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Our Brother’s ‘Violence begets violence’ utterance can beget Boko Haram

Mark Owen Woyongo.

The Interior Minister, Mark Owen Woyongo is reported as saying, ‘…I’m aware there were a few isolated clashes and it is across the political divide; it wasn’t just on one [side]. NPP people were attacked; NDC people were also attacked so it cut across the political divide.” He said, “Violence begets violence”; the Azorka Boys would not mete out violence if they were not provoked. The other side also brought in some people; the ‘invisible forces’ and the ‘Bolga Bull Dogs’, so violence begets violence’. He said the ‘Azorka Boys’ were just protecting themselves which is only human.

The assertion that, there were few isolated clashes seeks to show his attempt to minimise the problem when injuries were recorded and individuals traumatised as a result.

Seemingly, Mr Woyongo is aware of the existence of these groups alleged to be causing violence, yet his outfit allowed them to flourish. If this trend continues, more and more of similar groups would be formed to counter each other rendering the national security impotent. The long term effect is mercenaries/terrorist developing out of them to disturb the peace of the entire nation.

Nasara UK condemns in no uncertain terms the unfortunate and reckless remarks from the Honourable Minister. We find it particularly worrying and disturbing when such an utterance is coming from a high ranking governmental official with the sole mandate of keeping and ensuring peace and calm in the country. We were in the middle of our Holy month of Ramadan when our brother made this statement.

We therefore couldn’t comment as we were keen on focusing on the observance of the third pillar of Islam. ‘Insha Allah’ we have had a blissful ‘Eid-Ul-Fitr’ and as part of our ‘Baraka da Sallah’ presents, it seems fitting for us, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write out for you in the appropriate order, most beloved Brother Woyongo.

Our Brother sadly endorses the formation of Boko Haram in Ghana

Dear Brother, Uncle and Father (whichever is applicable) Woyongo. Kindly be reminded that the origins of the group Boko Haram lie in a youth group at the Alhaji Muhammadu Ndimi mosque in Maiduguri in Borno state in northeastern Nigeria in the mid-1990s. Muhammad Yusuf assumed leadership of the group at that time. Yusuf was a student of Ja‘far Mahmud Adam, a prominent Ahlus Sunna cleric based in Kano, and for some time, was considered a potential successor to Adam.

Yusuf and Adam apparently fell out around 2002, and Yusuf began to withdraw from the Ndimi mosque to establish his own community around a new compound in Maiduguri from where he launched what became known as Boko Haram. At the height of public polemical exchanges between Yusuf and Adam, the latter was gunned down in 2007 during early morning prayers inside a mosque in Kano, apparently on the orders of Yusuf.

Both federal and national politicians under Sani Abacha, Abdul Salam Abubakari and Olusegun Obasanjo saw this ‘baby dinosaur’ growing but turned a blind eye. To the extent that some of these politician, like you, Brother ‘Boko-minded’ Woyongo, made careless statements in support of Mohammed Yusuf’s terrorist activities in Maiduguri.

Woyongo-like politicians in Nigeria who were only interested in being seen in suits rather than connecting more with their kith and kin encouraged  Muhammadu Yusuf who continued to mobilise and consolidate his group until July 2009, when following a confrontation with police, the group’s compound and Mosque in Maiduguri was razed to the ground. Yusuf himself was captured by the military and handed over to the police, who by all accounts, executed him.

Several members were killed and some escaped into neighbouring Niger and Cameroun. Others went to Algeria and Somalia for training in militant camps. Abubakar Shekau, Yusuf’s second-in-command, assumed leadership, and from 2010 started a wave of brutal attacks apparently to avenge Yusuf’s death. Today what do we see? We demand an answer, dear brother. Northern Ghana is all that we have so spare a thought for posterity in this volatile area of Ghana the next time you have such an opportunity to. You are a minister for all and not an NDC minister or the patron of Azorka boys. We know you know this- this is just a reminder.

Imagine what would have happened in Ghana on 29th August 2013 if the Insha Allah, President in waiting, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, in his response to the disgraceful Atubiga verdict, had stated ‘violence begets violence’ or ‘bad judgement begets bad judgement’ ‘so my dear Kukrudites go out there on the streets and exhibit activities of bad judgement’.  However, Nana, in an unparalleled display of astuteness, opted to think about Ghana first. Believe it or not, it is Nana’s utterance after the Supreme Court verdict that is winning him the presidency in 2016. In other words, Nana won the Presidency on 29th August 2013.

It is quite reasonable to conclude that, your ‘violence begets violence’ utterance will switch all level headed NDC supporters, especially those from the North, to consider voting for NPP rather than the NDC. Why not? Yes, they will, because you reason like Abubakari Shekau, the Boko Haram leader. We think it is important to remind you at this point that, Boko Haram’s ideology has four main features; the 4th feature is the use of violence (militant jihad) to achieve their goals. Thank you Brother ‘Boko’. ‘Violence begets violence’ indeed.  Some politicians said something similar to the then infant Boko Haram a few years ago. Now they are out there growing from strength to strength, executing terror upon terror on innocent girls, women and innocent future leaders all over Africa.

Dear Brother Minister, we the Northerners live in a glass house

Nasara is particularly concerned about your statement because in our part of Ghana, the only place we have has a history as well as several ongoing violent conflicts. The North, the Zongos and the settler communities have often been targeted and its vulnerability exploited by politicians like you who have nothing to offer but to whip ethnic sentiments to win elections. With high youth unemployment and unprecedented poverty on the rise in these communities, your statement offers a disgraceful ‘carte blanche’ for unprecedented violence.

It is therefore with regret to learn that, one of our own, paid by the tax payer (Ghanaian citizenry), could make a statement that suggests that violence is acceptable. To make matters worse, the statement is said to be coming from a minister entrusted with the peace and security of the nation. There is no excuse or need for such statements to be made by anyone.

We, the Nasara NPP believe in being our brother’s keeper so we wish to provide just a few hotspots in the North for your reflection: Dear Honourable Brother Minister, among the Nanumba of the Northern Region, two persons from the royal gate of Gbugmayili lay claim to the position of the Bimbilla Na, the king of the Nanumba people. We know you are aware of the delicate nature of this conflict but we will touch on this again in another paragraph. Keep reading.

Similarly, in the West Mamprusi District the rejection of a candidate selected to be the paramount chief of Wungu by his competitors and the youth of the town resulted in a decade-long dispute that frequently turned violent.  There are countless documented succession conflicts involving persons from the same ethnic group, clan or extended family among the Wala, the Gonja and what have you.

There is this inter-ethnic conflict between the Mamprusi and the Kusasi in Bawku. We are still counting the cost and not forgetting the dispute between the Nawuri and the Gonja about who has sovereignty over Kpandai.

In 1981 there were inter-ethnic conflicts between the Nanumba and the Konkomba and the life lost was unimaginable.

We are yet to forget the so-called “guinea fowl war” of 1995 between the Konkomba, Nawuri, Nchumuru, and Basare on the one hand, and the Dagomba, Nanumba, and Gonja on the other. Some of us had a ring-side view of this war and can confirm how violent this war was.

Several studies have analysed conflicts in Northern Ghana and the unforgivable role politicians like you, Mark Woyongo have played in exploiting this just to satisfy their selfish interest while these conflicts unfold. We sincerely want to believe that you meant no harm by your ‘violence begets violence’ utterance. We however are struggling to justify our belief given that you haven’t as yet demonstrated any remorse whatsoever.

Reality Check

It has come to our notice, sadly though, that you tried the other day to compare your ‘violence begets violence’ statement to Nana Addo’s statement which he has since regretted for having said it. How could you think of this comparison? Well, time for reality check has dawn and we want you to be sincere; kindly conduct  a cursory check at Bimbilla and tell us the number of souls lost within 24 hours of your careless talk. Again, in all sincerity, tell us the number of souls lost since Nana Addo made his statement about 3 years ago.

Whenever knew your sense of comparison is acute as well. Our dear brother, you have no shame and that is bad, to say the least.  How did you miss the fact that the whole world is aware that Nana Addo is a Man of peace and you, Mark ‘Boko’ Wayongo (by extension Mahama) are the opposite?  The bitter truth is that, your statement was in a bad taste and the already volatile Bimbilla has heeded to your advice. Please dance to the tune you have called, Mr. Interior Minister. Please tell the Bimbilla people something fatherly because we believe other areas in the North could be preparing to act in line with your war drums.

Mr Woyongo, judging from the misguided statement you are reported to have made, we are convinced that you don’t seem to understand the requirements of the office you are occupying. Moreover, statements you have made after your horrible gaffe have further demonstrated your naivety in managing the security of our nation especially at a time when there is general despondency in Ghana due to massive unemployment and corruption. It is clear that, you are trying to rationalise your irresponsible statement by suggesting it was a biblical statement (‘an eye for an eye’) and that you were taken out of context.

Many shameless public officials blame the scripture for their irresponsibility. Jesus Christ is quoted in Matthew 5:38- 39 as saying: ‘You have heard that it was said, `Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth…But I tell you: Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. It is unfortunate our dear brother conveniently chose the citation that depicts his personality and his line of thinking.

Either way you try to spin through it; whether biblical or taken out of context, it is still irresponsible and the least you could do was to apologise and resigned honourably. Otherwise, we risk witnessing violence-filled election 2016 due to your violent posture. Honourable Brother, Minister of Interior, you will not survive what you are about to begin. Don’t be a terrorist. Think development. Think about one Ghana. We share a lot in common. You are invited to Nasara NPP.

Source: Nasara NPP UK

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