By Dr. Musa Adamu
I read with consternation President Muhammadu Buhari’s reaction to the purported missile attack near the holy Ka’abah by Shiite Houthi-led Ansarullah fighters from across the Yemeni border. President Buhari was widely reported in the Nigerian media outlets condemning the purported missile attack and lending support to Saudi Arabia in its “fight against terrorism” in Yemen. Such reaction could have been apt had the Houthis truly launched attack on the holy Ka’abah or had the Saudi been fighting terrorism in Yemen.
It is quite alarming that the President Buhari I so much admired for his meticulous attention to details and his disposition to keeping abreast of global affairs who once said he always listened to the news on the radio could make such ill-thought statements, which are by no means his first.
Despite incontrovertible proof from Google Earth imaging that disputed Saudi claims that Houthis fired a missile towards the holy Ka’abah President Buhari went ahead and called the Saudi monarch, King Salman ibn Abdulazeez, and expressed his support for the Saudi-led coalition’s atricities in Yemen. Our President even outdid the Saudi monarch in the propaganda. While Saudi claimed the Houthi missile landed in an open space 65 kilometres short of the city of Makkah where the Ka’abah is located without causing any harm, President Buhari prayed for the recovery of people injured in the phantom missile attack.
The Saudis were clever by half. By claiming that the Houthi missile landed in an open space without any harm the Saudi authourities avoided the onus of bringing any proof of damage from the ballistic attack that never happened. Our President never gave it a thought because his Wahabbi handlers told him what they wanted him to believe.
It is not hard to understand why our President quickly sided with Saudi based on this spurious claim and refused to give the Houthis a listening ear. Hear what the Houthis said in a statement they issued on Friday through their spokesman Mohammad Abdulsalam:
“The Yemeni nation needs no proof to show its Arab and Muslim identity. It has never targeted religious sites, and definitely treats religious rites with much greater respect compared to US mercenaries. Aggressors must end their attacks and siege against Yemen, embrace peace and observe the principle of good neighborliness”.
These are no words of terrorists. I’m sure President Buhari is very familiar with the language of terrorists because he has been fighting Boko Haram Salafi terrorist group since the day he assumed office on 29 May, 2015.
It is a surprise that our President never bothered to check with our diplomatic sources in Jeddah where the Houthi’s locally manufactured Borkan-1 (Volcano-1) missile actually hit its target at the King Abdulaziz International Airport, located 19 kilometers north of the port city.
President Buhari’s statement on the purported holy Ka’abah attack is the second diplomatic blunder he has committed on the Yemen-Saudi conflict at the instance of Saudi authorities.
When on 15 December 2015 Saudi Arabia unilaterally formed a 34-nation coalition of Muslim countries it dubbed “Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) ostensibly to fight terrorists which the Saudis themselves created through their schizophrenic Wahabbi ideology President Buhari submissively agreed to join the coalition.
It is interesting to note that while traditional Saudi allies including Pakistan, Lebanon, Algeria and Malaysia outrightly rejected the alliance, President Buhari hurriedly declared in an interview on AlJazeera TV “we are part of it because we have got terrorists in Nigeria that everybody knows which claims that they are Islamic”.
This declaration by our President was too patronising. Pakistan and Algeria have been battling Salafi-Wahabbi terrorism for years before Nigeria but they refused to join the Saudi alliance which intent and purpose were evident from the start. Even Egypt, another Saudi ally pulled out of the alliance last month because it realised Saudi aim is not to fight the terrorist monster Riyadh created but to strengthen it. The coalition was primarily formed to target terrorists in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan but we have seen how the alliance has been reduced to destruction of Yemen and its people. This partly explains Egypt’s withdrawal from the alliance despite the fact that the coalition was supposed to help it in fighting IS-linked terrorists in Sinai whose deadly attacks have adversely crippled Egypt’s tourism industry, its major revenue earner.
Yes, we get Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria sharing the same macabre Saudi manufactured Salafi ideology with all terrorist groups hiding under the cover of Islam. One would have expected President Buhari to be focused on fighting this monster instead of dabbling into a sectarianism inspired alliance for geopolitical domination in the Middle East.
According to the United Nations since March 2015 the Saudi-led military coalition airstrikes in Yemen have killed more than 10,000 people, mostly women and children, injured more than 35,000 others. The conflict and a blockade imposed by the coalition have also triggered a humanitarian disaster, leaving 80 percent of the Yemeni population in need of aid.
The destruction of civilian infrastructure and restrictions on food and fuel imports have also led to 21 million people being deprived of life-sustaining commodities and basic services.
The UN says 3.1 million Yemenis are internally displaced, while 14 million people are suffering from food insecurity and 370,000 children under the age of five are at risk of starving to death.
More than 1,900 of the country’s 3,500 health facilities have been destroyed, leaving half the population without adequate healthcare.
On October 8 Saudi Arabian-led coalition bombed a funeral in Yemeni capital Sanaa, killing 142 people and wounded 600. And just on Saturday the coalition fired missile on a prison in the city of Hodeida, killing 60 people and injuring 38 others.
The indiscriminate carnage by Saudi Arabia and its allies has drawn widespread criticism and concern including from the United States, a strong Saudi ally. The depredations in Yemen have made the US to start mulling over reviewing its arms sales pact with Saudi Arabia, its largest arms client in the world.
The book ‘Targhib wal-Tarhib’ of Imam al-Mundhiri (vol 3, page 276) contains the following hadith from Abd Allah ibn Amr ibn al-As in which he said:
“I saw the messenger of Allah (sawa) performing tawaf round the Ka’abah saying to it: ‘how pure and good you are! how pure and good your fragrance is! how great and exalted you are! and how great and exalted your sanctity is! But by Him in Whose hand is Muhammad’s soul, the sanctity of a believer’s blood and property in the sight of Allah is greater than your sanctity!’“
Ibn Majah recorded the following hadith from Abdullahi ibn Umar:
“I saw the Prophet doing tawwaf round the Ka’aba saying ‘How sweet and good are you and how sweet is your scent. How great are you and how great is your sanctity. By the One who the soul of Mohammad is in His Hand the sanctity of a believer is greater with Allah than your sanctity’”
Sadly, President Buhari has not for once expressed his concern over these atrocities by Saudi Arabia and its coalition of killers. And the reason is simple: He has been encircled by Wahabbi-Salafi aides that have handed him over to their Saudi mentors, packaged and sealed.
And this is not mere conjucture. The First Lady Aisha Buhari expressed concern on how the President had been hijacked by a cabal in the explosive interview she granted BBC Hausa recently. She wondered that she no longer understood her husband of 27 years who had become so pliant to the cabal despite his legendary resoluteness. Although the BBC edited that portion of the interview on editorial grounds the nation got to know of it courtesy of journalist and blogger Jaafar Jaafar who had the privilege of listening to the raw interview for professional advice from Naziru Mika’ilu, the BBC Hausa Abuja editor who happened to be his close friend and media colleague. Jaafar wrote a long piece on the issue that was published on Sahara Reporter portal.
To every Wahabbi the conflict in Yemen is a Jihad by Sunni Saudi Arabia and its allies against Shia Houthi fighters. Therefore any support in favour of Saudi Arabia should be mobilised. This is why the Wahabbi cabal surrounding President Buhari is pushing him into pitching tent with their ideological master.
But is the Yemeni conflict really sectarian? It is no doubt the Shia Houthis have Iranian backing but the Houthis are only part of the equation in the conflict. The Shia Houthis who formed the majority in northern Yemen constitute 45 percent of the population while the other 55 percent of the population is Sunni, mostly following the Shafi’i school of Islamic thought.
The Houthis are in alliance with the Sunni forces of former President Ali Abdallah Saleh who was forced to step down and was succeeded by his deputy and now Saudi-propped fugitive President Abdel Rabbou Mansur Hadi living in exile in Saudi Arabia.
The conflict has its roots in the failure of the political transition that was supposed to bring stability to Yemen following an uprising that forced its longtime authoritarian president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to hand over power to his then deputy Abdel Rabbou Mansur Hadi in November 2011.
Hadi’s failure to form a broad-based government, fight corruption, tackle unemployment and food insecurity in the impoverished country led to another revolt, with the Houthis taking control of their northern heartland of Saada province and neighbouring areas.
Saudi Arabia moved its tanks and deployed its fighter jets to Yemen with the mission of restoring Hadi’s government within two months. And 18 months into the illegal intervention and with all the aerial bombardments Saudi is loosing the war that is hurting its wobbling economy. It has deliberately sought to portray the self-imposed war as part of a regional power struggle between Shia-ruled Iran and Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia.
Having failed in all fronts Saudi is alarmed that the Houthis and their allies are widening their relatiatory ballistic attacks which were hitherto restricted to Saudi towns and military barracks along the border with Yemen. The attack on Jeddah airport has sent a signal that the Houthis may soon target Riyadh. The Ka’abah missile attack hoax is meant to mobilise Muslim sentiment in favour of Saudi Arabia in the Yemen conflict.
It is ridiculous for the same Saudi authoutities that rolled tanks into the sanctuary of the Ka’abah in 1981 and severely damaged the eastern wall of the Ka’abah in their desperation to crush the Kahtani revolution against the despotic rule of the monarchy to now accuse any Muslim of trying to attack the holy House of God.
An October 14 BBC analysis titled ‘Yemen conflict: who is fighting who’ stated:
“Disillusioned with the transition, many ordinary Yemenis – including Sunnis – supported the Houthis and in September 2014 they entered the capital, Sanaa, setting up street camps and roadblocks”.
This discredits the false claim that Saudi Arabia is fighting terrorist in Yemen, the same claim President Buhari regurgitated in his phone conversation with the Saudi monarch. The regular anti-Saudi street protests by thousands of Yemenis across the country are a testimony to the fact that Saudi Arabia is fighting a whole country. Is our President telling us that Yemenis are all terrorists which Saudi and its coalition are fighting to eliminate? It is obvious President Buhari acted on the skewed information his Wahabbi handlers passed to him.
On the contrary, the Saudi-led invasion has helped Salafi terrorists in taking foothold in Yemen. Terrorists from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and rival IS affiliates have taken advantage of the chaos created by the Saudi invasion to seize territory in southern Yemen from where they repeatedly launch deadly attacks on the port city of Aden and other places.
Nigeria has witnessed an unprecedented rapproachment with Saudi Arabia since President Buhari came to power. We are witnesses to the frequent visits to Nigeria by Saudi Wahabbi evangelists since March when the Saudi-funded Wahabbi Izala group organized an international conference to rid Nigeria of ‘deviant Islamic ideologies’. Saudi officials and clerics featured prominently in the conference. President Buhari also graced the event. By doing that the President inadvertently lent open support to Wahabbis to cause sectarian strife in Nigeria. His presence emboldened them.
With the increased presence of Saudi clerics in Nigeria has come increase in sectarian tensions. It is on record that wherever Saudi sets foot blood flows. Armed Wahabbi thugs imbued by intensified sectarian hate preaching in Wahabbi-run satellite television channels went on killing spree of minority Shiite Muslims in some cities in the north. For two days these killer dogs went door-to-door hunting Shia faithful, looting and destroying their homes in broad daylight. Not a word of condemnation was heard from our President.
Our President is always quick in condeming terrorist attacks in other countries but never deems it appropriate, if not a duty, to condemn same when it happens to his minority Shiite citizens.
“They have attacked a hotel in Mali, leaving 21 people dead. They killed over 130 people in attacks on Paris and they murdered 28 persons in Burkina Faso. Terrorism does not respect territorial boundaries again” were President Buhari’s words in a telephone conversation with his Ivorian counterpart Alassane Ouattara following the terror attack in Cote d’Ivoire in March. Yet, our President couldn’t have the heart to commiserate with his citizens when 21 people were killed in November 2015 in a Boko Haram suicide attack on a procession of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), a Shiite Muslim group.
The President kept mum on the December 2015 clashes between the IMN and the Nigerian military in Zaria, on the ground that he would wait for the report of the Kaduna state judicial commission of inquiry into the incident in which 348 members of IMN were killed by soldiers and secretly buried in a mass grave.
Almost three months after the committee submitted its report not a word has been heard from Mr. President on it. The committee recommended inter alia the proscription of IMN as an illegal association and a national security threat as well as prosecution of soldiers responsible for the Zaria killings. Already the Kaduna state government has banned IMN which is within its powers but not a single soldier among those who participated in the Zaria crackdown against IMN has been summoned for questioning, not to talk of prosecution. The military is a federal institution with President Buhari as its Commander-in-Chief.
We saw how the Nigerian government launched investigation into the extrajudicial killings of Boko Haram terrorists in Maiduguri in 2009 in which the group’s leader was killed despite the fact that Boko Haram took up arms against the state.
The IMN is of course lawless, notorious for civil disobedience. That doesn’t not strip its members of their citizenship or their humanity. At least they have not taken up arms against the state despite their rather confrontational tendencies.
One can rightly accuse IMN of civil disobedience and constant brush with the state but no one can accuse it of terrorism which is the hallmark of Salafi Boko Haram in the same way one cannot accuse it of promoting or participating in Muslim-Christian religious antagonism and violence for which Wahabi Izala has been notoriously known. Even with the mass killings of its members by the military in Zaria, the destruction of its religious centres, the maiming and incarceration of its leader since December last year and the recent mob attacks by Wahabi thugs the IMN has generally exercised restraint despite its restlessness over the continued detention of its leader for almost a year without trial. IMN’s Shiite faith is the reason for such restraint despite the group’s flaunting of many Shia precepts.
On the contrary, we are all witnesses to the reaction of Salafi Boko Haram over the deadly military crackdown on its Maiduguri headquarters in 2009 which set stage for the horror and hardship its terrorist activities have wrought on the nation.
Nigerian Wahabbi struts about with an air of arrogance, believing that they own Nigeria because of the Wahabbi cabal that surrounds the President and infuences his decisions in their favour. They feel Nigeria is now a Wahabbi state and every Muslim must accept their insane ideology or die.
We have seen how Wahabbi red-rag bearers including royal fathers, clerics and intellectuals have been making incendiary declarations that they would never allow Shia to exist in Nigeria. This is apparently a veiled call to violence since the Nigerian constitution guarantees religious freedom within the confines of the law. Unfortunately, the government never bothers because that is exactly what the Wahabbi cabal in government wants to perpetuate. And Saudi is undoubtedly at play, stoking the fire of sectarianism with the intent of creating an inferno.
And the Shiites are only the beginning, as Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, the renown Tijjaniyya Sufi cleric warned last month in an audio posted online in the wake of the anti-Shiite Wahabbi attacks. Hear the Sheikh:
“Some of the Wahabbis were heard saying after Shiites they would turn to Sufi followers and then Christians. They should note that attacking Sufi followers will be more infernal than touching fire”.
This is a wake up call to my Christian compatriots who have also borne the brunt of largely Wahabbi-inspired religious clashes in northern Nigeria. It is a known fact that the advent of Wahabbi Izala in Nigeria has been responsible for the religious disharmony between Muslims and Christians that Nigeria is now grappling with. The wounds inflicted by such internecine religious clashes are yet to heal.
His Eminence Cardinal John Onaiyekan summed it up during a visit to Ilorin last month thus:
“How can a religion be banned? I am not settled because, one day the government might just decide to ban the Catholic Church in Kaduna. So I am saying at the top of my voice at the moment so that when the moment comes that the Catholic Church is being banned, at least it will be remembered that I gave warnings when the Shiites group was also banned. It is not right at all”.
President Buhari should not allow his government to be hijaked by Wahabbi religious bigots doing the biddings of their Saudi mentors to further a sectarian agenda that is dangerous and inimical for the future and development of Nigeria. Nigeria should not be dragged into the geopolitics in the Middle East between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Our country should not be used as a proxy war front.
President Buhari’s patriotism and love for Nigeria is not in doubt. For a man who put his life on the line to fight a civil war to keep the nation one his patriotic credentials are not in question. However, religion, as sublime as it is, can be turned by people of evil into an opium that can induce stupor even in the strongest mind. It is high time the President woke up from this evil spell.