You claim (in your article entitled "Nigeria: Use Restraint in Curbing Jos Violence" and on various international TV channels today) that discriminating policies against the so-called non-indigenes are responsible for the violence in Jos. You're wrong. [“Non-indigenes are openly denied the right to compete for government jobs and academic scholarships. In Jos, members of the largely Muslim Hausa ethnic group are classified as non-indigenes though many have resided there for several generations,”- Nigeria: Use Restraint in Curbing Jos Violence]
In fact, the opportunities the Hausa-Fulani community enjoys in Jos is not enjoyed by non-indigenous communities in Hausa-Fulani-dominated states like Kano, Bauchi or Katsina.
For example, the member representing the constituency to which Jos belongs in the Federal House of Representatives is a member of the Hausa-Fulani community. And Hausa-Fulani officials have headed the contentious Jos Local Government Council several times in the past. There is no specific discriminatory policy of the Plateau State government, which can be said to impinge on the civic rights of the Hausa-Fulani people alone.
These discriminatory practices which are all over Nigeria are not the reasons for these riots. Otherwise, it would not only be the Hausa-Fulani that will be fighting. After all, there are other communities such as those of the Yorubas, Igbos and Uhrobos which have existed in Jos since colonial time. In fact, these communities have at all times accused the Hausa-Fulani of being the aggressor.
You must notice that through the violence, the Hausa-Fulani youths and hired killers attack not only the so-called indigenes but also other non-indigenes from other parts of the country irrespective of their religious belief. For example, many Yorubas from Southwest Nigeria, both Christians and Muslims, have been killed in Jos during these premeditated riots. This writer is a Yoruba.
In fact, it could be said that discriminatory policy against non-indigenes is more widely practiced all over the Muslim Northern states where the Hausa-Fulani immigrants in Jos hail from. And the non-indigenes in these states do not riot or go on killing spree..
In fact, in these states, non-indigenes are made to pay school fees while the so-called indigenous students are exempted from paying fees. And even non-Muslim indigenes are discriminated against in appointments and school scholarship. A case in point is Bauchi State.
What the Hausa-Fulani leaders are fighting for in Jos is the right to appoint a Traditional Islamic Ruler, an Emir, in Jos and use that platform to gain an upper hand over the original inhabitants of this city and the state, Plateau State. This is a form of Jihad, through which the Fulani imposed Emirs on many areas of Northern Nigeria in the pre-colonial times.
Please stop spreading misleading information on the Jos conflict.
You also claim that “Nigeria is deeply divided along ethnic and religious lines”; this is not true. I am from a Yoruba Christian-Muslim family. If you go to Lagos, Muslims and Christians get along. In fact, among the Yorubas, you have adherents from both faiths in the same family; like the wife being a Muslim and the husband a Christian or vice versa.
What you have in the North is the manipulation of Islam by the regional elite, a policy that has its roots in the Fulani Jihad and that has been the source of instability in the country since independence.
The reason the crisis in Jos has defied solution is because we have refused to look at its real roots.
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