Dapchi, Christian Association of Nigeria and our Unity By Hassan Gimba


We have followed a path of moderation, development is our priority, national unity, good community relations, Muslims and non-Muslims; this is what has given us the advantage.
– Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Malaysian Prime Minister, 2003-2009
Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. – Henry Ford.
There is a very strong correlation between fairness, justice, unity and national development. Unfortunately in Nigeria, we want national development but we do not want to be just and fair to our neighbours. As a result, our unity seems to be held by weak glue and the country is constantly threatening to burst at its seams.
We turn a blind eye to abominable actions committed by our own that are in power. Our own could be ones we share blood relations with, have geographical closeness to, profess the same faith or come from the same tribe.
As long as whatever ours do is right and beyond reproach, while whatever theirs do – even if the same as the one done by ours – is wrong, then we have a big problem and, as a nation, we will keep floundering.
We will begin to be a nation when the problem of one becomes the problem of all.
When on the night of April 14, 2014, Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, in Borno State was invaded by Boko Haram insurgents and 276 schoolgirls were abducted, there was a national outcry. Though, just like the Yoruba nation hijacked June 12 battle and made it their own, at a later stage Chibok was under threat of being hijacked by Christian bodies and personalities because the majority of the girls were Christian.
Some people in the opposition, notably Oby Ezekwesili and Hadiza Bala Usman, took it upon themselves to champion the fight for the girls’ release with their BBOG (ie, Bring Back Our Girls) platform.
It remains to be seen if those who made life a ‘living hell’ for those that matter over the Chibok girls would replicate same for the Dapchi girls.
To start with, then President Goodluck Jonathan was vilified and somehow crucified for going to Kano amidst dancing and drumming while the Chibok saga was fresh in the memory.
In the case at hand, President Muhammadu Buhari was in the same Kano over the weekend for the wedding ceremony of the children of Governors Ganduje and Ajimobi when Dapchi was less than two weeks old.
Those, especially, those from the North East who shouted themselves hoarse about Jonathan’s ‘insensitivity’ are, hopefully, around and watching. Would what is sauce for the goose be sauce for the gander as well?
When Chibok happened some people shouted from the rooftops, pouring recriminations upon Jonathan’s head for not rushing to the Chibok town to cry out his eyes with the affected parents. But with this one, we have not heard anyone cajoling Buhari to go to Dapchi. Is it hypocrisy or just that people have resigned themselves to the idea that the president they have now is not one to weep with the sorrowful? If he did not go to Benue, Taraba, Rivers, Adamawa and Zamfara where people have been slaughtered in hundreds, is it the snatching of some girls from their dormitory that would make him go?
Fani Kayode is one man I am yet to hear anything from regarding the Dapchi abduction. He was crying for the international community and donor agencies to hear that Chibok was a ‘grand design’ by Hausa- Fulani oligarchs, with the full blessings of the Sultanate, to push Christians into extinction in Nigeria through the strategy of abducting their girls and marrying them off!
The Sultan, Jama’atu Nasril Islam and some Islamic organisations and clerics have all condemned the Dapchi kidnapping. But in Nigeria of today, this is expected. There is nothing ‘surprising’ or having the potential of uniting us as a nation. It is just an ‘us’ condemning what was done to ‘ours’.
What is heartwarming and has the potential of cementing our fault lines is the statement by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) which described the Dapchi incident as a national disgrace. CAN gave meaning to Alfred Adler’s statement, “There is a law that man should love his neighbour as himself. In a few hundred years, it should be as natural to mankind as breathing or the upright gait; but if he does not learn it he must perish.” Or, in other words, living Aesop’s (620-560 BC) admonishment of ‘united we stand, divided we fall.’
A statement CAN issued on the abduction said the umbrella Christian organisation was disappointed that despite repeated claims of victory by the federal government over Boko Haram, the insurgents have continued to muster strength with effrontery to dare the same government in different ways, including the latest Dapchi incident.
CAN told the federal government that the manner of the recent abduction of Dapchi schoolgirls has offered the federal government a window of opportunity to look inward and to probe the incident in order  to unravel the myth and invincibility created around Boko Haram.
It also called on the federal government to interrogate the entire security apparatus in Nigeria to weed out and punish the moles within.
CAN also urged the government to immediately deploy security operatives to other girls schools in the North East in view of the Dapchi incident.
Now, this is what I call being your brother’s keeper. The problems of Nigeria knows no Christian or Muslim, knows no ethnicity or language; we are all in it together and it is only when we  are united in peace that we can face our problems, fears and traducers and cobble a nation worthy of being called one.
As Dalai Lama XIV said, ‘Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.’
We expect to hear similar condemnations from the Ohanaze Ndi Igbos, Afeniferes, etc. These girls are Nigerians and we should all see them as our daughters and sisters.
The timely statement by CAN has proved to Nigerians that our destiny is not in the hands of rabble-rousers like Fani Kayode, a man who ought to know and behave better having been privileged to once be a minister of the Federal Republic.
CAN has shown to him and those of his ilk that there is hope for Nigeria and the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. that ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that’ are timeless.


  1. This is an explicit article and an elaborate exposé. Thank you for sharing. The question then lies… What does security hold for our country?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here