Rev. Rotshak Davidson Lar
In order to make my point lucid enough, let me first of all start by commending Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi OFR, a Nigerian Islamic Scholar. He is among the leaders of the Islamic Sufi group known as the Tijaniyyah in Nigeria.
The swiftness and empathy with which he acted when his 22 followers were unfortunately killed in a gruesome way in Jos on Saturday 14th August in Rukuba Road Jos was something out of the ordinary. At 94, defying his old and frail bones, he flew to Abuja to meet with the President to demand justice for his slain members. That is the definition of true leadership, if you ask me. I salute him ojare.
The respected old cleric, in his characteristic dark goggles, was also on BBC Hausa service to issue a threat of retaliation if “his kind of justice” is not given to his slain folks. His intervention forced the President not to eat for a day; His intervention compelled the President to send a powerful Minister like Isa Pantami to condole and commiserate with the revered cleric over those sad losses. His intervention also brought the Progressive Governors to Plateau to condole Governor Lalong and also donate N30 Million to the families of the slain; his intervention also compelled the Number one citizen of Plateau State to do two things – order massive arrest of suspects (without bail) and also to visit the injured in hospital.
Kudos to Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi. I can go to war when I know such a General has got my back!
For almost two decades, Plateau People people seemed to have been marked for annihilation – either from Boko Haram (several Bomb Blasts), religious extremists and now by Fulani Militia. And sadly, there is no one to speak in defence of the slain and those marked for annihilation.
In the 80s and the early 90s, the likes of the late Baba Paul Gindiri, Archbishop of Gabriel Ganaka and Baba Solomon Lar defended the people of Plateau from any perceived danger – politically and religiously. In particular, Paul Gindiri (a new biography about him and his exploits would be unveiled in months), had been persecuted and incarcerated in police cells and other detention facilities of governments and Northern Emirates for defending the rights of the minorities. May the souls of these great leaders rest with the best of men.
Dara Governor Jonah Jang tried his best. He took up Plateau case and defended his people. He was like Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State of today, a minority voice among Northern Governors. At some point he stopped attending Northern Governors’ Meeting because he had cried his voice hoarse among people who saw him like a renegade.
For the records, on the 2nd and August 2021, 13 villages were raided in Irigwe land, 500 homes destroyed and burnt to ashes, over 68 people butchered like animals over 30, 000 people have been displaced and rendered homeless in their own State. This is apart from the sacking of 52 Plateau Communities and villages in Barkin Ladi and Riyom LGAs. Farmlands have been destroyed and thousands are now Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). No one visited them. No one went to hospital to greet them. No President lost appetite for any of them. No massive arrests has happened in the case of their killers. Some of the corpses of dead were eaten by stray dogs; some were picked clean by ravens and vultures because no one was left to bury them; some of them were buried in unmarked and mass graves and some were burnt to ashes.
Where are the prophets in the Plateau to take the report of our plight to the President? Where are the Heads of Big Denominations in Nigeria with Headquarters in Plateau? Where are the Bishops? Where are the Paul Gindiris, Gabriel Ganakas and Solomon Lars of today? Granted some of them are adept in giving press conferences, but Sheikh Dahiru did not think Press releases and conferences would serve his purpose. Where are the political leaders to take up the case of the Poor Plateau Man that has been under siege for years from Fulani militias?
The fathers are no more and the children are orphans without a help or a voice. Thank God for Prophet Isa El-Buba. He, it seems, is the only one daring to talk and to stand for those being persecuted.
Where are the Elders? Their hands have been spoilt from “collecting” and “dining” with those who they should rebuke. Which Elder on the Plateau can speak, like Sheikh Dahiru, and political leaders would catch cold?
Where are the prophets too? Where….
Rev. Rotshak Davidson Lar writes from Jos.