Monday, March 8, 2010

Since November 2008 when at least 300 people lost their lives, there have been far too many incidents of violence in Jos, Plateau State. In January 2010, there were at least 200 deaths as a result of fighting in Jos. The violence forced many to flee their homes to camps in neighboring Bauchi State. That incident was apparently sparked by inciting text messages and spurred the creation of a committee to to review the causes of the violence and create a map for lasting peace, and resulted in the arrest of 108 suspects.

Injured person being treated at hospital. Picture from Stefanos Foundation
Source: BBC

It seems that the city of Jos is once again the epicenter of religious and tribal violence in Nigeria because, once again, fighting has erupted nearby with women and children apparently the main victims. According to reports 300 people might have been killed in fighting between Muslims and Christians. Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the military to prevent the entrance of weapons into and around Jos so as to stem the violence.

With the frequency of fighting, the governor of Plateau State (of which Jos is the capital) now faces calls for his resignation. It is argued that his failure to prevent the fighting, which has occurred three times during his 2 years in office, reflects a failure of his duty to protect constituents. Even the Northern Governor's Forum insisted that it is the responsibility of governor's to guarantee the security of constituents. The Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum recently stated,
"as governors and political leaders, our foremost constitutional responsibility is the security and welfare of the people. We must therefore, take the issue of security uppermost in our agenda..."
For these and other reasons, the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria called for Governor Jang's resignation earlier in the month. A former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, also blamed the January fighting on the Plateau State governor and suggested that Jang resign. With this new rash of fighting, it will only be a matter of time before even more voices lend to the resignation calls.

However, a state-created panel led by a former Attorney General of the Federation  absolved the governor of responsibility for the 2008 fighting. The panel instead concluded that the Hausa Fulani community, the largest ethnic group in Jos, and indeed Northern Nigeria, was partly to blame for the November 2008 fighting. This finding will help the governor defend himself against accusations and calls for resignation given the newest fighting. But, the fact that the panel was created by the governor, calls in question the independence of the panel's members and their decision.

There have been calls for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to look into the religious/tribal/political violence in Jos. Specifically, a Nigerian NGO called the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) petitioned the ICC immediately after the January 2009 violence to take a look at the
"allegations of unlawful killing ... and perpetration of other crimes under international law during the [January] violence ... in Jos, ... and the reports that the military and police used excessive force against both Christians and Muslims in responding to the violence."
Before this most recent violence, the ICC Prosecutor, Mr. Luis Moreno Ocampo, announced that his office would consider SERAP's request. Depending on the revelations that are sure to unfold regarding this newest Jos incident, the ICC might investigate the matter and that could lead to a case against certain Nigerian leaders and other individuals contributing to the repetitive fighting. Given that a Judicial Commission panel investigating Jos violence from as far back as 1994 and 2001 found that 2 high ranking police officials (one retired and one in service) were complicit in those incidents, it is possible that the ICC might not have to look to far to find those responsible for inciting violence.

The recurring violence in Jos is an example of how poverty, politics, tribalism and religious tensions can intersect to create a combustible environment. This most recent rash of fighting will also determine whether calls for the resignation of Plateau State's governor will increase and whether the ICC will take a closer look at Nigeria and some of its problems. Regardless of what happens, the violence in Jos is one more issue that Acting President Jonathan must focus on and hopefully play a role in dousing the flames before they erupt again and result in even more death and destruction.

From the Archives:
- Jos: The Power of Texts & Poverty
- Boko Haram: Questions Remain
- Aftermathof Northern Islamist Attacks
- Nigeria-List of Intolerant Nations
- Religious & Political Violence in Jos
- How To Shoot Yourself In The Foot With Al-Qaeda
- Nigeria's 10MN Child Beggars

22 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

F said...

This is such a tragedy- a continuous one, at that. Saw this when I wanted to check my mail; a man who was interviewed lost his wife and two children... I can not understand what these killings are meant to achieve... It's just crazy.

Shadenonconform said...

This is serious o. I mean like the poster above said, what are these killings meant to achieve? It's such a shame that some Nigerian leaders are partaking in the foolery of promoting religious violence. All in the name of what? And how is the military supposed to prevent the entry of weapons into Jos? Isn't this the same military that has been accused of often providing weapons to religious fanatics? Sigh..

May the souls of the innocent lives lost rest in peace.

LaPenseuse said...

There is a trend here, Christian- Muslim violence always comes up right before elections... very fishy... it is not really religious intolerance that is the root of this crap.

Remi, United Kingdom said...

I saw this on the news too. This is really sad. I mean what is the killing of innocent people meant to achieve! This spirit of violence that hides behind religious differences... ! @ LaPenseuse that's a correct observation. It makes no sense at all !
God help this country. Amen

warrioRR said...


Anonymous said...

we know whats going on! As Nigerians, we must force the authorities by speaking out against something so inhumane, i don't want to get used to saying 'O, its Jos, there's always violence there' because they are not just statistics, they are men, women and children like you and I. The media, any artiste, people in public office must speak out. They (the people in Jos involved) are human like the rest of us. Let's stop the violence!

- Tessa D. from Facebook

Anonymous said...

this is just sad ah ha!

- A.G. from Facebook

Onose said...

its sad...theres no other words to describe it. I bleed for Nigeria. I dont know whether to go their and quell the brain drain or become a humanitarian( btw could u give me a link to bumrights blog?) thanks in advance.

Myne said...

I really wonder what is going on in Jos. And what has the government done about it? I hear women and children were targeted this time, just so sad.

Tai -Osagbemi Boma said...

governor resign?? really in Nigeria?
has your comatose president resigned ? people in power in NIGERIA only leave when they are forced out!!!!
..the jos crisis is just sad and sicken on so so many levels. is there no limit to the depravity in the country ?

Vic said...

Wheather it is Christian, or muslim or whatever. How comes we brand machets and guns in the name of defending God or gods. Can't the God or gods fight for themselves. The destructions of our youths psychology in regards to importance of life is what is at stake here. Before there was religion, we existed. Now what is the peace the institutions of religion and politics has to offer? All the have given us nothing but death.
Yes! Death of life and values.


RE-Entrepod said...

After doing a requesite bit of backreading I have to think that someone needs to take a very close look at this situation. if it has to be the international criminal court, then so be it.

the situation as I can read, resembles the early days of the rwandan genocide. the governor seems to be complicit; if he is not ordering the military to control the situation.

we know that tribalism and religious conflicts are at the root; but these murders - oh no.

these tribal situations and conflicts have existed for generations before now. without this large amount of murders. why murder the women and children if it is about man and man conflict ?

We need to know why has this situation suddenly become so untenable ? that is what needs to be examined and discovered undoubtably. if it takes outside eyes to discover the reality then please let them come now.

Yes the president is asleep and no one inside the situation is speaking good sense.

so please mek dem come now quick quick. mek we hear truth now.

Anya Posh said...

What's all this matter with Indigenes and Settlers?! Aren't we all Nigerians? These kinds of problems spit at the very core of our National Identity; if we cannot be 'Nigerians' or whatever heck we are, then we should call it a day & stop killing people for nothing.

Paschal said...

Too bad. Nigerians don't know where to channel their anger. Why kill ourselves and allow our leaders enjoy what is left of our beloved country, Nigeria. If one tenth of the aggression displayed in Jos was directed to the government of the state, I'm sure we'ld see tremendous changes in that state. God help us.

Okey.Chukbyke C. said...

Good job you are doing......Nice seeing your on BBC yesterday

chel.ritchel said...

many people died because of poverty and hungry for power.the ICC might investigate the matter and that could lead to a case against certain Nigerian leaders and other individuals contributing to the repetitive fighting.Thanks for your great article more power to your site! G_d bless ;-) Love, Peace and hope for everyone.

Anonymous said...

What are we saying? the water is polluted becouse of its rotten source. As am speaking, Nigerians dont now about the were about of him who is the president. What a shame...

Anonymous said...

we dont have a not proud to be a Nigerian..this country is all messed up..

Anonymous said...

Nigerians everywhere should rise up and open wide their eyes in order to see what the political elites are doing to Nigeria and Nigerians.they i.e d politicians are the actual perpetrators of all the inhumane acts unfolding in our beloved country,they are only hiding behind the guise of religon or whatever.I know for sure that God will in the soonest future place honest and sincere men and women of integrity in positions of power to restore Nigeria and place her at the level she rightly deserves.Oh GOD!please save your children,save Nigerians.May the souls of the jos´victims rest in peace,in Jesus name,amen.

Unknown said...

For sure Nigerians don’t know where to direct their anger, all this killings in Jos must be a result of something but want can be gain form killing? Instead of killing poor/innocent people why not channel this anger to those criminals (governors and senators) in the high post who have and still embezzling money for their selfish interest. I believe if corruption is not properly cleaned from the TOP (Presidency) the bottom will never be clean.

May the souls of the innocent lives lost rest in peace.

Types of Charts said...

The Nigerian military has exhumed seven fresh corpses from shallow graves near the city of Jos, in the latest apparent revenge killing. There are almost daily reports of attacks on people in rural villages and of disappearances in Jos itself.

Anonymous said...

I was sent a picture of a burnt woman and her child during the Jos crisis of 10 March. Then I went to this site. Please be informed, the pictures are DISTURBING, even if you have the heart, it will move you.

While the now president of our country explain the root course away from religious grounds, what other grounds could have made not just a human being but a group of human beings this wicked, nefarious, impious, fiendish and evil except the very being (believe) of those men! If the perpetuators see nothing wrong, they will do it again!

What can be done to put a FINAL STOP to this?

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