By Bala Ibrahim
The recent move by some mischief makers, to further plunge Nigeria into a supplementary crisis, through the addition of ethnicity into the existing calamity of the country, has woken up the conscience of some concerned Fulanis, who were quick to commission a law firm to act on their behalf, by alerting the corporate affairs commission about an impending danger.
For whatever reason, some people have applied to the commission, seeking permission to operate as a church, but under the name, CHURCH OF FULANIS FOR CHRIST MINISTRY. Their mission is perceived to be culturally harmful and religiously fraudulent.
According to the law firm of S.M. JAJI & CO, they have been briefed by the Fulani community in Abuja, to act on their behalf, by reaching out to the corporate affairs commission to protest against the submission of some people for registration under the name, CHURCH OF FULANIS FOR CHRIST MINISTRY.
Aside other reasons of cultural conflict, the concerned Abuja fulanis opined that, permitting the formation of such a church is capable of causing disaffection and disruption of the already fragile peace in the society.
The legal practitioners drew the attention of the corporate affairs commission to the fact that, there is no church or mosque in Nigeria, that the name is registered directly and linked to a particular tribe or ethnic group, and so doing that would infringe on the fundamental rights of all fulanis in the world.
Although S.M.JAJI and CO. limited their grounds for the rejection of the application to the fundamental rights of all fulanis in the world, other Nigerians may expand the ground to the intention of creating an ethnic conflict between various groups in Nigeria particularly, and the African sub region generally.
It is a fact that, cultural conflicts can best be created and exacerbated where religion is used as the basis of promotion, more so, in a multireligious and multicultural country like Nigeria.
Any conflict between two or more ethnic groups, can easily go beyond control if religion is the source. Political, social, economic or individuals factors may be exploited to fuel the conflict, by coercing vulnerable ethnic groups into believing it’s a fight for them to gain better position in the society.
Since 2002, when Mohammed Yusuf founded the Boko Haram sect in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state in the north east, by using religion to attract poor Muslim families from across Nigeria and neighbouring countries, total peace has vacated the region, and things refused to be the same again in Nigeria. Yusuf’s arrest by the police and his subsequent extra judicial execution elevated him to a hero.
The initial objective of Boko Haram is the establishment of an Islamic State under Shariah law in Nigeria, but the secondary and hidden objective is the wider imposition of Islamic rule beyond Nigeria.
As at today, the Boko Haram conflict has resulted in the death of over one million people, with the sect claiming to have killed over 10,00 people. More than 3 million people were displaced by the conflict, where an estimated 300,000 left Nigeria and fled to Cameroon, Chad or Niger.
So beyond asking the corporate affairs commission to reject the application of these architects of anarchy, the government must rise to the occasion, by instructing the security agencies to go proactive.
Those behind the planned church must be invited to come forward and shade more light on their overall motives, particularly now that banditry is increasingly earning the fulani tribe a bad name.
If the plan is to plunge the country into a tribal war that kills, with consequences that may extend far beyond deaths in the battle, these people must be made to bear the brunt of such repercussion.
They need to know that armed conflict often leads to forced migration, long-term refugee problems, with attendant destruction on infrastructure and permanent damage to social, political, and economic institutions.
In Katsina state alone, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, reports have it that more than 500 people were killed by bandits between January and May this year, while the security agents are said to have recovered countless weapons from them.
Yes, there is every reason to suspect a mission by the applicants, to fraudulently fulanize Nigeria’s crisis, through the use of culture and religion.