Tyrants tend to disarm their citizens before slaughtering them. They use the power of the state to confiscate the private weapons of their people in order to make them vulnerable and defenseless. It started in earnest in Nigeria in early 2018 when Police Chief IGP Ibrahim Idris ordered state police commissioners to immediately disarm militias in their states. By “militias” he really meant community self-defense groups and traditional hunters. This directive was met with much public condemnation, but their objections were ignored. Disturbingly, IGP Idris, a Peul, did not say whether his directive would apply to Fulani herders known to carry sophisticated weapons, namely the AK47s, and accused of killing indigenous peoples across the country.
Police chief Idris had clarified which document had empowered him to issue his directive. It was the 1999 Constitution imposed and illegitimate. Idris had said,
“… No state government in this country has the responsibility to approve prohibited firearms to a Nigerian in any form.
And I think it’s the responsibility of the command commands to closely monitor the activities of some of these governors who are arming individuals against the laws of this land.
We are all familiar with these prohibited firearms.
You cannot authorize a person to own a pistol. You cannot allow anyone to own an AK-47 rifle.
These are prohibited weapons and only the government has the power to give this approval… ”
(Source: “Police IG, Idris declares war on security guards, militias in Nigeria”, Daily Post, 02/02/2018)
We know that several genocides were preceded by arms control and the confiscation of arms. The Ottoman Empire, today’s Turkey, spent two years killing Armenians, a predominantly Christian people, after first disarming them to render them defenseless. Armenians needed government permission to carry firearms and were “strictly prohibited from owning firearms.”
Likewise, the Jews of Nazi Germany were ordered to surrender their weapons. Once disarmed and defenseless, Kristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass) took place. Nazi mobs attacked the Jews, killed many, and destroyed their businesses and synagogues. The Jews were blamed and 30,000 were sent to concentration camps. Living conditions for Jews in Germany deteriorated as the “final solution” to Hitler’s genocide was implemented.
During the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the Hutus began to arm themselves and observers could see that something sinister and deadly was about to happen. When the time came, the Hutus began to massacre the mostly unarmed Tutsi civilians. In just 100 days, between 800,000 and 1 million Tutsis were massacred.
In Nigeria, various foreign observers have analyzed what is happening and their views coincide with what Nigerians can see happening and experience. To cite just one example, in December 2019, the famous French philosopher-writer Bernard-Henri Lévy, who visited Nigeria, warned that “a slow-motion war is underway … It’s a massacre of Christians, on a massive scale and horribly brutal. He described the perpetrators as ‘Fulani plunderers’ and ‘Fulani extremists’ in his article titled ‘The New War Against Christians in Africa’ published in the respected Wall Street Journal. He mentions ‘Fulanization’ where a village originally belonging to native Christians had been taken over by nomadic Peuls, who now claimed the land as their own.
To appreciate the Fulani threat hanging over Nigerian communities, here is more from Lévy:
“… Westerners here describe the Fulani extremists as a widespread and endemic Boko Haram. An American humanitarian claims that the Fulani are recruiting volunteers for internships in Borno State, where Boko Haram is active. Another claims that Boko Haram “instructors” have been spotted in Bauchi, another northeastern state, where they are teaching elite Fulani militants to use more sophisticated weapons that will replace their machetes. Yet while Boko Haram is confined to perhaps 5% of Nigerian territory, Fulani terrorists operate across the country.
Villagers west of Jos show off the weapons they use in self-defense: bows, slingshots, daggers, sticks, leather whips, spears. Even these meager weapons must be hidden. When the army arrives after the attacks, the soldiers tell the villagers that their paltry weapons are illegal and confiscate them.
I note on several occasions the proximity of a military base which one might have expected to protect civilians. But the soldiers did not come; or, if they did, it was only after the battle; or they claimed not to have received the text SOS calls in time, or not to have received an order to answer, or to have been delayed on an impassable road… ”
What Lévy describes has been corroborated by witnesses and surviving victims, as well as by several reports and hearings of the British and American government. The nationwide killings of armed Fulani herdsmen and Islamist terrorists come as Nigeria has a Fulani majority in senior government positions and head of key national civil service agencies. Above all, the heads of all the security services are Fulani. Unsurprisingly, the Fulani-led central government denies all pending charges of genocide. However, leaders whose people are facing the massacre, such as retired Brigadier General David Mark (former Senator) and retired Air Commodore Jonah Jang (former Senator) have insisted that genocide occurs after the massacres of Agatu and Barkin-Ladi respectively. In addition, former defense minister and retired lieutenant general TY Danjuma called the killings “ethnic cleansing” and instructed Nigerians, especially Christians, to defend themselves, saying: “If you depend armed forces to protect you, you will all die. “
More recently, the Newsweek article from June 21, 2021, titled “Why the West Ignores the Nigerian Genocide” stated:
“… The Fulani are cattle ranchers who work with Boko Haram, a radical Islamist group determined to rid Nigeria of Christians.
This statement corresponds to the Fulani agenda declared by Bello, a Fulani and prime minister of the northern region in 1960, when he declared that Nigeria would be a “domain” of the Peuls and that the south would be a “conquered territory”. which the people would never be able to control their future. This is exactly what the 1999 Constitution does, a forgery imposed on Nigerians and of suspicious origins. It reinforces the declared Fulani agenda and is used to carry out genocide against indigenous peoples. This was made easy by using the 1999 Constitution to disarm the people, since only security agencies can transport arms and ammunition. Under Buhari, a Peul, all the heads of security agencies are also Peuls.
Nigerians obviously have to push back the Fulani, settlers and immigrants who intend to kill them in order to take over their land. The indigenous peoples of the South and the Middle Belt have formed an Alliance, the NINAS Movement will therefore ACTIVATE their right to armed self-defense, which is denied to them in the illegitimate Constitution imposed in 1999. Having already repudiated this Constitution by declaration of force constitutional major on December 16, 2020, the right to armed self-defense is achieved by insisting on stopping preparations for the legislative elections of 2023 since the peoples no longer tolerate living under the conditions set out in this Constitution, and will not renew its life, what elections do.
Ndidi Uwechue is a British citizen of Igbo origin from the Lower Niger Bloc. She is a retired Metropolitan Police Officer (London), a signatory of the Constitutional Force Majeure and she writes from Abuja.