The Oasis Reporters
May 17, 2019
By Moses Gbande
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has challenged the Nigerian ethnic nationalities facing one form of security threat or the other not to lose the fight against violence and keep the light of civilization aflame.
Dogara, the Chairman of the 2019, Nzem Berom Cultural Festival, in an address to the throng of eminent Nigerians and diverse cultural groups who graced the occasion gave thanks to God for how faithful He has been to Nigeria as a nation, even when “we have not shown faith towards the Almighty.
“One thing with God is that if you thank Him, He will continue to increase you. It’s been said by those who stood right that appreciation is only application for more. So as we stand to thank God, He will multiply everything that He has done in our nation with hundreds upon hundreds of folds.
” So I commend His Royal Majesty, our father who is here and the planning committee. I also want to use this occasion, because as you know I’m the Speaker of the House of Representatives to speak to us and speak to a larger audience: that is our people across all the States and across all the ethnic divides in Nigeria.
“What is confronting this nation, which is violence must be stopped at all costs. The nation has had its full share of this unfortunate tragedy that has continued to happen to our nation, and I’ve said severally that we cannot afford to lose the fight against violence and still keep our civilization. That has never happened, it won’t happen, and it will never happen. Any nation that has lost the fight against violence, has always lost its civilization.
Take the situation with the Northeast where I come from, there are communities where you can’t find anything as representatives of the Government. Police stations are gone, roads, buildings, hospitals and schools have all been destroyed. How long is it going to take us before we even get back to the position where we were prior to the breakout of violence?
“I won’t want to keep us long, but I want to charge us that if we really win this fight against violence, it will be because some of us have decided that we will walk across board in order to be peace builders and ensure that our people live in peace. Of course it’s going to be difficult as always, the challenge has always been fear and mistrust. When you talk about courage however, you cannot begin to exercise courage except fear is present. Without fear, there’s no question relating to courage. So it will take leadership that believes in the courage to sit down together with the opponents, enemies, with even those who feel like killing you, in order to find a way out.
“I’ve reflected long and hard on the issues pertaining to this violence in Nigeria, which is perhaps everywhere now, especially in Northern Nigeria. I have discovered that most of us dwell on errors, and it is these errors that have served as fuel for these violence. For instance there is an error that tells us that a whole ethnic group can be just wiped out, just like that. And any person who utilizes his senses; will know that it is highly impossible to talk of just wiping out an ethnic group, except the God that created them decides to wipe them out Himself, else nobody would be able to achieve that, so that is an error.
“I’ve also heard of the error that stipulates that violence can be cured by more violence. It doesn’t work that way. There has never been a conflict in the world, not even where the best of the war machines are used, that the weapons of war were thought to have resolved and brought peace. Peace has always been obtained at the table of brotherhood. So that is another error.
“One more error that I’ve heard consistently being repeated, which is a capital lie by some of the advocates of this violence to say that it is because of cattle rustling that there has been violence, but that is not true. Everyone who has reflected on the subject of cattle rustling would know that for some people to rustle cattle especially in this part of Nigeria, it would take a number of people from different tribes coming together to perpetrate that act. It is not usually the case that it is only one tribe that would rustle cattle. If it’s in Plateau for example, there’ll be maybe a Birom man involved, maybe a Fulani man who knows how to process the cattle very well and other tribes associated with it, there may be those driving the cattles to the Southeast in order to sell them. So this is all perpetrated by a syndicate of criminals. “Then at the end of the day; it is the ordinary Birom farmer who pays the price, or an ordinary Fulani man who doesn’t know what was going on in the region bringing his cattle in from somewhere.
“So if we’re able to move on from these errors, there are many of such errors, but due to the lack of time, we would not delve into them all. I tell you however that we can defeat violence in Nigeria if we are determined to do so and we have the leaders who are willing to do so. I can give example in my own community. Everyone in Plateau knows what the situation was like there in Tafawa Balewa, we were laboring under those type of errors as well, until community leaders from both sides of the divide decided that despite their fears to embrace each other and frankly talked about the issues relating to the fears that we had. At the end of the day; we were able to resolve those issues. It got to a point when one Fulani man had gone to graze his cattle and he veered into a farm and somehow there was a misunderstanding involving the farmer who is from my own ethnic group and the Fulani cattle rearer and there were casualties on both sides. The people from my own ethnic group even offered to pay compensation to the Fulani man for his loss, but the Fulani refused to take their money in the spirit of the brotherhood and friendship that had recently been brokered. This continued to the extent if there’s any incident involving our community and the Fulanis, our community would create a forum to interact with the Fulani, and vice verse with the Fulani community’s interaction with ours. So that’s why the issue of conflict of violence in Tafawa Balewa has been largely resolved and for more than seven years now, there hasn’t been such crises in Tafawa Balewa.
“This is a model that can be replicated everywhere we have crisis in Nigeria. So we can solve violence if we summon the courage to face it; we will definitely deal with it. In order not to prolong my speech, I would just like to say thank you and that I am rejoicing with all of us on this auspicious occasion here in Birom 2019 and call on the Birom nation to unite, there’s nothing more than unity. Unity as we know is not in numbers, the united few are bettered than the scattered multitude. If you’re not united; you cannot be strong, and as it is said: “United we stand, divided we fall”. So I want to thank the organizers and to say that at this point, as the Chairman of the occasion I would yield the microphone to the Master of Ceremony who has guided us appropriately. I wish us well, and I know that it is well with the Birom nation, because you are in the hands of God you’ll remain undefeated, you’ll remain strong and God will continue to bless the Birom nation and will multiply all the blessings that we’ve enjoyed over the years.
Long live Birom nation, long live Plateau State, long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria, thank you and God bless you all”.