Tyrants tend to disarm their citizens before they unleash slaughter upon them. They use state power to confiscate the private weapons of their people to render them vulnerable and defenceless. That started happening in earnest in Nigeria in early 2018 when the Police chief, IGP Ibrahim Idris, directed state Commissioners of Police to immediately disarm militias in their states. By “militias” he really meant community vigilante groups and traditional hunters. This directive was met with much public condemnation, but their objections were ignored. Disturbingly, IGP Idris, a Fulani, was quite silent on whether his directive would apply to Fulani herdsmen known to carry sophisticated weapons, namely AK47s, and accused of killing indigenous peoples across the country.
Police chief Idris had made it clear which document had empowered him to issue his directive. It was the imposed and illegitimate 1999 Constitution. Idris had said,
“… No State government in this country has the responsibility to approve prohibited firearms to any Nigerian under any guise.
And I think it is the responsibility of CP’s of commands to put close watch to the activities of some of these governors that are arming individuals against the laws of this country.
All of us are aware about these prohibited firearms.
You cannot give approval to any individual to own a pistol. You cannot give an approval to any individual to own an AK-47, rifle.
These are prohibited weapons and only the government has that authority to give that approval…”
(Source: “Police IG, Idris Declares War On Vigilantes, Militias In Nigeria”, Daily Post, 02/02/2018)
We know that several genocides had been preceded by gun control and gun confiscation. The Ottoman Empire, today’s Turkey, spent two years killing Armenians, a mainly Christian people after first disarming them to make them defenceless. Armenians needed government permission in order to carry guns, and were “rigorously prohibited from possessing firearms.”
Similarly, Jews in Nazi Germany had been ordered to hand in their guns. Once disarmed and defenceless, Kristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass) took place. Nazi mobs attacked Jews, killed many, and destroyed their businesses and Synagogues. Jews were blamed, and 30,000 were sent to concentration camps. Life conditions worsened for Jews in Germany as Hitler’s “Final Solution” of genocide was carried out.
In the Rwandan genocide of 1994, Hutus began arming themselves and observers could see that something sinister and deadly was about to happen. When the time came, Hutus started to slaughter the mainly unarmed Tutsi civilians. In just 100 days between 800,000 – 1 million Tutsis were massacred.
In Nigeria, various foreign observers have analysed what is going on, and their views coincide with what Nigerians can see is happening, and are experiencing. Using just one example, in December 2019, renown French philosopher- writer Bernard-Henri Lévy having visited Nigeria warned that, “A slow-motion war is under way… It’s a massacre of Christians, massive in scale and horrific in brutality.” He described the perpetrators as “Fulani raiders” and “Fulani extremists” in his article titled, “The New War Against Africa’s Christians” published in the respected Wall Street Journal. He mentions “Fulanization” where a village originally belonging to indigenous Christians had been taken over by nomadic Fulani, who now claimed the land as theirs.
To appreciate the Fulani menace to Nigerian communities, here is more from Lévy:
“…Westerners here depict the Fulani extremists as an extended, rampant Boko Haram. An American humanitarian says the Fulani recruit volunteers to serve internships in Borno State, where Boko Haram is active. Another says Boko Haram “instructors” have been spotted in Bauchi, another northeastern state, where they are teaching elite Fulani militants to handle more-sophisticated weapons that will replace their machetes. Yet whereas Boko Haram are confined to perhaps 5% of Nigerian territory, the Fulani terrorists operate across the country.
Villagers west of Jos show the weapons they use to defend themselves: bows, slings, daggers, sticks, leather whips, spears. Even these meager arms have to be concealed. When the army comes through after the attacks, soldiers tell the villagers their paltry weapons are illegal and confiscate them.
Several times I note the proximity of a military base that might have been expected to protect civilians. But the soldiers didn’t come; or, if they did, it was only after the battle; or they claimed not to have received the texted SOS calls in time, or not to have had orders to respond, or to have been delayed on an impassable road…”
What Lévy describes has been corroborated by witnesses and surviving victims, plus by several UK and USA government reports and hearings. The countrywide killings by armed Fulani herdsmen and Islamist terrorists is happening when Nigeria has a Fulani majority in government leadership positions and they head essential national civil service agencies. Critically, the heads of all security services are Fulani. Not surprisingly, the Fulani-led central government denies all accusations of ongoing genocide. However, leaders whose people are facing the slaughter such as retired Brigadier General David Mark (former Senator) and retired Air Commodore Jonah Jang (former Senator) have insisted that a genocide is happening after the massacres of Agatu, and Barkin-Ladi respectively. In addition, former defence minister and retired Lieutenant General T.Y. Danjuma called the killings “ethnic cleansing,” and charged Nigerians, especially Christians to defend themselves, saying, “If you depend on the armed forces to protect you, you will all die.”
More recently, Newsweek’s article of 21st June 2021, titled, “Why the West Ignores the Nigerian Genocide” stated,
“…The Fulani are cattle herdsmen working with Boko Haram, a radical Islamist group intent on ridding Nigeria of Christians.”
That assertion matches up with the Fulani agenda declared by Bello, a Fulani and Premier of the Northern Region in 1960, when he said that Nigeria would be an “estate” of the Fulani and the south would be a “conquered territory” whose people would never be able to control their future. The 1999 Constitution, a forgery imposed on Nigerians and with suspect origins, does just that. It empowers the stated Fulani agenda, and is being used to execute genocide against the indigenous peoples. That has been made easy by using the 1999 Constitution to disarm the people, since only the security agencies can carry arms and ammunition. Under Buhari, a Fulani, all heads of security agencies are also Fulani.
Nigerians must obviously repel the Fulani, settlers and immigrants who are intent on killing them in order to grab their lands. Indigenous peoples of the South and Middle Belt formed an Alliance, the NINAS Movement so will ACTIVATE their right to armed self-defence, denied them in the imposed illegitimate 1999 Constitution. Having already Repudiated that Constitution by Declaration of Constitutional Force Majeure on 16th December 2020, the right to armed self-defence is achieved by insisting that preparations to general elections in 2023 be stopped since the peoples no longer tolerate living under the conditions spelled out in that Constitution, and will not renew its life which is what elections do.
Ndidi Uwechue is a British citizen with Igbo heritage from the Lower Niger Bloc. She is a retired Metropolitan (London) Police Officer, she is a signatory to the Constitutional Force Majeure, and she writes from Abuja.