| by Osita Ebiem

A united Nigeria is a danger to the world

( September 6, 2013, New York City, Sri Lanka Guardian) Nigeria as it is presently constituted will continue to pose real and present threat to the security of the world. A united Nigeria will always contribute significantly to the disruption of the peaceful and cohesive existence of the different peoples in the world. So long as Nigeria remains one country it will be a fertile ground for breeding international economic and religious terrorists. And as the membership of the murderous extremist squad grows and gets better indoctrinated with more deadly hate teachings of fundamental Islam they will get more emboldened. Armed with the sophistication of modern technology, the Nigerian space would no longer be enough, they will launch out further afield into other parts of the world to demonstrate their zeal and devotion to Islam and the global jihad. (We will illustrate this point further down). This trend will remain until policy and decision makers all over the world decide to stop it. Without doubt, the best way to practically, effectively and permanently end the threat is to split up Nigeria along the existing sectarian lines.

Give Boko Haram their Islamic state

It does not matter how much billions of dollars and personnel that will be invested, Nigerian Islamic terrorism cannot be defeated on the battlefield. Chasing a faceless, phantom and non-definitive target around the desert of northern Nigeria is a waste of precious time and resources. The fight is a religious or ideological war. So every believer in Islam, not only in Nigeria but around the world is on the other side of the battle line. Muslims in the North and West of the country want to establish an Islamic state where sharia is supreme. This is what the fundamentalist group Boko Haram has always declared as their reason for fighting. They believe in the justness of their fight while those fighting on the Nigerian side just fight for the money. Nigerian fighters do not believe in Nigeria; no one believes in the idea of one Nigeria, anyway. That is one reason why there are frequent reports about many cases of sabotage and ambushes of the Nigerian troops by Boko Haram fighters. So many within the government troops believe more on the cause of the “enemy” than on what they are paid to fight for. (This is why Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan declared that many members of the dreaded Boko Haram group have infiltrated every aspect of the Nigerian society including the membership of his cabinet). It does not matter how long the fight will go on, Boko Haram will always metamorphose with different names until they win this fight. Allowing the fight to go on as it is will only lead to a pyrrhic victory on all sides. Continuing in the present manner, it doesn’t matter who wins at the end of the day, too much money and people would have been wasted to worth the anticipated victory. But the most reasonable and less expensive approach which will be a win-win situation for all that are involved is to immediately divide Nigeria along the pre-colonial national boundaries.

Insisting otherwise will prolong the fight and the battle will eventually be won by any of the sides but the victory will still elude every side to the conflict. The underlying social/ideological or religious conflict will still go on and increase in its intensity long after the battle noise has quieted down. Apart from the belief aspect that poses the greatest challenge the other important point that must be noted is that the country’s wealth is concentrated in the hands of members of the Boko Haram group and their financiers – it will be necessary to explain this point.

Curtail and weaken Islamic North’s global influence by dividing Nigeria

Northern Muslims (Hausa/Fulani) of Nigeria together with some Yoruba (the Junior Partners or what is generally referred to as Western Muslims) control 83% of Nigeria’s oil wells and gas. The same report by the Nigerian Senator Ita Enang from Akwa Ibom State also has it that the Northerners and Westerners still control the rest 17% by proxy, using a few willing local lackeys. Oil and gas make up 95% of the total gross domestic product (GDP) of the country. The ownership of these resources actually resides in the hands of these individuals and organizations from other places other than the original land and water owners of where the minerals are found. Starting from the end of the Biafra war in 1970 the Nigerian government has always treated the Southeast and the South-South part of the country as a conquered territory and the people as mere tools to their end. The control of the only source of income for the country since the last fifty years by this clique from the North and West to the exclusion of the real owners is in keeping with the spirit of winner takes all that is the rule in Nigeria. And as we have argued in several other essays it is the concentration of this oil money in the hands of these victorious impudent military and civilian bigots that has effectively positioned a united Nigeria to play a pivotal role in the global Islamic terrorism by serving as one of its most important centers.

With this obvious unjust arrangement in place the so-called Southeast and South-South errand kids are left to play the second fiddle and play the mutual-betrayal game, trying to outwit each other for just crumbs that fall from the victors’ tables. (We need to mention here that this arrangement used to be supported and encouraged by European and American oil and gas companies that operate in the area). In the rank of those that struggle so hard to be seen as the best behaved and most loyal kids, you find such gullible and confused elements like Tam David-West and others who it seems are prepared to say unprintable and sacrilegious things against their own people so they can be seen as tough and fearless loyalists of the oppressors. They are ever eager to show the oppressors that after all they hold nothing or anyone from their ancestral place sacred or in high regard. They want to be seen as actively defiling (to the amusement and entertainment of their masters) the graves and homestead of their parents and ancestors without any adverse consequences. They sacrifice and deny every consanguine and all filial relationship just to curry the favor of their cunning and habitual lying Muslim Northern and Western paymasters. These pathetic elements will rather preserve in perpetuity the interests of their paymasters and remain in their good books at all costs even it comes at the huge cost of mortgaging the respect, dignity, security and prosperity of their next generation. They cannot afford to be frowned at by the masters so they must strive to maintain a permanent mocking smile on the faces of these their “benevolent benefactors” from up north and west part of Nigeria. So, with the typical defeatist mentality, the vile and servile local collaborators lick the same boots of these ruthless conquerors which have been used to kick their people and local environment so hard in the face.

It is needless to say that such arrangement is based on deceit and unjustified and should not be allowed to continue. And the most effective solution that will remedy the injustice is to divide Nigeria to reflect the true realities on the ground.

How the scandalous exploitation became legalized

In the original African tradition which is the same economic policy that Biafra government adopted within the short period that it existed between 1967 and 1970, the ownership of all natural resources resides in the natural owners of the land and the waters which can be either individuals or local communities. But because Nigeria regarded the area in question as war booty then the natural owners of the resources are effectively denied direct access to and any significant benefit from the exploitation and distribution of the so-called national wealth. The wealth was appropriated or better still stolen from the rightful owners through the enactment of the so-called Land and Resources Use Decrees. These decrees include the 1969 Petroleum Resources Decree and the 1978 Land Use Decree. These ruses or phantom decrees say that all lands, territorial waters and minerals in them belong to the federal government. By these “laws” the conquerors effectively and forcefully (of course their loyal kids will say “legally”) took the natural wealth from the real owners and allocated them to themselves. This is how the 83% and 17% of the entire “national” wealth got appropriated by the victors to the impoverishment of the natives and the complete devastation of the local environment.

By comparison what makes this arrangement a double tragedy is that in other places and times when people are defeated in wars taxes and reparations levies are exacted on the vanquished by the victors. When that is the case the people will still be left to run their space and have control of their destiny in their hands. So, while enriching and replenishing the treasuries of the victors the vanquished can still have the opportunity to recover and maintain their pride and human dignity. That is what informed the quick recovery and success stories of such countries like Germany and Japan soon after their defeat in World War II. Their stories contrast with the Biafran stunted growth and perpetual subjugation after the Biafra-Nigeria war. But the irony is that as the saying goes, whoever that has anyone held down cannot stand up either. It’s in line with the saying that some people argue that as long as Nigeria holds down Biafra, no other constituent part of the Nigerian union will progress, either. This has caused most analysts to insist that the only way out of the logjam and to effectively release the creative potentials of the various nations unnecessarily held down in the restrictive and conflict-prone united Nigeria is to divide it and let the different peoples stay apart and develop at their own pace.

The increasing involvement of Yoruba people in international terrorism

The trend being witnessed today where Yoruba individuals are increasingly getting involved in international Islamic terrorism acts is only a demonstration of how very dangerous and complex a united Nigeria has become. In relation with this some readers will recall the 1966 Lagos airport incident involving Yakubu Gowon the former Head of State of Nigeria, Muhammadu Shuwa and an Igbo civilian airplane pilot. Shuwa was a retired Nigerian military officer who was killed in 2012 by members of Boko Haram group in Maiduguri. On this occasion at the airport he had given a service pistol to Gowon that afternoon and asked him to prove his total commitment and support of the national plot to exterminate the ethnic Igbo group. The report says that Gowon did not hesitate but shot and killed the unarmed Igbo civilian pilot in the airport that day to prove to Shuwa and others that he was loyal and supported the ethnic extermination project. Of course Gowon led Nigeria for the entire period (1966 to 1970) within which 3.1 million Igbo and other Biafrans were murdered in what the venerable writer Chinua Achebe calls genocide.

The connection of the 1966 airport incident with the increased involvement of Yoruba individuals in acts of Islamic terrorism worldwide is that if Nigeria is left to continue as one country there will always be a sort of peer pressure from the Northerners for Yoruba to show proof of their total commitment to Islam. Over the years Northern Nigerian Muslims have always doubted the sincerity of Yoruba Muslims and their commitment to the Islamic faith. And since humans are basically social beings influenced by peer opinions, like Gowon at the airport in Lagos, some Yoruba Muslims of one Nigeria will continue to prove and demonstrate to their Northern counterparts that they are not less committed to Islam than them.

On Christmas Day of 2009 over the airspace in Detroit United States the plot by the Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab also called Omar Farooq al-Nigeri or the Underwear Bomber to take down an American Northwest airplane Flight 253 with 289 people on board was fortunately averted. He is from the Hausa/Fulani part of Nigeria and flew from Lagos to the U. S. with the sole aim of carrying out a jihad for Islam against Americans and people from other countries. Now, the real relevance here is that soon after he was convicted and jailed by a U. S. court for the crime in February 2012 the world would be confronted again the following year with the horrible incident of two Nigerians Michael Adeboloja and Michael Adebowale killing for Islam a serving British soldier Lee Rigby on a street in Woolwich London. This time the perpetrators of the dastard killing in broad daylight are of Yoruba extraction. In yet another incident, an agreement has been reached between Nigeria and the United States this August 2013 to extradite a Nigerian Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi also called “Abdullah” or “Ayatollah Mustapha” to New York in the United States for his alleged membership in the al Qaeda network in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The 33-year old Babafemi is a Nigerian Yoruba who also got caught up in the peer group pressure effect: The one Nigerian Islamic peer group effect. So long as Nigeria’s unity is sustained as is the desire to outdo a rival group and prove that they are just as faithful and committed to Islam will continue.

The answer to this peer group effect is to break up Nigeria along ethnic/cultural lines and let those with close cultural and linguistic affinities merge and form their own independent countries. It is in this way that the present tensions, senseless and unhealthy rivalries will be reduced. It will effectively weaken the current overreaching of Nigerian political Islam. Once Nigeria is divided the areas that are currently Islamic flashpoints will become diffused. Similar situations as obtain in countries like Niger Republic, Chad Republic and others will prevail in these places. This will be so because when there is less tension coming from inter-religious clashes in an area it becomes easier to manage the intra-religious ones. There are also fewer tendencies for the resentment and tension to spillover to other distant and unrelated societies as being witnessed today where Nigerians of Yoruba ethnic people who are now increasingly becoming more radicalized in Islamic faith are exporting the terror to other lands.

 ( Osita Ebiem is a Biafran citizen and the Sri Lanka Guardian's special correspondent on Nigeria. He can be reached at ositaebiem@yahoo.com )