Information available to 247ureports.com through principal sources within the religious sector in Jos, the capital of Plateau State, indicate the violent clashes in North Jos may be far from subsiding in the near future less draconian measures are undertaken. This is as one of the ‘involved’ sources confirmed an ongoing buildup of armament on both sides of the divide.
According to information gathered, the current calm in North Jos portends an awaiting conflict between the youths of the local native Jos and the Islamic youths of the Hausa/Fulani origin migrating from Kano, Bauchi, Borno, Zamfara, Niger Republic, Chad and Burkina Faso.
Further inquiry revealed that the natives of Jos, particularly, the youths had opted to take matters into their hands and to take the offensive instead of perpetually being on the defensive. The youths who had originally looked upon the church to act in their defense, have come to see the church as a failure. In particular, the head of the Roman Catholic church in Nigeria in his recent visit to Jos stated publicly that “we [they] are not interested” in the Jos crisis. He went on to add that the crisis falls within the purview of federal government. The Anglican Communion had also expressed their lack of interest in the ongoing crisis. In their take, the crisis also falls within the purview of the State and Federal government. The Pentecostal churches have also washed their hands of the crisis.
One of the youths stated that they have chosen to go the traditional route through their village vigilante services to arm themselves against the expected upsurge of violence. The youth adds that they have been raising monies on their own and acquiring weapons [AK47s] through the help of military men stationed in Jos. [Normally, following raids by the Special Task Force, recovered weapons are sold by the security operatives to the youths on the other side of the aisle]. He revealed that the local chiefs/monarchs have been playing the role of coordinators for the ongoing fund raising activities. He however did not mention the names of the monarchs involved. One of the noted community spiritualists adds that the youths have resorted to fetish powers to arm themselves. The spiritualist then added “be ready to bury more bodies”.
On the other side of the divide, in the camp of the Islamic youths, is a group in preps for outright war. Our source in North Jos points to a well coordinated strategy to up the violent campaign in Jos to intolerable levels. The credible source revealed that lecturers at the University of Jos in tandem with some of the Muslim cleric have begun a crash campaign in the campus of “radicalization” of students against what is believed to be an upcoming push. Strange and new faces of youths are reported by sources to be on the increase in and around the University environs. Most of the new faces are said to be youths who are not resident or conversant of the University environs.
Beyond the surface of what appears to observers as mere tribal-religious clash is what our credible source points as being purely religious. He points to three main figures in Jos as coordinating the crisis, Sali Hassan who is considered the voice of Muslims in North Jos and the point man, Inua Ali whose sons are powerful politicians is considered a point man also, and Malam Jengre who is considered an Islamic scholar and a spiritual leader, he interprets the Koran for his followers.
The three figures are reported to be well connected and have a considerable reach into the power players in Abuja and in the Northern States – who often act as financers of the Islamic activities in North Jos. Some of the financers, according to the ‘involved’ source include the former governor of Bauchi State, Mu’azu, former governor of Borno State Modu Sherrif, former governor of Zamfara State, Sani Yerima, the present governor of Zamfara State, Gov Yari, a former ‘unnamed’ National Security Adviser [NSA] and former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau. The former chairman of the joint task force, Umar Hassan was named as an involved partner – who was in the know of the activities of the Islamic militants.
In all, sources from both sides of the divide who spoke to our correspondent both agree that a violent outbreak is imminent. They noted this while appreciating the efforts of President Jonathan towards halting the continue violence. They state however that until the fundamental factors that underline the conflict are addressed, the violent outbreak remains inevitable.