The Fall Of Mubi: April 1990 Revisited By Babayola Toungo
Three months back, Mr. Boni Haruna, the Minister of Youth Development (Sarkin Matasa) looked Nigerians in the eye and told them that Goodlick Jonathan has brought peace to the country and therefore need four more years to build on what he started. A week later Boko Haram overran his Michika local government and since then he has remained mute. In saner climes, he would have apologised for his faux pas. When he made his statement, the terrorists were at his doorsteps – Gwoza. Haruna was so fixated on retaining his plum ministerial office that he was willing to tell lies and cover up Jonathan’s incompetence as a leader. He wasn’t bothered one bit that his people are killed, maimed and their businesses destroyed.
While Boni Haruna was praising the president’s peace making (building?) efforts, the killers were going through Madagali, Michika, parts of Hong, Mubi North and Mubi South local governments like hot knife in butter. The humanitarian catastrophe this engenders is of no consequence to Mr. Haruna. The people of the area have now been reduced to living a primitive lifestyle in the mountains. Their lives have been shattered and may never be the same again. A whole Senatorial district is now under threat and all our Sarkin Matasa can think of is how Jonathan can retain his office.
Looking at the local governments under the control of the terrorists, one is left to wonder whether those from the area and currently serving in various levels of government are Nigerians or not. This may be a topic for another day. The fact is that both ministers from Adamawa state in the federal executive council, the state governor and the Chief of Defence Staff are from that same Senatorial Zone, now effectively cut off and carved out from Nigeria. With the government’s silence on the status of these local governments in the hands of the terrorists, what is the legal status of Boni Haruna and company? Are they Nigerians or…?
I have always been a sceptic on the issue of Boko Haram – its operators and operations. A rag-tag army that has suddenly transformed into a fearsome fighting force – fearsome enough to make our ‘civilian terrorising’ military run for dear life whenever they are sighted, raises a lot of questions in my mind. The founders of Boko Haram –their spiritual leader and alleged financier were killed in 2009, which led to the movement becoming hydra headed. The movement back then was made up of street urchins, university dropouts and those generally dissatisfied with the way life is treating them. How were they able to transform in to this formidable elite strike force at the same time our soldiers are scampering for checkpoint and kitchen duties? When and where were they trained?
I have this eerie feeling that the escalation of violence in the north (particularly the north east) and subsequent declaration of separate administrative entity by the terrorists in the areas they now occupy has historical connection to the abortive coup of April 1990. The principal officers of the failed putsch are now very visible in Aso Villa – Col. Tony Nyiam, Major Saliba Mukoro, etc. During their failed attempt to grab power, their spokesman Gideon Orkar announced the excision of some parts of Nigeria in their attempt to remake Nigeria in their image. We have seen this sinister plan resurface again during the just concluded ill-advised National Conference. Interestingly, Tony Nyiam was one of those selected by Jonathan to midwife the conference. And again interestingly, the portion of the country under the control of the terrorists was among the parts of the country excised by the putschists.
I also came across correspondences between Chinwezu and G. G. Dara in the Diaspora Dialogue Series on how to go about creating a “greater south” and a “Shariyaland”. According to the duo, if the people of “Shariyaland” cannot be made to leave Nigeria peacefully, they should be shoved aside by force of arms. In my opinion, the escalation of violence in northeast became prominent immediately after the conclusion of the national conference and the failure of our modern day anarchist to push their plans down our throats. We have seen the roles played by the Dara group and their northern accomplices like Professor Jerry Gana, who it was alleged several times bailed Mohammed Yusuf from the police.
When you begin to connect those seemingly unrelated happenstances – the 1990 Gideon Orkar radio broadcast, the Jerry Gana bail allegations, the hurried nature of convocating a national conference, the failed attempt to railroad a pre-planned agenda, the alignment between the southern minorities and the Jerry Gana group, the missing billions of dollars, the escalation of violence in the north east and subsequent occupation of same by a supposedly rag-tag army, who hitherto have been confined to a non-existent impregnable forest and the government’s silence over the lost of Nigerian territory, one is left to come to the unpalatable conclusion that what is happening has a government imprimatur.
Why has the north suddenly become known for strives? The northeast is bedevilled with Boko Haram; north central of Nigeria is the epicentre of farmers/ herders clash while bandits and cattle rustlers are having a field day in the northwestern part of the north. The most vicious of these groups of terrorists, the Boko Haram has by far being the most vicious and organised. I cannot understand how they are able to capture towns and villages, hoist their flags and maintain their grip on their conquest before moving to the next unfortunate town. Take the case of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls who has been in their captivity for more than six months now. No one apart from the Bring Back Our Girls campaigners is saying anything about the girls.
Where do they get their supplies – arms food supply? How do they feed the over 200 girls in their captivity? How do they replenish their ammunition? The phantom cease-fire deal entered between the federal government and the insurgents coincided with the detention of Nigerian owned aircraft and money in South Africa. The money was said to have been meant for the purchase of arms and ammunition by the Nigerian government, but for which unit and why go through the back channel? The conspiracy theory-weaving part of my brain saw a linkage between the forfeiture of the money and the cease-fire announcement. Some few weeks after this episode, the terrorists came out bolder and march through Uba and took over Mubi, the second biggest town in Adamawa while our soldiers ran with their tails tucked between their legs.
There have been allegations that villagers have been sighting helicopters dropping fighters, arms and ammunition or food supplies but the authorities have consistently denied these allegations. The embarrassment in South Africa raised a lot of questions than answers. Some of the questions borders on the propriety or otherwise of the federal government using Oritsejafor’s plane to carry out such business when there are more than twelve planes in the presidential fleet; how could a government that has diplomatic relations with another government go to the underground market to buy arms? I have tried to expunge the treasonable thought that some people in government or the government itself has a hand in what is going in the north east, but this dangerous feeling refused to go away.
The sooner the people of the north realise that the agenda by the Tony Nyiam group that was aborted in 1990, is unfolding before our very eyes the safer for all of us. The northern leadership cadre – political, traditional and military – has been found remiss in its leadership responsibilities. I hope they won’t be called to pay one day – that is, if they are not already paying.
For the poor, all I can say is that der is God wo!
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