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Boko Haram Since 1945: The pioneering of Genocide In Africa! – By Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu



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General Yakubu Gowon
General Yakubu Gowon


Against  the backdrop of the recent dastardly  attack by  bloodthirsty  Boko Haram terrorists  in the Sabon gari area of Kano,  it is important  for the avoidance of doubt and for the purposes of both legal and historical  purposes at this tragic crossroads in the nation’s bloodied history  to properly  situate the context and history of the seven decades of  organised ethnic cleansing  and mass murders in Northern Nigeria. The North as a region has long been embedded in a culture of violence. Prior to the arrival of British colonialists, there was  an expansionist  Islamic  jihad that was awash in violence and mass killings.  The arrival of colonial Britain halted the jihadist rampage of violence and started   the  evolution  of  the freak  contraption  we now know as Nigeria.


In the context of  modern  Nigeria,  many are ignorant of the fact  that  a  clear, organised  and established  pattern of  mass murder-genocide   started  specifically in Jos,  Northern  Nigeria  in 1945 in which several  people were killed, several others maimed  and property destroyed.  Said to have been a protest against the amalgamation of the North and the South, this single act in 1945, pioneered   acts of organised violence against other ethno-religious groups without precedent anywhere in Africa and became the beginning of a routine campaign of targeted mass murders since seven  decades  that  has  since  metamorphosed  into Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria.


In 1953, following the call for independence by Anthony Enahoro in the federal parliament in Lagos, Northern  leaders who stridently opposed the independence call by the South,  organised  deadly riots in Kano  that killed scores of people,  injured several  others  and destroyed numerous properties. The only  reason  for  this  mass  killing was the opposition of  the North to independence.  Thus from 1945 and subsequently in 1953, Northern  leaders  had begun the now routine pattern of organized mass killings of other  ethno-religious  groups whenever it suited their  sectional  calculations. Of particular note was the fact that the Northern region native authorities police who were supposed  to  maintain law and order participated in the mass murder of innocent civilians and wanton destruction of property which was to be a modus operandi  they later employed and perfected  in the pogrom-genocide of 1966.

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In the years  leading  up to 1966, census rigging, election rigging,  Tiv riots, thuggery, arson, violence  in the Western region  (wetie)  and other acts of corruption and lawlessness occasioned a bloody coup by restive officers. The anti-corruption essence of the coup was quickly lost as Nigeria’s ethnic contradictions  dressed the coup in tribal garments.  The North already well entrenched in a culture  of  organised  mass killings made good use of the tribalisation of the coup and in carefully  planned attacks   launched Africa’s first genocide in a secessionist  counter coup (araba). By the time the dust settled,  over 50,000 innocent civilians including women and children had been brutally  maimed, raped and slaughtered for a political coup in which they had no hand.  More troubling was the fact that all sectors of the security establishment including top Northern military and police officers who were supposed to maintain law and order were directly involved in the mass killing of civilians. The whole strata of Northern leadership from the emirs to the politicians and the military–police officers were implicated in the pioneering of the first African genocide, an event that later led to the civil-war. Long before the genocides in Rwanda, Sudan amongst others, Northern Nigeria had led the way in pioneering genocide in Africa.


After a brief interregnum in the aftermath of a gruelling civil-war, mass killings resumed in the North, continuing  the  long culture of  mass murders and ethnic cleansing. Several   bloody clashes leading up to the Maitsasine riots coloured the 70’s and early 80’s in blood with more than 10,000 people  brutally slaughtered  and countless  properties looted and burnt.  In the period between 1980 and 1999,  several  such organised acts of mass murder  that  led to the killing and maiming of tens of thousands were routine.  In 1996, a particularly outrageous case was the beheading of Gideon Akaluka. His dismembered head was put on a spike and paraded through the streets of Kano by jubilating mass murderers.

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Beginning  in 2000, leaders of several Northern states demanded the application of Sharia law in direct  contravention  of Nigeria’s secular constitutional  status,  the ensuing  crisis led  to deadly clashes between Christians and Muslims,  with more than 30,000 people  estimated to have died from the carnage. Through the decade from 2000 to 2010, barbaric acts of mass murder were the norm. Most notable have been the unending Jos  massacres  that have since  snowballed into a low intensity conflict,  the 2002 miss world riots, the 2006 Denmark cartoon riots,  the gruesome murder in 2007 of  Ms  Oluwatoyin Oluseesan a school  teacher  in Gombe state amongst others.



Thus, the arrival of Boko Haram and other terrorist organisations linked to Al Qaeda and operating with the same modus operandi as Al Qaeda with near daily suicide bombings of churches and other public places is only a graduation of a culture of mass killing that has since been cultivated and nurtured in the North since 1945. Boko Haram is a Frankenstein created by Northern leaders which has now metamorphosed into a more deadly organization determined to  widen the scale and scope of  mass killings. It is estimated that  more than 500,000 people have been  brutally murdered, another 600,000 maimed and  property in excess of four  billion dollars looted or destroyed in seven decades of ethnic cleansing-genocide in Northern Nigeria.


The  mass killing of innocents in a bus park in Kano is a familiar pattern of seven decades of genocide against Christians and Southerners premeditated and sponsored  by Northern political and religious leaders and very often with the participation of Northern security officers who are supposed to maintain law and order. Mass killing has for so long become  embedded in the culture of the North that there can be no end to it. The only and final solution is the convocation of a sovereign national conference and a separation between the Muslim North and the South.





By  Lawrence Chinedu  Nwobu




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