FOMER Governor of Kaduna State and Chairman of Movement for Unity and Progress (MUP), Colonel Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (rtd) has warned against calls by Southern Leaders that their people in the North should vacate the region following attacks by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
Umar, in a three-page statement issued in Kaduna yesterday, pointed out that any mass exodus of Nigerians from the north, or south, to their places of origin would amount to working into the plans by Boko Haram to promote the dismemberment of Nigeria, a situation which must be resisted by patriotic Nigerians.
Colonel Umar (rtd) argued: “Boko Haram’s ambition of creating a climate of fear, terror and panic ahead of their plan to re-invent Nigeria, seem close to reality.
“A visitor to some of the major cities in northern Nigeria – Kano, Bauchi, Maiduguri, Kaduna and so on — will be forgiven to conclude that Nigeria is at war. Indeed, every passing day brings heart-rending stories of cruel killings from Boko Haram‘s bombs and explosions with panic-stricken citizens running from pillar to post”.
Besides, the former governor noted that “with police and military check-points conducting widespread stop-and-search everywhere, the scenario of a nation at war is hardly disputable”, saying “there are many issues that the Boko Haram insurgency has thrown up which cannot be easily addressed; some have no solutions at all”.
For example, he explained, “ Boko Haram say their prime goal is to impose Shari’a Law throughout Northern Nigeria; in other words, they are seeking to dismantle this country as we know it and to create another in which they alone will rule.
“But we have also been told that they want to eradicate decadence, corruption and injustice in our body politics. And so on. Yet, whatever it is that Boko Haram want to achieve or create, one thing they seem to be doing rather well now is setting the various groups in Nigeria one against the other”.
“One day, Boko Haram say they are killing Christians because Christians are killing Muslims; another day, they say they will drive southerners out of the North because southerners are sending Northerners out of the South; yet, another day, Boko Haram would say they are fighting the government because government leaders and agents are corrupt and unjust, and so on.”
“After that, they will stand aside and watch with glee as the different groups engage each other in mutual blame and recrimination. Despite all this, what is clear and what we all see is that Boko Haram remains on the offensive and their bombs do not discriminate between friends and foe, notwithstanding their propaganda.
“And in the face of the generalised climate of fear, apprehensions and mistrust, people respond in ways that are neither calm nor measured, precisely the type of reaction that pleases Boko Haram. This has to change. People of goodwill everywhere must beware of the nature of the problems we are facing and should say or do nothing that will help the aggressor.”
Umar, however, urged religious leaders, leaders of ethnic or regional groups and politicians at all levels to “step back and ponder the role they have wittingly or unwittingly played in the successes Boko Haram has recorded in it’s bloody campaign to destabilise Nigeria”, adding that “one particularly unhelpful reaction came from certain Igbo leaders who advised their kinsmen in the wake of the onslaught by Boko Haram to move out of Northern Nigeria and to return to their ancestral homes in the east.”
He continued: “clearly, such advise, apart from playing into the hands of the insurgents, is a wanton infringement of the civic and legal rights of the people. An Igbo, Urhobo, Efamai, Ekwere etc. living in Damaturu, Minna, Zonkwa or Yola are bonafide citizens of these cities as are Kanuri, Tiv, Nupe or Hausafulani living in Port Harcourt, Umuahia, Onitsha or Shagamu”.
“This is a right our Constitution has prescribed; a right no one, not even temporary difficulties, should take away. Besides, certain situations make such ideas utterly anachronistic if not entirely illogical.