’, of the violence, crises and irreconcilable differences the nation and continent have gone and are going through. In terms of level of culpability, it will not be an assessment objective enough to deny ‘that though all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others’. Indeed, the provocations could transcend the reprisals or ‘defensives’.
The position above is potentiated or further enunciated by the very recent exposition of Her Ladyship The Baroness Cox herself before the House of Lords of the United Kingdom’s Parliament in the following direct expressions: “the underlying drivers of conflict are complex, yet targeted violence and the perpetration of atrocities against predominantly Christian communities suggest that religion and ideology play a key part, as emphasised in the Bishop of Truro’s excellent report.” With reference to what was described as reliable source(s), she states: “more than 5,000 Christians have been killed since 2015, with 1,000 murdered in 2019”.
she continues: ‘‘the attacks have, on occasion, led to retaliatory violence, as communities can no longer rely on the Government for protection or justice. However, we have seen no evidence of comparability of scale or equivalence of atrocities.’’
Speaking about the role of Britain in Nigeria’s conflicts and clashes, as a typical example of a colonial contraption, The Baroness states as follows:
‘‘My Lords, Her Majesty’s gracious Speech affirmed the UK’s commitment to ‘work closely with international partners to help solve the most complex international security issues and promote peace and security globally.’ That was a very important commitment, yet I deeply regret that I have personally witnessed how, in Nigeria, British foreign policy has caused more harm than good.’’ – (UK House of Lords, January 7, 2020).
Let us not lose sight of the persecution, suppression, emasculation, incarcerations, profiling, proscription, and killings of self-determination agitating groups such as the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, other political killings fuelled by ethno-religious interests and considerations, and various other agitations, part of which formed the basis of Ms Callamard’s report, as stated earlier.
Somewhere else, outside Nigeria, is the ‘officially’ sanctioned and ‘diplomatically’ supported killing, incarceration or clamping down in Cameroun against separatist Anglophone agitators. The Ambazonians. Against the secessionist Homeland Study Group Foundation of Oti Region in Ghana. Etc. These incidents are not divorced from the effect and aftermath of colonialism. A shared albatross on the neck of the West.
Many have died. Many are dying. Many more will die. The future is painted gloomy and red. And frighteningly bloody.
‘‘But, who cares? It is Africans killing Africans,’’ as they say.
If drop by drop, as it is said, can make an ocean, the human blood that has flowed in Nigeria, in Africa must have made a deep wide ocean. From Rwanda to Burundi. From Libya to Liberia. From Somalia to Sudan/South Sudan. From Sierra Leone to Nigeria. From Cameroun to Congo. Etc. It is blood, blood, and blood.
Although this discourse entirely transcends mere perspectivisation, the perspectively defined argument of this writer, predicated on the cause-and-effect phenomenon of colonialism dishearteningly emphasises that since the emergence of political independence among African countries, millions of helpless indigenous Africans have regrettably met their untimely gruesome deaths by the sword and sabre, bombs and bullets, and machetes and missiles in the hands of their supposed leaders and ‘compatriots’, and, that most of these painful deaths through ethno-religious violence and rivalry, agitations and activism, and full scale deadly civil wars are the unmitigated consequences of the imprints, footprints, signets and seals of countries like Great Britain, France, Belgium, Portugal, etc.
These wars and bloodshed are by all moral, technical and substantial standards, the direct and indirect consequences of some form of past colonial presence and leadership, and their present interest in Africa.