One ignoble social misfit named Shettima is threatening Southeasterners with war for their continued insistence that the unlawful infiltration of possibly infected Almajiris into Southeast Nigeria amidst the lockdown is suspicious and sinister. He was aptly quoted as saying that they would start a war, probably with the Igbo in the North before going down East to finish off the cowards there. This is because shameless men like Shettima is not perturbed that their beloved Almajiri are flouting “Sit-at-Home” orders, hiding under truckloads of goods and livestock to infiltrate the South in the dead of night. He is of the view that Southerners, especially the Igbo South should welcome their midnight visitors with fanfare and plaudits because they are supposed to do so for their Northern Lords, their Northern Prince Charmings.
Well, the Igbo are not a people to welcome midnight callers without a tinge of suspicion and that is exactly what is going on. The Igbo, just like any security conscious community, are asking:
1. Where were they coming from?
2. How did they pass the other cordons in the many States, in between, to get to the cape of the sea as Rivers State or Akwa Ibom or Cross River or Delta or Edo, Anambra or Enugu, etc?
3. Who failed to do what he/she was supposed to do all the way from wherever they started their journeys?
4. How have they been feeding as they journeyed?
5. Who was planned to receive them as they arrived to their destinations?
6. What are the exact destinations of each trailer load of persons?
7. Have some loads of weaponry gone ahead of them (or coming behind them)?
8. Is it strategic that they, being Muslims, are making these mass movements to the South during their fasting period?
9. Why are these so-called Almajiris neither kids nor teenagers but full grown adults quite smart to pass any entry physical test of any army?
10. And most importantly, why did these midnight journeys begin at the heels of the news of unprecedented deaths in the North that are speculated to be corona virus related?
The above questions are begging to be answered, even as many Northern governors like Ganduje openly banned the activities of Almajiris who they so used and continue to use for electoral malpractices and violence against dissenting voices and boom, the movement down South begins. There have been reports of massive arrest and return by the Kaduna state governor, so why is Shettima’s only war fixation against Ndigbo? Is it because of 1967/1970? Obviously, Shettima thinks that the war drums rhetoric still works but someone should tell him to please bring it on so that we can settle the scores of fear once and for all and see who wins.
The people of the South, especially the Igbo should have every cause to worry because those trailer/container loads of human beings may not even be Almajiris. They may be well trained fighters of the extremist Boko Haram or more Bandits in the guise of herdsmen relocating. What a window of opportunity for them to come down en masse! The annihilation has been long planned out. No doubt, the governors strutting about, shouting and gesticulating under the sun in public display of rehearsed efforts at stopping the spread of Corona virus may never have given it a thought. They sincerely believe they are working hard to stop the spread of Covid-19, but what has presented its ugly head ought to be properly examined. Few weeks ago, Boko Haram was quoted as saying that they would strike in the South-South and South East. Many may have considered it preposterous. But what do they know. Now, Boko Haram has been largely walloped and dislodged in the Chad region due to the efficiency of the Chadian army. They must find new bases, and they may have rolled down south. And the governors have been caught pants down. The evidence is there. They just intercept lorries or trailers and ask them to return to where they came from. Matter closed! Really? In a country which has been held by the throat by a terrorist organisation since 2009? Strange! Almajiris are normally children, but the people we are seeing in the trailers are full grown adults. Nobody followed them to find out if they actually moved a few metres away from the last point the governors and their officials saw them? Some of them are kitted with clean cans and backpacks. There was no single forlorn look on the face of any of those I observed. They looked poised and happy like tourists. The governors are simply being emotional. They ought to know. Those being moved down are not Almajiris. They are young men on a mission.
In view of whatever that may arise from these invasions. In view of the loud silence from Northern governors, except for Shettima’s war threat, let us say that the North has been distributing and sharing the Almajiris they created to Southern States. Hence, we call on the Governors down South to rise to the occasion and resend them back to where they’re coming from. Measures should be put in place to intercept every lorry load of Almajiris. Almajiri can’t reflect Federal character whereas Federal Appointments don’t. Buhari knows where his Federal Character favours so he should send the Almajiris there. The South cannot partake in a problem it never created. We don’t operate Almajiri in the South. We operate rights to Education which the Northern elites have denied their people. This sharing formula of Almajiris by the North is unacceptable. The South cannot look the other way right now. The South must act. The Southern people and their Governors must put PDP or APC aside and put an end to this menace. This has nothing to do with PDP or APC but this is about a ticking bomb waiting to go off, which we must neutralize now putting political parties aside to do the needful.
And to the likes of Shettima who is reminding us that we have our people in the North and so should accept the “Almajiris” they are sending or face war, let us kindly remind him and his daft followers that the Southerners, especially the Igbo in the North are not Almajiris. They are doing genuine and traceable businesses, paying their rents and taxes as at when due so there is no room for comparison. Moreover, Northern traders and herders and beggars have always been in the East and South, untouched and undisturbed, so how is it wrong to question this clandestine movement into a region that has just received terrorism threats amid the lockdown? Who is opening the road for them and why is Dangote trucks conspicuously in the midst of all this brouhaha and no one is talking? Well, let it be on record: if anything sinister begins to happen in South East as a result of this infiltration, Shettima, if he survives the outcome should get ready to tell the world what he knows about whatever they are planning.
We are on the lookout!
J.J. Malcolm writes from Abakiliki