In his usual anti-South sentiments, Nasir el-Rufai, a Fulani opinion leader and Governor of Kaduna State, has again made extenuating arguments that seem to portray Boko Haram terrorists and bandits as less harmful to Nigeria than the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and its leader, Nnamdi Kanu. According to him, Bandits don’t have a recognised and centralised leadership. He said Kanu is a visible and central leader, based abroad and calling for the dissolution of the country.
Governor el-Rufai said this in an interview on BBC Pidgin on Friday morning. He made the comments while responding to a frequently asked question by worried Nigerians, asking why the bandits and terrorists in the North are not being treated with the same swiftness that agitators in the southern parts face.
According to el-Rufai, “I was very happy (when Nnamdi Kanu was arrested) because, first he jumped bail, jeopardising his sureties.
“Secondly, this is a person that challenges the sovereignty and the authority of a state and incites violence; he refers to his own country as a zoo.
This should be a message to all these separatists challenging the authority of the Nigerian State to be very careful.”
Asked about handling Boko Haram and bandits with the same swiftness, he said: “No! No! No! No! People are comparing apples to oranges.
“Nnamdi Kanu is the leader of IPOB, a proscribed organisation. He is identifiable, in constant communication and everyone knows where he is.
“Let’s take Boko Haram for instance. Shekau was in hiding and for the past 10 years and the military had been waging a war to get him.
“It is not like Shekau was in Saudi Arabia, sitting in one place, tweeting about the break up of Nigeria or asking Boko Haram to go and kill Helen and Nasir el-Rufai.
“Nnamdi Kanu is in one place while Shekau is waging guerrilla warfare. The insurgency is still going on and the federal government is not giving up.
“Regarding bandits, they are not centralised under one leadership. Who is the head of the bandits? Who is the equivanlent of Nmandi Kanu with banditry?
“Bandits are just collections of independent criminals. It is a business for them. It is not a case of Nigeria must break up.
“I want to challenge anyone to tell me the central leader of bandits in the same position as Kanu.”
With this kind of hollow rationalisation, El-Rufai is simply fanning the embars of discontent in Nigeria. How on earth would the Kaduna state governor not know that a diffused war is more destructive and difficult to win than one that’s pitched, with a central authority.
Is it possible that Governor El-Rufai has forgotten so quickly that Boko Haram, not too long ago, occupied and declared a substantial part of the Northeast as a separate entity carved out of Nigeria, with their flag hoisted. Was that not a treasonable felony.
The learned governor is, no doubt aware also that the Northeast is perhaps, the most economically, socially and educationally devastated than any other part of Nigeria. This is occasioned by Boko Haram activities since 2009, aided and abetted by Northern politicians and financiers. Gun running is so rampant in the North that ordinary cattle rearers equip themselves with AK-47 assault rifles.
El-Rufai should rather remove the beam in his own eyes before pointing accusing fingers. He should think of how to strike a balance between the colonising Fulani minority in Northern Kaduna and the vast majority of subjugated ethnic groups in the South.