NIGERIA: BRITAIN'S CREATION HANDED OVER TO THE FULANI
To create Nigeria, the BritIsh engaged in a military campaign to suppress Biafra and other indigenous nation-states. Their initial approach was to rule and administrate each nation state separately as “protectorates”. This was found to be problematic because of the additional administrative costs that this approach created for the British and also because some protectorates were much less economically viable than others. The protectorate of Northern Nigeria was at the time found to be lacking in internal resources necessary to support its own administrative staff of British workers. There was also a threat posed by the French Territory that would become Niger as the people there had much more in common with the protectorate of Northern Nigeria than the rest of Nigeria did. Speedily, the protectorates were consolidated, the last of which took place on 1st of January 1914 where the Northern Nigeria Protectorate was amalgamated with Southern Nigeria Protectorate.
In 1962, shortly after independence, the data collection process began for the Nigerian state’s first official census. Waziri Ibrahim, then head of the Economic Development Ministry, said that year
“It is our duty as a nation to see to it that we produce census results which have been thoroughly conducted, verified, and appraised, and therefore acceptable without a shadow of a doubt, to all governments of the world and to all international bodies such as the United Nations and its agencies, the World Bank, etc… The impressions of the manner in which the country conducts its affairs are one of the factors which earn for it the respect or disrespect of the rest of the world ” .
The first of many signs of problems was that well after completion of the census, results were not published. After conflicting preliminary numbers were released, there were suspicions that Northern Nigeria was either inflating its population or reducing the figures published by Southern regions. The census was repeated in 1963 in hopes of producing more accurate reports, but this ended with sharper disagreement. Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa, who was also chairman of the Census Board, declared in 1964 the acceptance of the 1963 results. Eastern and Mid-Western Nigeria rejected the census results. Eastern Nigeria contested in the Federal Supreme Court that taking such action, considering that census responsibility in Nigeria was shared between Federal and Regional governments, was unconstitutional and counter-productive. The census results showed 29.78 million people in Northern Nigeria, 12.39 million people in Eastern Nigeria, 10.28 million people in Western Nigeria, and 2.53 million people in Mid-Western Nigeria. In the words of Aluko, “The interregional controversy arising from the 1963 census was more than enough to justify its rejection, had the Prime Minister not quickly announced its acceptance before the criticisms and defects had been fully debated” (1965).
It is no secret that the population of Nigeria has remained a politicized matter. The 2006 census for example showed that Kano and Lagos state had similar numbers of people (approximately 9 million), but a parallel census conducted by Lagos state in cooperation with the National Population commission pinpointed the state’s population at 17.5 million. In 2013 the head of the National Population Commission (NPC), Festus Odimegwu, said that neither the 2006 federal census nor any previous federal census had been accurate and resigned. In fact, since independence in 1960, four censuses have been entirely aborted for similar reasons.There is reason to suspect that the early census results were molded by British interests to give Northern Nigeria the greatest amount of representation in the Federal government and also that these census results were used as a basis for all other population distribution studies in Nigeria (including the contemporary kind modeled in software). Using common sense alone, the suggestion that there are more people in the drier, land-locked North than in the greener and more coastal South is tantamount to suggesting that more people live in states like Wyoming than Florida.
Professor David Anderson, Director of the African Studies Centre at Oxford University had this to say about British foreign policy regarding political processes in Nigeria: “In almost every single colony the British attempted to manipulate the result to their advantage.... I would be surprised if they had not done so” [in Nigeria]. These census results are not inconsequential. Today in Nigeria the results are reflected in many facets of the federal government such as the make-up of the national legislature, distribution of federal funding to each state, or that nine of Nigeria’s fifteen heads of state have been from Northern Nigeria.
Below is a directory of Nigeria’s military schools and their respective locations. It is immediately observable that most of Nigeria’s designated military schools are based in Northern Nigeria. With the training institutions so too goes representation in upper ranks of the military. In the video below senator Victor Umeh from Anambra sheds some light on this. The critical access to defense hardware such as rifles or military vehicles follows this same trend. In a state like Nigeria where the federal government is dominated by one particular section of the country, this presents a risk for the machinery of the state to be wrongfully used during sectarian rifts.
|Air Force Military School||Jos (North)|
|Armed Forces Command and Staffing College||Jaji (North)|
|Nigerian Army College of Logistics||Lagos (South West)|
|Nigerian Defense Academny||Kaduna (North)|
|Nigerian Military School||Zaria (North)|
|Nigerian Navy Secondary School||Lagos (South West)|
In many cases, the Nigerian military is suspected to be playing partisan roles in sectarian disturbances. On the 25th of March 2018, former Army Chief of Staff Theophilus Danjuma in a commencement address at Taraba State University warned about this phenomena. This must be born in mind when one examines certain groups such as Boko Haram and more recently the Fulani Herdsmen who have now killed more people than Boko Haram and placed Nigeria in 3rd rank in the Global Terrorism Index . Two pertinent questions one must ask are: Why does the federal government hesitate to confront this group? Also, from where exactly do these armed groups (Fulani Herdsmen or Boko Haram) obtain their firearms? In the video below, T.Y. Danjuma, a retired general, speaks openly to answer these questions.
In Danjuma’s statement he says that “Taraba is a mini-state; it is a mini-Nigeria”, meaning what happened in Taraba is microcosm of what is happening in Nigeria in general. Olusegun Obasanjo echoed Danjuma and added more detail when he later honestly described the Herdsmen’s agenda saying “it is now West African Fulanization, African Islamization and global organized crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change”. Attacks have even begun to take place in Biafraland. On the morning of 6th of May 2019, Fulani herdsmen attacked in Owerri, killing 2. Equally alarming is that instead of aggressively confronting this threat, while innocent people are murdered in their homes, the federal government has curiously begun implementing its disarmament campaign. This campaign not only targets suspected criminals but also critical vigilante groups and neighborhood security organizations. In doing so they are removing the only reliable line of defense people have to ensure some basic amount of security that is in their direct control. This is the ethnic cleansing and Fulanization to which Danjuma and Obasanjo refer as the government renders whole communities vulnerable so that Herdsmen can overrun them. Biafrans will not sit idly for these events to sweep our land.