It was appalling and disheartening when the news of the massacre and onslaught that occurred in Southern Kaduna went viral on all social media platforms and other media platforms recently.
No mentally stable person could believe that such dastardly heinous act of barbarism could be perpetrated by anyone in this age of civilization since the life of every human is believed to be sancrosant with the sanctity and dignity being kept and held in high esteem.
Though, it was alleged to have been perpetrated by Fulani Herdsmen as a reprisal attack against the residents of southern kaduna for mishandling and killing their herds in the time past.
This gory incidence can be seen as a national embarrassment and a pointer to the fact that our security parameters in Nigeria needs urgent overhauling that will nip such occurrence in the bud. It is unacceptable for the security of any nation to be politicised to the point of giving external aggression a chance to destroy lives and properties of the citizen of a sovereign state.
A kind of debate was generated as the aftermath of this surge of fury that ended in the maiming of more than Eight Hundred residents of Southern Kaduna with countless numbers of property lost to inferno and destruction.
This trigger a kind of question that boils down to whether this occurrence should be tagged a POGROM or a GENOCIDE.
No doubt about it,the world has recorded many occurrences of genocide and pogrom but these happen more often than not during battles and wars.
With this it is now a necessity to delve into the meaning of pogrom and genocide with explicit explanation of what the two represents in the annals of history of humanity.
WHAT IS A POGROM?
A pogrom can be described as a violent riot aimed at the massacre or persecution of an ethnic or religious group particularly one aimed at JEWS.The term originally entered the English Language in order to describe 19th and 20th century attacks on Jews in the Russian Empire(mostly within the Pale of Settlement, what would become Ukraine and Belarus) .Similar attacks against Jews at the other times and places also become retrospectively known as POGROM.
The word is now also sometimes used to describe publicly some purgative attacks against non-Jewish ethnic or religious groups.The different forms of events in human history tagged as pogrom occurred and span through the period of 38CE and 2013.
WHAT IS GENOCIDE?
The term “genocide ” did not exist before 1944.It is a very specific term referring to violent crimes committed against groups with the intent to destroy the existence of the group. Human rights,as laid out in the US Bill of Rights or the 1948 United Nation Universal Declaration Concern of the Rights of an individual.
Historically,in 1944,Polish Jewish Lawyer -Rapheal Lemkin(1900-1959) coined the term “genocide” in a book documenting Nazi policies of systematically destroying national and ethnic groups including the mass murder of European Jews.He formed the word by combining geno-,from the Greek word for race or tribe with-cide,from the Latin word for killing noting that the term denoted in “old practice in modern development. ”
Lemkin defined genocide as a “coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.
The next year,the International Military Tribunal held in Nuremberg, Germany charged top Nazis with crimes against humanity.The word “genocide “was included in the indictment but as a descriptive, not legal term.
On December 9,1948,in the shadow of the Holocaust and in no small part line due to the tireless efforts of Lemkin himself, the United Nations approved by the convention establishes “genocide” as an International crime with signatory nations “undertake to prevent and punish”.It defines genocide as :
Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part,a national or ethnical, racial or religious group as such:
(a) Killing members of the group,
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about destruction in whole or in part;
(d)Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group ;
(e)Forcibly transferring children to another group.
While many cases of group-targetted violence have occurred throughout history and even since the convention came into effect,the legal and International development of the term is concentrated into two distinct historical periods:
1. The time from the coming of the term until it’s acceptance as International Law(1944-1948);
2.The time of its activation with the establishment of International Criminal Tribunals to prosecute the crime of genocide(1991-1998).
Preventing genocide,the other major obligations of the convention remains a challenge that nations and individuals continue to face.
With these explicit description of what pogrom and genocide are all about,it can be vividly deducted that pogrom and an acts of genocide have been committed in Southern Kaduna in Nigeria.Though Fulani Herdsmen were alleged to perpetrate this act,efforts should be made by Nigerian security to gather intelligence that will be used to track down this perpetrators.They must be brought to book with them being tried in the International Criminal Court in Hague for committing a crime against humanity.
Though it has been alleged that the present day government are not active enough in protecting their citizens,it is expediently expected for every arm of government and all our security apparatus to be engaged in protecting the lives and properties of their people without any trace of bias along religious line,ethnic and racial divides and partisanship.
The mass grave yard of the affected people of southern Kaduna is a scene not expected by anyone now as we are just recovering from the six years of Boko Haram Onslaught in the North Eastern Nigeria. Fulani Herdsmen attack is another security challenge that has spread throughout the entire Nigeria Nation and there is an urgent need for this ugly trend to be discouraged on time by our security personnel before it turn to full blown terrorism and extremism.
This is a tale of crime against humanity.
May God console the affected families.