(SUMMUM BUKMUN UMYUN)
By: Prof. Usman Yusuf
The phrase ṣummum, bukmun, ʻumyun is taken from verse 18 of Surat al-Baqarah in the Qur’an.
Gov. Nasiru El-Rufa’i’s continuing political grandstanding reminds me of a toddler throwing a temper tantrum. He has repeatedly told the world what he will not do but nothing about what he is doing or will do about the deteriorating insecurity in his state especially as it affects the lives of the forty seven (47) students still in kidnapper’s dens in his state.
As the Chief Security Officer of the state, doing nothing is not leadership but a sign of abdication of responsibility and abysmal failure of governance.
I know for a fact that hundreds or thousands of his citizens all across the state are dialoguing daily with these murderous kidnappers to secure the release of their loved ones as a result of the failure of the government to live up to its sacred responsibility of protecting the people.
It is simply reckless self-delusion for a state Governor who has no control over even the Police Constable guarding him or the traffic warden (“Yellow Fever”) at the traffic junctions in his state, to think that he has powers over the use of instruments of force which constitutionally reside with the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
His unguarded utterances are irresponsible, dangerous and unbecoming of a leader at a time of national crisis. He is endangering the lives of millions of people including his family by saying that he would not pay ransom even if his family member is kidnapped.
Kaduna state has now become the epicenter of banditry thanks to the Governor’s boastful utterances. When we visited the forest in Niger state, the leaders of the bandits asked Sheikh Gumi if his peace initiative was only for Niger state because they heard Gov. El-Rufaí on the radio saying there would be no dialogue in his state. We could see them calming down when the Sheikh tactfully assured them that his dialogue and peace initiative was for the whole nation.
After the Chibok school girls’ abduction in 2014, El-Rufa’i as a member of the opposition was all over the media criticising President Jonathan’s Administration for doing nothing because these were children of the poor. He went on to say that he supported using dialogue and negotiations to free the girls. What changed, His Excellency? I asked.
Governor El-Rufai’s indelible legacy in Kaduna state will be that during his stewardship, the state experienced the worst insecurity with the first school abduction in any state capital of the nation, first state with two school abductions in six weeks, first state where students were murdered in cold blood by their abductors and the first state where the Governor by his words and deed had shown no empathy or compassion for the lives of the abducted students or their families.
Students kidnapped from Federal College of Forestry Mechanization (FCFM) Afaka
A. Number of students abducted; 39
B. Date of abduction:11th March, 2021
C. Gender: Male 16, Female 23
D. Religion: Muslims 5, Christians 34
E. Current Status: Released 10, Alive 29, No Deaths
F. Number still in captivity: 29
G. Days in captivity to date: 50
Students kidnapped from Greenfield University
A. Number of students abducted; 23
B. Date of abduction: 20th April, 2021
C. Gender: Male 6, Female 17
D. Religion: Muslims 6, Christians 17
E. Current Status: live 18, Killed 5
F. Number still in captivity: 18
G. Days in captivity to date: 11 days
Summary of Tables 1 & 2 above
The total number of students abducted from both institutions was sixty two (62), twenty two males (35%) and forty females (65%). There were eleven (18%) Muslims and fifty one (82%) Christians. Forty seven (76%) are alive and still in kidnappers’ dens while five (8%) were brutally murdered in captivity. The FCFM Afaka students have so far been in captivity for 50 days while the Greenfield University students are in their 11th day in captivity.
On Wednesday April 28th 2021 midmorning, I got a distress call from Sheikh Ahmad Gumi that the parents of the students abducted from Greenfield University came to see him at home seeking his help after receiving a call from the abductors of their children who had already killed 5 in cold blood. They were threatening to kill all the remaining 18 students by a certain time if ransom was not paid. These abductors are now confirmed to be members of Ansaru a branch of Boko Haram and not your everyday, equally evil marauding bandits. We ran helter skelter all day to inform all that needed to know and kept praying and hoping that they would not act on their threats.
Sheikh Gumi and I have been inundated by subtle and sometimes not so subtle suggestions that Gov. El-Rufai and the Federal Government do not care about the fate of these students Federal and state governments acted to secure the release of Muslim students abducted in Kankara, Kagara and Jangebe in Katsina, Niger and Zamfara states respectively.
It was heartbreaking to see families of murdered Greenfield University students burying their loved ones with admirable dignity in their grief. Equally distressing to watch was the video of the 29 students of FCFM Afaka in their 47th day in captivity corralled under a tree like cattle.
One of the abducted students is said to be about seven months pregnant. They also said that many of them are sick.
The Federal government must as a matter of urgency step in to rescue these students unhurt because the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization in Afaka is a federal institution and most importantly because Gov. El-Rufai’s words and deeds are putting the lives of these students in mortal danger. I call on all men and women of conscience, Clerics of all faiths, Traditional Rulers, Religious Organisations, Labour Unions, CSOs, International Organisations, the Vatican, the Church of England and Human Rights Organizations to put pressure on the Nigerian government to save the lives of these forty seven (47) students in Kaduna.
SILENCE IN THE FACE OF EVIL IS ITSELF EVIL.
Usman Yusuf is a Professor of
Bone Marrow Transplantation