Article written

  • on 03.05.2013
  • at 04:54 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

Nigeria: Finding answers beyond Kano bus bombing 0

Kano as an important commercial city in Nigeria’s Islamic North also serves as gateway to some of Nigeria’s northern neighbours. Countries like Niger, Chad and beyond have for centuries shared with the city lucrative business relationships. In the course of this time the people have established many trade routes across this harsh environment of the Sahara.

The routes run from Kano and extend all the way to the northernmost parts of North Africa to places like Sudan, Libya, Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula. Some few hundred years back Arabian Islam penetrated the city and its surrounding areas through these trading routes and replaced the once glorious indigenous NOK Culture that flourished throughout most of what is today’s Northern Nigeria and further south to the valleys and highlands of the Benue-Plateau region. With the ease and continuous cultural infiltration of these parts by the Arabs (Fulani) the city and other parts of northern Nigeria have always been heavily influenced by events and some of the most violent doctrines coming out of the Islamic lands of the Middle East.

It is therefore not surprising that Kano, since the recent worldwide revival of violent expansionist Islam and its spread through the holy jihad, is at the forefront of the campaign. Kano boasts several wealthy, powerful and influential Muslim individuals and families in Northern Nigeria. Names like Dantata, Isiaku Rabiu, Chachangi, the ruling families such as Bayeros and Sanusis, a host of both serving and retired military generals and the nouveau riche Dangote, are good examples. These noted multi-millionaires are known to be very generous donors to Islamic causes. It is also interesting to note that accusing fingers have often been pointed in the direction of these powerful individuals, insisting that on many occasions their donations have been channelled, with the complicit knowledge of these donors, into footing the bills of the various jihads carried out by the Islamic fundamentalists to cleanse the North of Nigeria of what they term ‘infidel-pollutants of the religion’.

Demystifying the Femme fatale quality of one Nigeria over Igbo people

In the last six to seven decades Kano and its neighbouring areas have remained one of the most dangerous hotspots of Islamic jihadist fundamentalists the south of Saharan Africa. As far as anyone can remember, even predating the colonial time, Kano and the other parts of northern Nigeria have strived to maintain pure Islam through the cleansing of the land of persons that they consider polluting agents of the religion – non-believers in Islam. However, one important paradox that Kano and most of the other parts of Nigeria other than the Southeast hold on especially the people from Southeast is the quality of being fatally repulsive and irresistibly attractive at the same time; something akin to the femme fatale lore. On the surface when anyone tries rationalizing this seemingly simple logic they are tempted to posit that when a people have been rejected by others then they should be able to retreat to their own home place where they can live among themselves without the fear of being completely annihilated by their neighbours. But as we shall see in the course of this discussion this femme fatale appeal of Nigerian parts other than the Southeast region is not an accident but pure administrative/political design of the federal government of Nigeria and its allies.

Igbo people and other Southeastern peoples of Nigeria who are largely Christians, Animists or Traditional African Religionists, have always been attracted in large numbers to Kano and places outside their own because of the city’s and others’ substantially lucrative commercial activities. Because Igbo people are the dominant migrants and typically represent what the Northerners consider the infidels, Igbo people therefore are always the worst hit when such Islamic jihads get carried out. Usually very large numbers of Igbo population of children, their parents, uncles and aunts get killed by the jihadists whenever there are any terrorist explosions. Only recently, in 2012 it was reported that as many as three million Igbo people who were anxious to get out and return to their ancestral home in the Southeast were stranded in Kano in the heat of one of the several jihadists’ onslaughts against non-indigenes and non-believers in Islam.

Like we have explained, Kano is not the only part of Nigeria other than their native homeland that has held this massive migratory attraction to Igbo people and their fellow Southeasterners in spite of the atrocious and unjustifiable hatred, persecution and death they receive from their host communities. And the simple argument has always been, why anyone would continue to embrace and go back again and again to those that hate and harm them? The question does sound quite logical at a superficial level. But when this fatalistic behaviour is considered in the light of what Karl Marx, the 19th century German philosopher, calls ‘economic determinism’ then it becomes easier to at least rationalize it with some sort of ‘excusable understanding’. In practical terms it is believed, based on Marx’s logic, that the state of one’s economic situation will decide to a very large extent the decisions and actions the people will take. And this seems to be the case with Igbo people and others who are inexcusably paying with their lives for the sustenance of a hopeless one-Nigeria.

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By Osita Ebiem – Pambazuka News

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