By Barrister Nura Sunusi
For some misguided individuals and those who consume everything online hook, line and sinker, David Hundeyin’s ‘Cornflakes for Jihad: The Origin of Boko Haram Story’, which he and his cohorts call ‘investigation’, would have been left to die a natural death like many before it. However, if allowed unchallenged, lies may be sold as truth, and the world will be blind. And those who know will not allow this. Besides, Hundeyin’s story is packed with journalistic chicanery of epic proportion.
Hundeyin’s sole aim was to push the lies he concocted down the throat of his readers/audiences. This is my concern. It is for this, I believe, such intellectual dishonesty has to be stamped out completely.
One cannot give what they do not have. Before I go far, Hundeyin deserves some quick bath; then let me stripe him naked first.
An Annang Christian ‘journalist’ from Akwa Ibom State in the South-South, Hundeyin is utterly ignorant of the vast northern region and its intentional predicates: background, history, language, culture, religion, etc. At this point, it is instructive to note that Hundeyin is not a lone walker in the use of this pure sophistry. There are some people in our midst toeing this path.
Izala, particularly Alhaji Shahru, Sheikh Yakubu Musa, Isa Pantami and other personalities belonging to the religious body, have been a target of a sustained campaign of calumny for its ability to bestride the earthly and heavenly with such ease. Of particular is a Nigerian ‘historian’, mind the quotation marks, who teaches at an American University.
This confused dude like Hundeyin has been at the forefront of this campaign for some time. Had he been allowed, he would have formed an empire, which modus operandi is to silence and blackmail the most peaceful, 40-year-old registered religious organization in Nigeria. About two years ago, perhaps long before that, the said ‘historian’ raised a finger in this corridor, and some intelligently educated youths called his bluff. He left mentally wounded.
I have learnt that Hundeyin’s hit-and-run piece has struck the ‘historian’, who has been mum all this while like a spent horse, as an energizer.
My perception of this saga is this: since those folks had test-flied this campaign severally and woefully failed, now Hundeyin is hired to try his luck and dead is his attempt on arrival.
That notwithstanding, to set the record straight, Hundeyin‘s piece deserves some response, which I give below, stitching facts and figures. Then let us take it one at a time.
Nomenclature of terrorism
First, the blurry line demarcating what terrorism is and what it is not, who is a terrorist and who is not is, is one of the factors breathing life into liars like David Hundeyin.
Although I intend to restrict this piece to Alhaji Shahru Haruna’s side of the argument, I will touch on some of the issues Hundeyin raised in his article to unravel the intricacies involved.
Hundeyin is overzealously blind in the sense that every passing picture of Islam or a Muslim forms in his mind a mental image of what he calls terrorism or terrorist. No wonder! Nigeria is full of academically certified but ignorant people. We will see this in the subsequent paragraphs.
Nigeria is not an opponent of GSPC
GSPC stands for “Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et le Combat” (Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat). According to Wikipedia, GSPC was an armed Islamic group UNTIL 2004!
The group had only one opponent, which was not Nigeria, but Algeria. Therefore, how did Alhaji Shahru Haruna or Sheikh Yakubu Musa become the GSPC’s agents?
Politics of origin
The moment he tried to conjecture up a triangular of Izala, terrorism, which he barely understands, and finance, Hundeyin shot himself in the foot. His is a weak argument full of lacunas, fabricated evidence, and disjointed analogies. Is there anything hatred cannot drive one to do?
From Sheikh Abubakar Gumi to Alhaji Shahru Haruna, Sheikh Yakubu Musa to Isa Aliyu Pantami, the current minister of Communications and digital economy and others, Hundeyin has failed to come up with even a single irrefutable proof linking any of them with terrorism. Instead, his submission heavily relied on hearsay, including social media posts.
First, Izala’s deeply established manifestoes/objectives to non-politically strive and promote the pure teaching of Islam and proselytizing, which is acknowledged even by non-Muslims in the West, is for anyone to see.
Second, Izala’s leading figure, Sheihk Abubakar Gumi, the Grand Khadi of the Northern region of Nigeria between 1962 and 1967, was a champion of democracy. He encouraged Islamic and Western educations; and associated with upright political figures like Aminu Kano, Sa’adu Zungur and Sardauna of Sokoto.
Moreover, Izala is a progressive organization. It has established schools, libraries, hospitals, Islamic centres, and satellite TV stations, and now Assalam Global University in Jigawa is in the pipeline. Unlike its nemesis, its members participate in political activities, and they vote and are voted for into political offices. In addition, they are into academia and civil service.
In contrast, Boko Haram, which is the opposite, is an insurgent group engaged in continued rebellion against the constituted authority. The insurgent group ideology is rooted in a gross misinterpretation of Sunni and Salafi Islam, and it primarily attracts poorly educated and overzealous youths that lack even basic Islamic knowledge.
Where is the link?
Consequently, that in 2011 bombs went up at St. Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, a fringe of Abuja and Gadaka in Damaturu; and during the trial of one Kabiru Sokoto, a ‘masked’ witness testified that an Islamist group in Algeria provided funding and support worth N40,000,000 ($250,000 at the time) to carry out the attacks, is not enough reason to inculpate either Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, Shahru Haruna, Yakubu Musa or other Izala personalities, is it?
Let’s try this formula to see if it works this way: on October 1, 2010, bombs went off, killing 15 people during Nigeria’s fiftieth anniversary. An ex-MEND leader, Henry Okah and one Nwabueze were convicted of terrorism.
If Kabiru Sokoto or attacks by Boko Haram insurgents were to be linked to Izala and Alhaji Shahru for a simple reason that Izala is an Islamic organization and Shahru is a Muslim and a member, as Hundeyin would have us believe, who sponsored Henry Okah and his accomplice? Hundeyin, who is also an overzealous Christian and a southerner?
From the inception of Boko Haram to date, Izala, as against other violent religious movements, has never been on the same wavelength with any insurgent group.
Facts speak for themselves, they say. Had Izala clerics been complicit in the activities of the insurgents, Boko Haram leadership would never have called for the heads of Pantami, Sheikh Jaafar Mahmud Adam or Sheikh Muhammad Auwal Adam Albaniy Zaria.
It seems those who planted the piece have not briefed Hundeyin of the fate of the two fiercest critics of Boko Haram in the Izala cycle: Albaniy Zaria and Ja’afar. Boko Haram murdered both in an attempt to silence the persistent voice that had been voicing the irreligiosity of Boko Haram and insurgency of any type.
One does not need to strain himself. Videos showing Izala Ulama in a heated debate with the Boko Haram founder, Muhammad Yusuf, are on YouTube. An example is that of Sheikh Pantami.
Journalist or religious bigot
Nigeria’s media space is saturated with ethnic and religious bigots, and David Hundeyin happens to be one of them.
He quickly cited that ‘the scholar(s) states that Muslims should never accept a non-Muslim as ruler, which can be interpreted as a call for insurrection against a Christian Nigerian President’. However, he could not tell his readers how pastors ascended the pulpit of churches and made similar calls, which can also be interpreted as another call for insurrection against a Muslim Nigerian President as we see today?
Ideology of Finance
Who deceives who? If there is anything Hundeyin succeeded in linking Alhaji Shahru Haruna to is his tie with Izala and his being an owner of legitimate businesses – nothing more.
Citing CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele’s argument that BDC operators sell dollars to some people ‘to go and buy arms and ammunitions to come back to hurt us’ is no clear-cut evidence to implicate Alhaji Haruna.
A call to CBN
It is high time for CBN to furnish the public with the reason for its instruction to banks to block bank accounts of some entities such as Zahraddeen Shahru Haruna’s (Alhaji Shahru Haruna’s son).
I believe that the failure of the apex bank to provide the information is one of the chief reasons behind Hundeyin’s evil pen attempt to link the Zaharaddin’s account blockage to terrorism.
Shahru’s media trial
Shahru Haruna’s media trial began sometime in 2004. And to understand this better, I will refer the reader to a defunct Weekly Trust newspaper front cover story in 2004 titled ‘Detention Without Trial’.
The paper narrated a sympathetic story of how Alhaji Shahru Haruna was arrested and detained by DSS without trial for six consecutive months.
However, the interesting part of the story is how the secret police discharged him unconditionally. Since then, there has been no re-arrest by the DSS or any other relevant security agency. What does that imply?
My conclusive argument is that Hundeyin of Akwa Ibom’s piece is yet another failed smear campaign against Alhaji Shahru Haruna, Sheikh Yakubu Musa, Izala and some of its personalities. It is another mischief that has its sponsors.
Barrister Nura Sunusi writes from Kano. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.