Ongoing Ethnic Cleansing in Middle Belt Is Continuation of Islamist Jihad Began by Uthman Dan Fodio – Says an Englishman
This YouTube video contains the interview with an Englishman who had lived in Nigeria in the 1970’s. The interviewee was asked to elucidate the ongoing crises in the country, especially the violence, mass killings and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous ethnic nationalities inhabiting the Middle Belt zone of Nigeria. The interviewee, who did not disclose his name, considered it extremely important that people should disabuse their minds of the convenient explication of the ongoing crises as being caused by perennial herdsmen/farmers conflicts fueled by climate change which accelerated the southward advance of the Sahara Desert. As far as the Englishman is concerned, the well-targeted killings and associated dislocation of the indigenous peoples from their ancestral lands are a continuation of the Islamist jihad which was commenced by Sheikh Uthman Dan Fodio 200 years ago.
Before the Whiteman’s arrival in Northern Nigeria, the western half of Arewa land had been overrun and conquered during the Islamist jihad led by Uthman Dan Fodio (1804-1808). The jihad was less successful in the vast territories of the Middle Belt where widely dispersed ethnic nationalities remained out of reach of the mujahideen up till the arrival of Frederick Lugard’s army of conquest from the South. The interviewee contends that Britain’s colonization of Nigeria was the best thing that happened to the spread of Islam in the country. British Colonial Office sought to administer its newly acquired territories in Nigeria on the cheap. So, Frederick Lugard was authorized to get into a deal with the Fulani oligarchy that had administrative control over the Islamic Sokoto Caliphate despite the fact that its standing army had been thoroughly defeated in battle. The British came up with the now-infamous indirect-rule arrangement with the Sokoto Caliphate which granted administrative and governance powers to the Emirates while suzerainty over the whole of Northern Nigeria remained with the British Crown.
With this agreement, the Fulani Islamists exploited the new British colonial imprimatur to penetrate into all parts of Northern Nigeria and the Middle Belt which used to be beyond their control. The tenuous hold on Ilorin City in the western axis was affirmed thereby making that relatively new Fulani outpost a full-fledged Islamic Emirate under the British colonial rule. It thus makes a lot of sense when the interviewee’s asserted that “the British enabled the spread of Islam in Nigeria”. Before then, Moslem merchants that ventured far south into Tiv land would surely lose their lives to the hostile natives who were quite protective of their ancestral terrain. With the cover of British colonial power, the Sokoto Caliphate went ahead to found new Emirates in the eastern and central parts of the Middle Belt without expending even a drop of sweat.
While Frederick Lugard established the precedent of keeping the Christian missionaries out of most of Northern Nigeria under the administrative rule of the Islamic Sokoto Caliphate, the Fulani aristocracy in-charge was allowed to spread its wings wherever they chose to throughout the North. The British colonial policies helped in entrenching violent Wahhabi Salafi Muslims in the governance of Northern Nigeria.
Islam is supposed to be the religion of peace. But peace only prevails in territories that are under the full domination and control of the Wahhabist Salafi Muslims at the helm of Sokoto Caliphate. The peace of Islam stops at the Caliphate’s boundary; elsewhere is regarded as the zone for WAR. That has always been the rationale for the jihad. To minders of the Sokoto Islamic Caliphate, who constitute the Fulani aristocracy, only the 12 Sharia states of the Arewa North shall know peace while elsewhere in the Middle Belt and Southern Nigeria are considered to be the zones for war of conquest.