Recently, the menace of terrorism or extremism in Nigeria has been constantly linked with the North, and particularly, the Hausa people. Terrorism is quite relatively new to Nigeria (only if we refuse to tag the activities of the Niger delta militants as terrorism). Maybe I should use terms like religious or political terrorism. However, terrorism in the simplest layman understanding is quite new in Nigeria – including the “economic terrorism” of the Niger Delta militants.
Almost all broadcasters of global major news organizations have learned (or learning) how to pronounce some states and places in northern Nigeria – sadly, thanks to terrorism – which they would normally have never pronounced throughout their entire broadcasting career (for good reasons of course). Names like Borno, Maiduguri, Yobe, Kaduna, Chibok, Damboa, Gwoza, Mubi etc. are becoming increasingly popular. Some of the northern states and places have also been in the spot light during periods of political and religious crises, but their reportage have been rather sporadic, or limited to a short period.
The activities of terrorism have painted the Hausa man in a very unfair bad light. If those who label all Hausa people as terrorists and violent extremists truly know the Hausa people in their original form (before some of them got grossly contaminated by politics, sectarianism, extremism, fear of powerlessness, ignorance, illiteracy etc), they may have a second thought
I was born in Northern Nigeria, schooled and lived there for over 2 decades. I have also traveled to over 12 Northern states. It is helpful to remind the reader that we have both the Hausa Christians and the Hausa Muslims although the latter are more than the former. They have the same culture but different religions. During my early years in the north, I mingled with the Hausa kids and blended with them. When I was young, I did almost everything with them apart from praying with the Muslims among them; though a couple of times I had innocently strongly considered it due to our propinquity; it almost didn’t matter! I even learnt most of their religious rites without being actively taught. Most of my knowledge was as a result of my close proximity with them and their ways of life. We had each other’s back. They were trust worthy and could trust someone easily – to a fault.
The average Hausa man isn’t greedy. He is so simple that he will charge you a very “simple” price for his services. Even if the price doesn’t sooth him, he will agree to do it in order not to sever the relationship between both of you. The Hausa man is easily cheated because he is simple and trusts easily. Terms like “amana*”, “haram*”, “Imani*”, “adalci*” etc mean so much to the Muslims. The Hausa Christians too are very similar. However, politics brought about extremism and the fact that Muslim Hausa man being highly gullible due to his magnetic relationship with his religion. Illiteracy however played a greater role in this.
Whenever there is success in radicalizing a bunch of them, the riots and chaos that ensues knows no bounds. The north is the last place you would want to be at such times. One would be forced to wonder if these were the folks that you ate and shared things together with. However, I can assure you that the entire major religious tagged crisis in the north always had strong political undertones. Religion has been used as a cover for odious political deviousness. The commotion that this brings has strained the relationship between southerners and northerners, and Christians and Muslims overtime. With this relationship strained, it became very easy to set ablaze an already inflammable situation any time the need arose.
It will be illuminating to look into who exactly is the “original Hausa man?”. Another striking question is “does the Hausa man really know who he is?”
in the part two of this series, we shall be looking into “the Hausa man in his original form prior to the Jihad”
(To be continued)