By Ernest Adadu
While taking a vivid look at the article being published on the spiteful statements made by the immediate past United States Secretary of State and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency , Mike Pompeo, all I saw was nothing but a tool (Pompeo) that is craving for relevance, and being used by the news agency to propagate pernicious propaganda aimed at the heart of Nigeria’s unity by creating extreme religious bigotry among the peaceful citizens, and to also disrupt President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The article written by Mike Pompeo on the 10th of June is nothing but a tool aimed at breeding discord and blindly criticizing the patriotic leaders of our dear country Nigeria. It is nothing but false political propaganda created to serve no good deed.
He stated that at least 1,500 Christians have been killed in Nigeria in the last six months. This is an awful fabrication of facts. Yes, there are several issues of insecurity rocking the nation, but it is not nearly as bad as Mike Pompeo paints it to be. It is shameful for him to have stated such false facts without providing proof or a source of reference.
I was perplexed to my very core when I read what was written in the fallacious article, as it was obvious that Mike Pompeo wished to blindly attack the Nigerian Government without cause or reason, and I asked myself, “WHY?”.
It is remarkable to know that the level of insecurity in Nigeria has drastically reduced overtime. The alarming Boko haram insurgency has been dealt with in a pragmatic approach taken by President Muhammadu Buhari. Many successes have been recorded under his leadership as he has been steadfast in the discharge of his duty, and providing aid to civil authority.
The issue of Muslims fighting Christians is a matter that has been present throughout history from the 7th century. The matter has encouraged a variety of views throughout history, but greeting the matter with the idiosyncrasy of condemning one party over the other is one that breeds hatred and hostility. Owing to the delicate nature of such a matter, it would have been wise for Pompeo to guard his statements regarding the killings of Christians in Nigeria.
Nigeria is on the edge presently, and statements that would further encourage discord and hostility between the two major religions in the country should be avoided.
It was myopic of Mike Pompeo not to have pointed out the fact that Christians are not the only ones being slaughtered in the country. Several faithful Muslims have also been killed in various parts of the country. It is obvious that his intents are born out of mischief.
He also failed to point out the fact that these acts were carried out by terrorists and bandits who do not discriminate when they kill. They do not care about what group or religion their victims belong to. They carry out their acts without mercy, no matter who you are.
I strongly admit and concur that any government that cannot discharge this basic obligation of Protecting Lives and Property, losses any iota of legitimacy. President Muhammadu Buhari has been fervent in his handling of security issues in Nigeria that has led to massive killing and wanton destruction of property across the country, and making every region habitable to everyone irrespective of their religious view as opposed to what Pompeo insinuated.
In addressing the challenge to the survival of religion tolerance in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari made it pertinent to consider, and also worked on security issues and problems that have affected or capable of affecting the attitude, confidence and cooperation of all groups and segments that make up the Nigerian federation, without leaving out the necessity to explore the gaps and gray areas in the national constitution that are responsible for various religion problems and crises.
However, knowing that sensitive issues like that of religion intolerance is a weaponry that has fostered National and International Terrorist attacks on many Nations, Pompeo should have known better to verify every information gotten, or seen on the internet before relying on a creek in-house media as a source of verifiable information. This act makes a man like him reeks of low intelligence.
He also accused the Nigerian government of “downplaying the attacks and characterizing them as conflicts between herders and farmers rather than as religiously motivated acts of terror.” One can never call a spade a bucket. We have all seen that there is no religious motivation behind the killings in Nigeria. These killings are merely carried out by merciless bandits and terrorists who know nothing about Islam or Christianity.
Pompeo cited the case of Leah Sharibu who has remained in captivity in the hands of the Boko Haram sect due to the fact that she refused to convert to Islam. He claimed that the young lady has remained in captivity over three years without consequence. By this, he insinuates that the Nigerian government failed to act merely because she is a Christian who refused to convert to Islam. This is an odoriferous innuendo that Mike Pompeo has so witlessly expressed.
He also made other claims about the matter, one of which he gave a self-declared statistic stating that Christians murdered in the country had risen to 60 percent in 2020 and was most likely going to get worse in recent times. This he stated without providing concrete evidence to his claim.
We should educate Pompeo and help his amnesia about his statement on the presence of radical Islamic jihadist groups in northern Nigeria.
Firstly, he should know that radical Islamic jihadist groups are all over the world. Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) is all over African countries and have registered their presence through different attacks.
Has he forgotten so soon?
The memorable 9/11 attack on the twin tower by Alqueada, that was masterminded and executed on American soil?
The numerous attacks by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Daesh, which is detailed as follows:
A car bomb in Iraq that killed 28 Shia pilgrims and injured 60 others as they were returning from Karbala, while in the capital Baghdad a roadside bomb exploded near a minibus, killing four pilgrims and wounding 15.
A suicide bomber exploded targeting civilians in a commercial shop on a busy tourist destination and business center in Turkey, March 2016.
ISIL took responsibility for a stabbing that killed a French police officer and his companion in France, June 2016.
29-year-old Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a mass shooting inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida in United State, June 2016.
Between November 2–3, five were killed in Stadttempel , Vienna , including the perpetrator. The Vienna Police Department confirmed that the attacker was an Islamic State sympathizer, and that the attack was motivated by Islamic extremism. This happened in Austria, November 2020.
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant targeted Shia Muslims on 21 January 2021 in a clothing market in Tayaran Square, Baghdad. US, UN, EU and the Pope condemn the attack calling it a senseless act of violence. Iraq, January 2021
Attacks where everywhere, United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain, Canada, etc which were dated to 2021.
However, with the above references and many more, should we now conclude just like Mr Mike, that all these attacks are on Christians, and every President in the attacked country supports religion intolerance?
It is obvious that Mike Pompeo’s statements were borne out of hatred for the Islamic religion. It is important for him to realize that words are powerful. If he has any problem with the Islamic religion, he should keep it to himself and not sow seeds of discord in other countries. If he has nothing good to say about the country, it will be in his best interest to keep silent on the matter and focus on his own country.
At the end of his article, Mike Pompeo issued several lame threats to the federal government of the country. He stated that if the Nigerian government failed to carry out swift actions to put an end to the persecution of Christians, there would be consequences in the form of sanctions and increased diplomatic pressure.
The Buhari led administration has been working tirelessly to safeguard the lives and properties of all Nigerian citizens no matter the religion you practice. It is an insult on Mike Pompeo’s part to disregard the efforts put in by the current administration and try to create unnecessary agitation in the country.
At this point, sanctions and diplomatic pressure isn’t what Nigeria needs. What the country needs is support from other countries. Mike Pompeo would do well to call for support in the country rather that criticize its leaders and proclaim unnecessary threats.
President Muhammadu Buhari is efficiently leading the fight against insecurity in Nigeria along with the service chiefs and the Nigerian Military. Let us all join hands to support them rather than throw incessant criticisms at them.
Adadu is a student of peace and conflict resolution and wrote from Gwarimpa.