By Ike A. Offor
Many have asked for the reasons behind the consistent jihad-like wars by the Nigerian Muslims of the North towards non-Muslims in the North and in the rest of the regions across the country.
Why this over a century-old religiously motivated killings have continued unabated, rather it has escalated in the last 56 years after Nigeria’s independence, may be incomprehensible to an average Nigerian, The Republican News found an article published in 1855 to help them draw some clue from it.
Below is the article by the Church Missionary intelligencer by Church Missionary Society.
The Tshadda Expedition of 1841
Mr. Schön here refers to the devastations of the Felatahs, or Foulahs, or Phula, so-called from their complexion — Pulo, plural Fulbe, meaning yellow, brown— a race of nomadic shepherds, who arrived in Hausa from the north-west in the last century.
“ After they had been tending their cattle a long time in the forests and grass fields, without towns, and subsisting simply on the produce of their herds, one of their priests, of the name of Fodie, had an apparition of the Prophet Mohammed, which was destined to form a most signal epoch in the history of the Phula, and indeed in the whole of Central and Western Africa.
“ In this apparition Fodie was informed that the whole of that beautiful country around them, with all its populous towns and countless villages, belonged to the believers in the Prophet, to wit, the Phula ; and that it was Fodie’s divine commission, with the help of the faithful, to wrest all those flowery plains, those fruitful fields and lovely valley, from the hand of the Kafir, and then to bring all the Kafirs into subjection to the Islam, and to devote to the sword everyone who refused to believe.
“ Almost beside himself with enthusiasm, and burning with fanaticism, Fodie summoned the believing Phula from every country, to the very coast of the Atlantic, to rally round his banner, and to fight with him the battles of the Prophet, for the subjugation of all the Kafir tribes of Africa to the religion of God and His Prophet.
“ And like an electric shock this message of Fodie pervaded all the lands where the Phula were sojourning, and with a magical power converted the shepherds into warriors.
“ Soon Fodie saw himself surrounded with an army convinced of its own invincibility, and thirsting for the battle. Thus commenced, in the beginning of the present century, when, in France, Napoleon was preparing to shake Europe, those extraordinary Pulo movements in Central Africa, which, though unrecorded on the pages of our usual universal histories, are yet written in streams of blood on the pages of that real universal history of our race in which every human action records itself.
“ On the spot where Fodie had his apparition he afterwards built the town Sokoto, which is now the great centre of Pulo power in Africa”-
Church Missionary Intelligencer by The Church Missionary Society