French philosopher, author, and filmmaker Bernard-Henri Lévy, in conjunction with ICON (an NGO), held a briefing to the USA Congress on the ongoing conflicts and human rights abuses in Nigeria. The briefing was held on October 28th in the Rayburn House Office Building, under the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.
The briefing lasted for just over one hour, in the interest of space this is the briefest of summaries, to play a part in further alerting Nigerians and the international community to the horrific ongoing genocide in Nigeria. Still though, it is advised that every Nigerian who calls himself an adult, should make time to watch the video of this briefing. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ip1MmMIS-_s
There is also the urgent task by the media and news outlets, plus the Church in Nigeria to end their silence and inaction, and instead be involved in ending this horror, for the solution is described at the end of this article.
Mr Lévy was sent by a group of international newspapers tobear witness, and to report from countries around the worldovercome with suffering and hardship, disrupted by war, in the most challenging geopolitical disasters, yet no one seemed to be paying attention. It included a journey to Nigeria.
Lévy made a documentary film, and wrote a book about it (“The Will To See”). The film is an unflinching look at the world’smost unreachable hot spots and urgent humanitarian crises.
I’m very happy to be here also in this room, in this place, in this Congress which is the beating heart of democracy in America. My friends came back some of them very recently from Nigeria, which means from hell… You came with victims coming fromall the northern parts of Nigeria each of them coming with his own terrible and painful history. The day we spent in a secret place in the outskirts of Abuja together is unforgettable for me. Iwill keep the image and the souvenir of this moment in my hearttill the end of my life. I thank you all of you. I will not present my book and I will not present my film. I will do that in newspapers, and in TV shows. Today it is not a book launch it is more important than that. We are gathering today… in order to speak about Nigeria. In order to put on the agenda of the policy makers and of the lawmakers in America the question of theChristians in Nigeria. I’m here to draw the attention of those who have the decision in their hands in Washington DC. I want to draw their attention to the case of this suffering materialized, maybe genocide, and forgotten people who are the Christians in Nigeria. Honestly, when I started this film and this series of dispatches of reportage for Wall Street Journal and others, Imust confess I knew nothing about the terrible fate and terrible situation of the Christians in Nigeria. I knew nothing.
This day when I met this Nigerian gentleman something happened for me in my mind and in my heart. I felt as if I was cold. It was a call. I don’t know why. Maybe the eloquence ofthe gentleman who came. Maybe the terrible pictures he did show me. Maybe. I don’t know. Something happened in theroom where we met… [It] worked for me as an imperative. Igathered a little team… and we went to Nigeria. I decided on this day to break the silence. I decided to attract as much as Icould of the attention of the world, or at least of my readers… to the case of the Christians in Nigeria. [There should be] a national campaign in America and an international campaign beyond America, in order to attract the attention of the world on this silent and forgotten war which is one of the worst, the mostbloody war which is happening nowadays. I do hope that this meeting is not an end but that it is just a beginning for all of us…
My hope is that… the genocide can be stopped. Massacres happen at this moment, and at this very minute on a huge scale.Continuously. Every day in these villages where I was… you have dozens of dead in a terrible situation… Nigeria is facing a situation which is very close to genocide… We have to stop the bloodbath of course, and also to stop this terrible evil processwhich produces and fuels a genocide…
Robert Destro, former US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor:
…I would suggest to you that those [doing the killing] are thefoot soldiers of the people who are doing it. There’s a much larger control mechanism that gives these people their marchingorders…
We have to focus on the bad guys. We have to identify them very clearly and we have to understand that in some respects we are in the middle of an information warfare. That is the question of who controls the narrative… The other narrative is where’s all the money coming from? You know, arms and those motorcycles that these people ride on and the weapons don’t come from nowhere. And so the question is who’s supporting this?… Those of us who have looked at it from the inside know that we have to follow the money… We have to look at the money flows and try to understand their geostrategic vision and we also need to understand very carefully that we’re talking about organized crime. This is organized criminal behavior it has to be treated like organized criminal behavior… This is all about power it’s all about control… One of the big problems in the information warfare space is that the other side has captured the narrative… and so the message now is: Oh! it’s theherdsmen, you know they’re just poor herdsmen trying to get green space for their cows. The reality is that they’re Fulanitribesmen, they’re trying to re-establish the Fulani Caliphate. So,we know that the Turks are involved the Libyans… We’re treating it as if it’s a one-off crime and the fact of the matter is that this is organized criminal behavior…
Piero Tozzi, Senior Advisor to Rep Chris Smith:
I’ll note that it’s not just [Capitol] Hill staffers who don’t get it. I mean, I think one of the frustrations that we have is the narrative that the State Department, and inside the Beltway consensus has, and you mentioned, you know, viewing it in terms of farmer-herder conflict driven by Climate Change, which may be an aspect, but it is not the major issue. And it is important I think to identify who are the perpetrators and in this case it is Fulani extremists. It is ethno-religious chauvinism and it is something really that is impacting all Nigerians who are not Fulani. It is the Christians, certainly in the Middle Belt who are targeted, but also Muslims. If you’re Yoruba and a Muslim you are targeted. As well if you are Shia Nigerian, and Kaduna, you are also targeted and what’s also important I think to understand is that the Government under President Buhari is dominated by Fulani and there’s been an overall Fulanization of all aspects of the security apparatus, of the military, and key positions within the Nigerian Government including the Supreme Court where the Chief Justice a number of years ago Walter Onnoghen was removed and replaced by a Fulani Islamist.
Essentially, that dynamic is very important and there’s a certain unwillingness and a blindness, and a lack of a will to see what is what is actually happening now. What is interesting I think, what is illustrative is that if you go back a decade ago there was similarly an unwillingness on the part of the State Department in particular, but the Intelligence, to really identify Boko Haram for what it was, as a terrorist movement. And we can go into nuances that Boko Haram is different: it’s Salafist and whatnot, but there was real resistance, particularly under Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State and Johnny Carson was Assistant Secretary for Africa, to designate Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist Organization.
To give credit where it’s due, that changed when John Kerry wasSecretary of State and Linda Thomas Greenfield became Assistant Secretary and Boko Haram was designated a foreign terrorist organization.
A positive and also yet a negative, is we now realize that Boko Haram and its offshoots such as Islamic State West Africa, such as Ansaru are Islamists with an agenda that they’re committed to mass atrocities, and that has become the accepted view. Whereas before it was not, it was resisted and fought. The problem here though I think, is that now it’s very convenient to put all extremism in Nigeria and West Africa for that matter more broadly into the Boko Haram basket and its other affiliated orsplinter organisations, and not to address the larger agenda of Fulanization. And it’s also I think because there’s also a lack of historical knowledge as well. Those that are familiar with the history of Nigeria understand the role that Usman Dan Fodio played in West Africa going back into the late 18th and early 19th century and the expansion of the caliphate, the sultanate of Sokoto in Nigeria. And what’s interesting is that the other groups such as the Kanuri were already Muslims and they were then displaced by that.
The British imperial expansion checked that. And you know, you had this generally in rough terms: Christians in the south and Muslims in the north, but it’s far more divided as I said earlier it’s not…
Certainly, we don’t want to lump all Fulani but you know by and large this is driven by Fulani ethnic religious chauvinism and it can be directed towards Muslims as well. But it is an agenda that has existed really since the 18th century and I would encourage those to who are unfamiliar to read that history. What is very important I think by this film and also by Mr Lévy’s article in the Wall Street Journal last year is that it does identify the ethno-religious chauvinism of the Fulani as a driver, and also Bob alluded to this. It points to a role by Turkey, and that’s something that has been ignored. I think we do know of Turkish arms shipments to West Africa. Turkey is competing with Saudi Arabia for leadership in the Sunni Muslim world. It is something I think that has to be examined much more closely. We see Turkey involved in the horn of Africa but also in West Africa and that’s another aspect that your article in the Wall Street Journal addressed but has not received enough attention here anyway…
…I believe it was August of 2001 there was an all Sharia conference in Nigeria where Buhari was one of the speakers and it was reported at the time the agenda for a broader Islamization, first for bringing of Sharia into northern Nigeria, but also beyond was discussed there…
Responses to a question from the audience:
What’s your perspective on the issues that are facilitatingTurkey’s ability to help propagate genocide in Nigeria?
What I was witness of in the areas where I was in Jos, in Godogodo, in other parts of Nigeria, I saw a strong Turkish presence. I saw some madrasas that were financed and inspired by Turks…
There is a telephone recording which I believe has been verified,of a Turkish Airlines official talking to someone close to Erdogan and the Erdogan government talking about armed shipments destined for West Africa, and the question was what are they going to be used for? The assurances were that they’dbe used against Christians. I believe it has been corroborated but it does deserve to be acted upon.
Finally, what America and western countries could do to stop the genocide going on under the Buhari regime was discussed. These include sanctions against those responsible, plus taking them to international tribunals and courts. Also, the American church could help by supporting the Christians of Nigeria, and helping them rebuild their churches destroyed by the Fulani.
The NINAS Movement had made all this information about genocide, the perpetrators and reasons for it known for years, including on their websites, and had hoped Nigerian media, the Church, and influencers would have publicized it. It is the illegitimate and imposed 1999 Constitution, a forgery, that enables the Caliphate Agenda of Fulanization and Islamization via genocide and land grab. Nigerians themselves can stop this genocide by joining with the NINAS Movement that is using non-violence and an ORDERLY PROCESS to Decommission the fraudulent 1999 Constitution. It involves halting preparations for general elections in 2023 as that renews the life of that “Constitution”, then going into Transitional Government where elected political office holders would remain in their positions. More information is available from the NINAS Movement website: www.ninasvoice.org
Ndidi Uwechue is a British citizen with Igbo heritage from the Lower Niger Bloc. She is a retired Metropolitan (London) Police Officer, she is a signatory to the Constitutional Force Majeure, and she writes from Abuja.