Mohammed Emwazi, also known as ‘Jihadi John’ because of his infamous brutality, needs no introduction-he was the British-Kuwaiti murderer believed by various intelligence and security organisations, especially the M15, CIA and Metropolitan Police to be the person seen in several videos by the ISIL showing the beheadings of a number of captives between 2014 to 2015. Emwazi hid behind a black mask and spoke with a London accent directly into the camera before slaughtering his victims. On 12 November 2015, Emwazi was reportedly killed in a drone attack in Raqqa Syria and was later confirmed by ISIL on 12 January 2016 to be dead as a result of the drone attack. Emwazi was born to Iraqi parents on 17 August 1988 and his family settled down in West London. He graduated from the University of Westminster. The question many had on their lips was, how could a London young man become so radicalised to slaughter with crude savagery his fellow human beings in far away Syria?
I am urgently drawing the attention of the International Community by writing this article because we have another ‘Jihadi John’ in the South West state of Oyo in Nigeria. I call him ‘Jihadi John’ because he is dreaded and no one till date have been been to apprehend him. He operates in Ayete Town in Ibarapa, Oyo State where there have been an incessant spate of Fulani Herdsmen kidnappings, maiming and murders. Abubakar Shekau, the murderous leader of Boko Haram may have lost his ‘terrorism pole position’ in Nigeria to the new kid on the block, Iskilu Wakili. The name Iskilu Wakili does not ring a bell at all but is reportedly a very notorious Bororo terrorist. We need a bit of context here-The Bororo or Mbororo People are a small group of the main Fulani Ethnicity and are traditionally nomadic cattle herders, they migrate from the Niger Republic into northern Nigeria and walk their way down to the South West where they have mostly settled in Oyo State and particularly in Ibarapa.
There are no exact reports online of the age of Wakili, where he was born or whether he was born in Ibarapa as many other Fulanis were and had lived there over the decades but this is what the public knows about him- the people of Ayete Town live in the daily fear of Iskilu Wakili as he and his notorious marauders mount ‘No Cross Zone’ on indigenes farmlands between Kajola to Magbeje Villages, gang rape, maim, extort, kidnap and kill with so much boldness and morbid savagery that Boko Haram murderers would beg to be schooled by him. The entire Ayete Town is reportedly under siege, yet the 2nd Mechanised Division of the Nigeria Army in the capital city of Ibadan is a little over 100 miles away from Ayete. Iskilu Wakili is maiming and killing with gross impunity, yet we are turning blind eyes to this extermination? ISIL in Raqqa shielded ‘Jihadi John’ for years until he was smoked out and killed. The question is, who is shielding Iskilu Wakili and how is he able to wield so much ferocious power? If the deposed Seriki Fulani and his family could run away from Ibarapa Town, why is Iskilu Wakili still operating? The fact that Iskilu Wakili has reportedly mounted several road blocks in a Yoruba dominated area should send alarm bells ringing that something may not be right? So I ask again, who is shielding the ‘Jihadi John’ in Nigeria?
As a professing Christian, I do not desire for Iskilu Wakili to perish in eternal damnation but to stop this act of terrorism, repent and ask the turning point question like the jailer at Philippi in Acts 16:30, “…..sirs, what must I do to be saved?”, but we must also ask that the police both in Oyo State and Abuja extend the full tentacles of armed officers to go after Iskilu Wakili, arrest, detain, arraign before the criminal court and if found guilty be jailed accordingly or face the firing squad or the gallows as the law demands in Nigeria. The Nigerian State should not allow Iskilu Wakili to keep roaming Ibarapa and killing people but I also know that I might be asking for something higher than my pay grade because if we haven’t be able to arrest Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, what hope do we have of a Wakili arrest? It is obvious that many Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora do not trust and have become disillusioned of the elected officials, police and the unimaginable tendency that some influential Nigerians may be in cahoots with Iskilu Wakili and his marauders but we trust the Lord and just like the Song of Ascents in Psalm 121:1-2 “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
Many Nigerians are physically and mentally tired of these incessant killings and desire nothing but to unleash violence on these marauders. If it’s not a kidnap today, it will be a killing tomorrow. A friend in Abuja told me a couple of days ago that “Life expectancy in Nigeria is per second billing” and must confess that I know this feeling as I had to join my late father and other men mount up a vigilante group on our street against armed robbers when I was growing up in old Lagos in the 80s. One day, armed robbers struck and in their bid to escape, two were apprehended. I was shocked to see very cool headed family men on our street and adjourning streets beat to pulp these suspected armed robbers before necklacing them near the defunct Bishop Aggrey Memorial Secondary School. I never looked at these older men with an ‘innocent eye’ again until I left Nigeria but the fact is, when you deny people sleep, you also lose the peace that comes with sleep. When you maim and kill people, they may kill you back and this is where the people of the South West are at the moment and the reason why we are crying out loud to the government and international community to help stop the suspected Fulani marauders before it becomes too late.
I am preparing to preach the part 5 of our local church mini series from the letter of the apostle Paul to Titus on the Crete Island this coming Lord’s Day and this particular verse, Titus 3:1 resonates well with me as I think of the ineptitude of the Nigerian Government, “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities…..”, the obvious question is, how do we as professing Christians in Nigeria juxtapose this imperative to be submissive to the Nigerian Government in wider application with the ineptitude of our elective officials? We will be lying to ourselves that this will be easy as fellow Nigerians are slaughtered and as many of us have seen the video of the woman slaughtered by suspected Fulani herdsmen. We will be lying to ourselves as kidnappers run amok in our villages, town and cities. We will be lying to ourselves as politicians steal the federal reserves dry. We will be lying to ourselves as they send their children abroad to study and leave local schools in abject penury but God’s Word does not change, hence the reason why we must come to the Lord on our knees and ask Him to help us but also not neglecting our human responsibilities. We should be ready to vote these people out at the next election in 2023 and I plead that we do not mortgage our future again by allowing them to bribe us with a days meal in return for our votes to then place us in another four years of suffering.
Olawale A. Akinrogunde