Nigeria has been on a threshold between her quest for development and the so many factors bedeviling her awakening. From the amalgamation to the struggle for independence through the civil war and now the present day, the Country have practically been on a battle for survival at different fronts.
The fear that one day Nigeria might toe the path of countries who are now conservative Islamic nations but however were hitherto operating like a circular state has become an increasing anxiety and should border everyone. What many have failed to observe over the years is that the signs have always been there and many developments which have unfortunately become reoccurring incidents in this country have continued to point to the fact that the very freedom and social inclusiveness that this country was built upon is cracking. A band of Islamic extremism ideology is spreading like an uncontrolled forest wildfire across the county, and if nothing urgently is done about it, it will sweep through every section of the country and no one will be left out on it.
Countries like the present day Turkey, Iran, Tunisia, Indonesia , Malaysia, Pakistan, Lebanon and very many of them can testify to a gradual transition from a Christian dominated or circular society to a heavy conservative Islamic ideology which has characterized her identity cutting across every facet of her society.
To understand these simple steps that have always been adopted by the Islamic jihadists in their determined quest to take over a nation’s territory for dominance and ideological colonization, it will be important to analytically look at an ancient long steps by die hard jihadists as published on faithfreedom.com on steps needed to meticulously Islamize a nation state with a deeper reflection on the realities on ground with previous happenings and in the present day Nigeria.
According to faithfreedom.com, there are 3 major stages of Islamization of any country. These stages are namely in Arabic, ‘Dar ul Harab’, ‘Dar ul Habeeb’, and ‘Dar ul Islam’. To buttress better on what they mean, the website explained further;
Dar ul Harab
When the Muslims are less than 5%, they are advised to live and merge their identity with the rest of the population, dress like others, behave like others and even use local names. Slowly they bring in relatives, convert by marrying non-Muslims, and use deception and lies to convert the ignorant. They have many children to increase their numbers. They will use the ignorant non-Muslims to help them in cause to exist and multiply. This already is happening in many South East and South South states where Muslims are in large minority.
Dar ul Habeeb
Once they reach 15 to 20% they start asserting themselves through their Islamic dress which includes hijaab and burkaa for women, skull caps, start doing Namaz in public places, demand more rights and setup Islamic courts and Sharia law centers. Demand extra rights to practice their religion more freely.
Dar ul Islam
Once Muslim population exceeds 35% they start a policy of aggressive and brutal persecution of the non-Muslims and it becomes so violent and bloody that eventually the non-Muslims either flee that country or region or convert to Islam.
The evidence of the above stages can be seen in many countries and regions around the world.
Obviously, without much doubt, this is already happening in Nigeria and is evident with the much mindless religious violence instigated in the North in the past, the ongoing Boko Haram Insurgency and the raiding and maiming of many villages in the Southern part of the country by suspected Fulani Herdsmen.
Just recently, the Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo raised an alarm that the Boko Haram Insurgency and Marauding Killer Fulani Herdsmen are all an ongoing conspiracy to Islamise Nigeria and West African Countries. Obasanjo who expressed deep concern on the kid glove successive governments in the country have treated the threat posed by these terrorist groups, bemoaned on the government of the day to rise to the occasion or see the country slowly fall at the hands of the invaders. However, as expected, many have come out to either condemn this statement or defend the former President on the issue. However, realities on ground are that no matter the divide you’ve chosen to belong, there is an obvious sinister agenda going on.
For emphasis purpose on a building momentum, this set of diehard Islamists have developed over the years and has unfortunately culminated into a more daring organized attacks from groups like Boko Haram and Suspected Cattle herders, let’s take a throwback view on the many religious inspired attacks in the country that were swept under the carpet with no one held accountable for it while many innocent lives were lost.
According to information from Wikipedia; following the return of democratic government in 1999, the Muslim-dominated Northern Nigerian states have introduced Sharia law, including punishments against blasphemy and apostasy. Several incidents have occurred where people have been killed for or in response to perceived insults to Islam.
The 1980s saw an upsurge in violence due to death of Mohammed Marwa (“Maitatsine”).
In the same decade, the erstwhile military ruler of Nigeria General Ibrahim Babangida enrolled Nigeria in the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation. This was a move which aggravated religious tensions in the country, particularly among the Christian community. In response, some in the Muslim community pointed out that certain other African member states have smaller proportions of Muslims, as well as Nigeria’s diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
Since the return of democracy to Nigeria in 1999, Sharia has been instituted as a main body of civil and criminal law in 9 Muslim-majority and in some parts of 3 Muslim-plurality states, when then-Zamfara State governor Ahmad Rufai Sani began the push for the institution of Sharia at the state level of government.
In the 1980s, serious outbreaks between Christians and Muslims occurred in Kafanchan in southern Kaduna State in a border area between the two religions, though it was meant to be seen as a fight between Christian and Moslems, the reality found on ground saw what looks like a monopoly of manipulation on ignorant Moslem youths by their leaders. Even with the many killings that happened, no one or group was arrested or charged to court.
The activities of some of these sects have in recent times led to the loss of lives and properties as they move about destroying government facilities which they see as legacies or replica of western cultures in their various communities. These religious campaigns have seen an increase in gun battles between the members of these sects and security forces with loss of lives witnessed on both sides.[
There were clashes in October 1982 when Muslim zealots in Kano were able to enforce their power in order to keep the Anglican House Church from expanding its size and power base. They saw it as a threat to the nearby Mosque, even though the Anglican House Church had been there forty years prior to the building of the Mosque.
Exploitation of the media used to propagate the ideas of the conflict, thereby radicalizing each force even more. Media was biased on each side so while places like the Federal Radio Corporation discussed the idea of defending Islam during this brief moment of terror, it did not report the deaths and damage caused by Muslims, galvanizing the Muslim population. However, for a fair and balance analysis, the Christian papers at the time did not report the damage and deaths caused by Christians but rather focused on the Islamic terror. Other individuals leading these religious movements use the media to spread messages which gradually became more intolerant of other religions, and because of these religious divisions, radical Islam continues to be a problem in Nigeria today.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was a major Islamic uprising led by Maitatsine and his followers, Yan Tatsine that led to several thousand deaths. After Maitatsine’s death in 1980, the movement continued some five years more.
In 1991, the German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke attempted a crusade in Kano, causing a religious riot leading to the deaths of about a dozen people.
Since the restoration of democracy in 1999, Christian governments have dominated the country at the federal level, while the Muslim-dominated Northern Nigerian states have implemented strict Sharia law. Religious conflict between Muslims and Christians has erupted several times since 2000 for various reasons, often causing riots with several thousands of victims on both sides. Since 2009, the Islamist movement Boko Haram has fought an armed rebellion against the Nigerian military, sacking villages and towns and taking thousands of lives in battles and massacres against innocent lives with Christians making up the highest casualties of their barbarism.
The reaction to the Mohammed cartoons brought about a series of violent protests in Nigeria. Clashes between rioters and police claimed several lives, with estimates ranging from 16 to more than a hundred.
The following breakdown where chronicled on Wikipedia. In as much as it might not effectively touch every pockets of attack against non Moslems by Islamic extremists in the country, the facts to note in all of them is the inability of successive governments in the country over the years to act accordingly over these killings. No one has been prosecuted and most times with the postulations of the government of the day, it is obvious that it is either the truth is not being told to the government or there are certain group of people who have formed themselves into a dangerous cabal wielding so much influence to keep deceiving the government on ways to tackle the massive killings in the country.
If not for anything else, the mood will always remain that it’s either there is a calculated attempt to Islamize Nigeria with the government aiding it consciously or unconsciously or the perpetrators of this agenda have deployed a sophisticated strategy to intimidate the government and keep them silent.
What else will explain why a man like Obasanjo who was the President of the country at the time the country faced one of her worst religious inspired killings but looked quite helpless at the time but have continued to be a vocal critic of Buhari’s government who has looked like one that is playing the former’s rule card.
However said, an Islamization agenda is undoubtedly real, but can it be stopped? That depends on the President and his advisers. It is not enough for the President to come out to say he has no intention to Islamize the country, that is not convincing enough seeing how bold killer herdsmen have been invading villages and getting away with it as well as the parochial nature of his sensitive appointments and what many sees as a body language that encourages extremism.
As a matter of urgency, the President needs to ensure the impartiality of security agents in tackling the security issues in the country. The perceived Islamization of Nigeria could be calculated conspiracy, yes, but with an effective, impartial and highly motivated security network, such conspiracy will be crushed.
To take a cue from former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his advice to President Buhari on how to go about fighting insecurity and dousing the tensions caused by widespread insecurity engulfing the country, the former President advised; “There should be no sacred cow. Some of the groups that I will suggest to be contacted are: Traditional rulers, past heads of Service Chiefs (no matter how competent or incompetent they have been and how much they have contributed to the mess we are in), past heads of paramilitary or organizations, private sector, civil society , community leaders particularly in the most affected areas, present and past governors, present and past local government leaders, religious leaders, past Heads of States, past Intelligence Chiefs, past heads of Civil Service and. relevant current and retired diplomats, members of opposition and nay groups that may be deemed relevant.
“After we have found appropriate solution internally, we should move to bilateral, multinational, regional, continental and global levels. With ISIS involvement, we cannot but go global.
“Without security and predictable stability, our development, growth and progress are in period.
“Let me hasten to add that we must be at the appropriate seat at the table of international discourse, deliberations, agenda and action.”