Fanatics and extremists in Nigeria have a new poster boy to manage their propaganda. He is the coordinator of the Every Nigerian Do Something project, Dr. Peregrino Brimah, who brands himself a political observer. No one should envy him his new task. It is a difficult one because lies and half truths are needed to market a bad product, which will require its peddler to be rabid because it is potentially risky for the nation’s wellbeing.
Brimah was apparently able to take time off as a paid gun calling for the bastardization of the Naira to champion the cause of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) or Shiite Sect. He wants all Nigerians and President Muhammadu Buhari to join him in criminalizing the Nigerian Army for taking on radicalized youths of the sect who thought they could kill the Army Chief, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai. He wants us to crucify the immediate past government and its military chiefs for preventing a new cancer from spreading with the same rapidity that Bokjo Haram psychos grew in number and strength.
Considering that Brimah junkets from one hotel lobby to the other and is absolutely shielded from the reality on ground, one can easily comprehend and possibly forgive his being out of touch with what IMN had subjected residents of Zaria to for several years. How convenient that the spokesperson coincidentally omitted to mention how his clients had for several years denied other Nigerians the right to public infrastructure, viz: roads that they regularly barricade for their processions. How many times have these people created gridlocks that cause delays which in turn leave hapless travelers moving into the night and into the hands of armed robbers? It will be interesting to see how this paid activist will react if radical Shiite youths had barricaded the road to one of his fancy hotels to the extent that he loses his reservation.
Expecting Brimah to be truthful would be a form of injustice to him as the concept is both alien and anathema to him. His perception of the Nigerian situation is miasmic to the extent that he shifts position without realizing it provided the incentives are right. In one of his articles “Is Nigeria’s President A Terrorist?”, he labeled the then People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur a terror suspect for saying “Boko Haram is fighting for justice; Boko Haram is another name for justice.” Applying the same logic thus qualifies him to be officially designated the spokesperson of a sect that is rapidly embracing extremism and radicalizing its youths to embark on suicide missions. His defence of the breach of national security by the Shiite Sect clearly cast him the same mould he made for Bamanga Tukur.
Nothing and absolutely nothing justifies the needless loss of any human life particularly when the situation is avoidable. But why did Brimah conveniently overlooked the fact that IMN, as evidenced by the videos it proudly shared online, is radicalizing youths to the extent that they hold military drills and practice hand to hand combat. Certainly these are not skills needed to propagate Islam and could only be meant for less than nationally accepted purposes.
Our activist’s narrative derived solely from video produced by the IMN and accounts of the victims and their lawyer. He definitely should have also asked if the Army produced its own video of the event or at least read its account of what transpired. Assuming the fees paid for his article did not cover such follow up activities, he could have, with the least of efforts, tasked his brain to answers posers like why the IMN members were with sophisticated firearms at the enclave that was razed; where they got the weapons from; and what the weapons were meant for since assault rifles and automatic firearms are not meant for hunting rabbits.
Perhaps, Brimah was handed the right video by the radicalized Shiite Sect but somehow managed to swap that with some blockbuster Hollywood production since there has been no alternate narrative what he wrote about Zakzaky's daughter because it did not happen. The so called political observer would have done better by placing a disclaimer at the start of his article to the effect that what he recounted was but a figment of his own imagination and would have thus avoided misleading people. On the other hand, one must make allowances for the reality that his original intention was nothing short of swaying national thinking to the psychotic level of brainwashed adherents of his favourite sect.
Probably in a haste to deliver, Brimah let on that his clients hid in the basement, which translates to hid in a bunker. Like seriously, was the enclave built specifically as a hideout with bomb shelter for a group that had made up its mind to take on the Nigerian state, which it had repeatedly refused to accept or acknowledge?
From his failed attempts to demonize the Nigerian state and its operatives, one cannot help but wonder if Birmah’s nausea worthy defence of IMN were crafted for him by the Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria, Saeed Kozechi or that he was responsible for prepping Kozechi for all those anti-Nigerian rants. If this fellow actually possesses a Nigerian passport or National ID card he should shamefacedly return same to the issuing authorities since he has pitched his tent where he will.
The closest Brimah came to redeeming himself in the article “Zakzaky: Renewed Call For Sack Of Buratai For Assassination Attempt And Murder”, was his admission that letting up on the fight to crush Boko Haram in 2013 allowed the murderous group to recover. He should therefore realize by the same token that terrorism does not go full blast overnight. It grows over time like a cancer similar to the way the sect whose image he has been paid to lauder is growing. We could all play the activist game like he is doing and watch the IMN become militarized to replace Boko Haram or a process of de-radicalization can be followed to conclusion to ensure we would not be have need for the military to be on the streets a few years from now.
The natural suspicion is that Brimah must have collected something and was merely doing the bidding of the paymaster with the poorly thought out article. Tragically for him it was not making the desired impact. He definitely overrated himself and he was shocked to find out that he does not have the clout or followership, which he thought he had when he was writing to shake down former President Goodluck Jonathan for some little pocket change.
The realization of not having the clout he had erroneously ascribed to himself must be affecting the bottom line as he has tried several antics with dismal outcome; calling for COAS’ "sack" directly became symptomatic of final desperate push. It failed. He then sponsored others such one Abiodun, who was promptly put in his place. The alleged and phantom blockade of the COAS by the Mountain of Fire Church congregation became one of his other desperate lies too many to recall as he belabored himself to pin an accusation of discrimination on a fine officer.
He desperately and futilely tried to enlist or drag Nigerians of other beliefs into his activism for cash project when he disgustingly pointed fingers that rest of us (Nigerians) “allow and support this wickedness and oppression of the highest degrees against minorities in the north, Igbos, Christians, Shia and whoever else,” in what came out as the most irresponsible line in his write up. Just what does he want to achieve by stoking the fires of ethnic intolerance and persecution syndrome? No citizens (if he is one) will deliberately try to cause or promote disaffection in the name of calling attention to a supposed injustice. But coming from whom it came from it is not surprising.
It is usual for Brimah to pepper his write ups with lies and half truths since he first discovered that he could go commercial. But now that his trade is plied with rabidity, right thinking Nigerians should ask questions about his credibility, qualification and identity. For instance, he called himself 'Doctor', doctor of what ? Every Nigerian has roots or ancestry home, where is he from? We cannot truly ascertain his nationality or where he came from. He has no link with any segment of the Nigerian society save for the cybernazis that lap up the venom he spews. One shouldn’t bother touching on credibility as he known for dressing lies to look respectable while intellectual dishonesty is not in any way repulsive to this current spokesperson for fanatical extremists.
Nigerian authorities and citizens do themselves a grave disservice should they place any stock in the merchandise that Dr. Peregrino Brimah has resorted to peddle for his new paymasters, the Shiites in Iran and their Nigerian franchise. Indeed, this character should not be dignified with silence as the popular saying goes for he is way below that. What he deserves is our collective contempt for daring to place sectarian, foreign and pecuniary interest about the existential wellbeing of Nigeria.
Kolawole PhD is a University Lecturer writing from Keffi, Nasarawa State.