I’m against self-help but…—Obadiah Mailafia
At a prime time television programme on Tuesday, erudite economist and stakeholders in Southern Kaduna, Dr Obadiah Mailafia, could not hold back tears. as he narrated ongoing the grueling scenario in the area that has apparently become a threatre of war and persecution. SUNDAY ADEPOJU, who monitored the interview on the privately owned Silverbird TV, Lagos, brings the excerpts:
The government seems unwilling to come to the help of its people which, by the way, is the primary responsibility of the government. Not only do they not protect the people, they actually occasionally come in and mop up with little bows and arrows and then guns and cutlasses that the local communities have….. And immediately when they leave, then the bandits come and continue their genocide on the people.
The laws of our country make the right to self defence and legal duty. If somebody is coming to take your life and the lives of your children, wife, your mother and father, the laws of Nigeria allow you to resort to self-help in defending your life and the lives of your family. This is what the law states. So, legally and constitutionally, the people have the right to defend themselves. Secondly, natural justice is a universal law. If a tiger or leopard is coming to attack your child, you have the duty to stop the tiger from devouring child. It’s a natural universal law. International law accords communities the right to strive for their survival and the right as well as the moral duty to take a step as necessary to safeguard and secure their communities. There is also global norm and moral ethics. Global norm and moral ethics allow communities that face imminent danger to act in a context where the government is either unwilling or unable to come to their defence.
So, this is the situation we are getting into. I wouldn’t say people should start carrying their guns to be hunting trooping all over the place. I don’t….. The Fulani have lived with us since ancient times in an almost symbiotic relationship. There have been intermarriages. We speak in the native language, fully integrated. But today, we are faced with armed militias. I will say most of the militias, 70% of them, are from foreign countries. They are even Nigerians. We suspect they are part of a global Jihadist agenda to come and depopulate our people, dispossess them of their land, and take over their land. Like somebody said, the people of Southern Kaduna are what we call the Indigenous People. I will give one example: the Kagoma people. All the archeologists and historians have determined that these people have been living there in Kaduna actually since the beginning of civilisation and since the beginning of the world. This is because every research has been done to trace it and I am not a Kagoma person where they come from and there is no evidence that they ever came from anywhere. Same goes for our people in Sanga Local Government Area. They have indigenous people of the place since the time immemorial. We cannot go to Kano or Sokoto or Gusau fighting the locals there over land. They will ask you what a Sangan man looking for in Kano.
So, we are the only people who are not allowed to live peacefully in our own land. In the context of the government that has systematically disenfranchised as well as excluded our people from the mainstream of political participation. And they are not satisfied with that, the militias are coming to kill them, to rape them, to take over their land by force and torment them. This is the scenario playing on and international lawyers have no other definition for genocide. Genocide can be committed by groups, it can be committed by states and it is not just killing; it is actually trying to decimate a people’s identity and land is a vital component of that identity of our indigenous peoples.”
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