Comfort ye my people

IN late nineteenth century pre-revolutionary Russia, we are told of a dozen men that were lined up to be executed for opposing the Tsar. As the executioners got set with their guns to begin action, an emissary from the royal palace suddenly turned up at the very last minute to announce a pardon. When the prisoners were untied from the stakes, several of them were found to be already dead. This sordid tale has some analogy to what is happening to our collective psyche in connection with the Ruga saga. Although the government was forced to retract from the dangerously ill-conceived, hare-brained scheme, the shock is irreparable. There may have been a reprieve from the executioners, but the damage already wrecked on a traumatised people will take years to be assuaged, if ever at all.

When a government forms the habit of taking its people to the edges of the Niagara Falls of history, there comes a time when the mind gives up. When the collective mind gives up, there will no longer be a sane people to deal with. There will only be angry madmen. The anger people feel today is frightening and unprecedented. The Ruga scam, in metaphorical terms, was conceived by an illegitimate father and was born by the daughter of a whore. It is the bastard progeny of satanic parents who wish Nigeria ill in every material particular.

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More than 40,000 Nigerians have been killed by shadowy so-called herdsmen militias. Most of these killers are foreigners. Those of us who speak the inimitable Hausa language are conversant with its subtleties and nuances. We know the urbane ring of Hausan Kano when we hear it. We know the cosmopolitan panache of Hausan Jos and Hausan Bauchi. We know the musicality of Hausan Adamawa and Hausan Borno. And we know the intellectuality of Hausan Katsina and Hausan Zazzau and the enchanting rusticity of Hausan Sakwatto. Hausan Niger, everybody knows, is quite raw and alien-sounding. When the alien killers speak, we know who they are and where they come. They are not Nigerians. They have deliberately been imported to come and kill, steal and destroy. Only aliens can kill with such mindless venom and crude heartlessness. It is no surprise that an international human rights organisation describes them as “the second most dangerous terrorist organisation in the world.”

These are the same people that we are being forced to accommodate through the leprous Ruga policy. Under international law, anybody who enters your territory illegally bearing arms is, ipso facto, an enemy combatant. Arming shadowy bandits and sending them across the border amounts to a declaration of war under the norms and conduct of international politics in our age. For our government to now demand of us to turn over large chunks of our territory to these aliens to settle permanently among us is not only illegal and unconstitutional; it is patently unconscionable and decidedly treasonable.

The Land Use Act 1978 reposes all the land of our country in the communities that own them. They hold such lands in trust for their ancestors and children yet unborn as has been the culture and tradition of the African peoples since time immemorial. Under our constitution the Governor of the State is merely a trustee and overseer of those communal lands. Government can commandeer such lands for projects of a public nature. But they are required to adequately consult the communities involved and to offer adequate compensation. The Federal Government of Nigeria under our constitution has no land anywhere to hand over to aliens. The Ruga policy and the procedures for its implementation is, therefore, a gross violation of the grundnorm that defines our civil association.

Only idiots who are ignorant of the first principles of jurisprudence can play with fire in such a reckless manner. The simple truth is that any government that violates its own laws with such impunity denies itself of all moral as well as legal legitimacy. The state since Aristotle, Kautilya and Ibn Khaldun has existed only because people hand over their rights to it in exchange for protection and security. When the state no longer serves the interests of the people it forfeits its rights to be obeyed. It is St. Augustine of Hippo who taught that an unjust law is no law. The English political philosopher John Locke also taught that a people reserve the right to rebel against immoral and unjust laws. Since Rousseau and Thomas Jefferson, the right to rebel against injustice, illegality and oppression is a sacrosanct right of all peoples under the imperatives of natural law, social justice and good conscience.

The long-term strategic objective of these people is to effect a massive population influx that would change the ethnic geomorphology of our society and to prepare the way by which power would forever reside in one side of the country to the detriment of all the others. In many parts of the Middle Belt, the armed militias have razed down and taken over hundreds villages and systematically repopulated with their own people. It is a brutal strategy anchored on military conquest, land dispossession and hegemony. Much of it is being done with the connivance of the state governments.

The Adara community in Southern Kaduna, for example, have been on the receiving end of the most inhuman and despotic persecution known in the annals of our history. Last year their king was kidnapped and a ransom demanded on his head. After the ransom was paid they still went ahead to assassinate him in the most heinous manner. When the elders raised their voices against this calamitous injustice, they were rounded up and imprisoned. They were only released recently after spending several months in detention. The reign of fear has taken over our homesteads. Hunger and poverty have become the grim reality of our people. Many peasant farmers can no longer attend to their farms because of the fear of being killed. Meanwhile, soldiers have been sent into those territories to disarm our people of their pathetic dane guns, bows and arrows. The bandits have taken over our roads and forests, springs and lush farmlands. They have become the new owner-occupiers of our beautiful ancestral savannah homeland. We who were never conquered in history have become a conquered people through subterfuge, chicanery and duplicity.

We read in the press recently that the Federal Government has given a six-month ultimatum to all irregular migrants to regularise their residency in Nigeria. I think we have long gone past that. If we were living in an atmosphere of civility and peace, that decree would have been of some import. There cannot be any genuine conversation with aliens who have encroached into our territorial jurisdiction with guns and bayonets. There can never be any question of “regularisation” in respect of such criminal elements.  ECOWAS protocols patently do not cover those who cross the border bearing illegal arms. Murderers, as far as I am concerned, have no entitlement to justice.

And ye shall know them by their fruits. The children of evil can only churn out evil policies. But the law of karma is universal and unforgiving. Those who live by the sword will sooner or later perish by the sword. And those who sow to the wind, will, by the slow but inexorable arc of justice, reap the whirlwind. The souls of the holy martyrs are crying daily at heaven’s gate, demanding recompense. History has a way of settling its blood accounts with those that have used their power to oversee the slaughter of unarmed, defenceless women and children. They may deliberately try to render us poor and desolate, but our glory will shine even brighter than the sun. After the long night of ignominy, Nigeria will rise again. And the glory shall be the Lord’s.