Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, who is still trying to avoid facing trial on war crimes charges for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, which devastated the country and culminated in the creation of Islamic State, flew into Kaduna State today and was met by Governor Nasty Nasir El Rufai. Last week a high court in London heard arguments for lifting the ban on prosecuting Blair in British courts for the crime of aggression against Iraq.
Both Blair and El-Rufai are directly and indirectly responsible for crimes against humanity in Iraq and Kaduna State. El-Rufai is accused of doing very little to curb the excesses of rampaging Fulani herdsmen in the southern part of his state. Southern Kaduna people claim the governor is biased in his handling of the clashes between the herdsmen and farmers, as he is Fulani.
Rufai tweeted in 2012 before he became a governor:
We will write this for all to read. Anyone, soldier or not that kills the Fulani takes a loan repayable one day no matter how long it takes.
— Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai (@elrufai) July 15, 2012
Fulani herdsmen have killed at least 2,000 people in Southern Kaduna since El-Rufai became governor in 2015. He has focused his attention on people from the area who he claims are fanning the flames of ethnic hatred, instead of the killers.
El-Rufai has also backed the army, who massacred over a thousand Shias in Zaria in December 2015. An inquiry that he set up to look into the clash between the army and the Shia community discovered 348 victims’ bodies buried in mass graves. The inquiry recommended the indictment of the army commander in the state. But Rufai and his close ally President Muhammadu Buhari have ignored that recommendation. Shia leader Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife have been held in detention since then, and a court ruling that he should be released on bail has been ignored.
Who else would crawl into the killing fields of Kaduna on a “private visit”, without a single mention of the appalling human rights situation, other than Blair? He said on arrival: “I’m so much delighted to be in Kaduna, a state that is making a difference in Nigeria”. It is surely making a difference to the war criminal’s bulging bank balance, if reports that he received £1m from El-Rufai for making the trip are true. Blair claims he is in Kaduna to support the state in “good governance” but he is not averse to taking money from any source, even if it is dripping with blood.
Blair’s company Tony Blair Associates is said to be trading in “blood diamonds” with President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone, and had lucrative deals that involved image laundering for Nursultan Nazarbayev, the murderous dictator of Kazakhstan. It was why investigative journalist and Blair biographer Tom Bower described him as “a man without morals”.
Blair has been touting for business in Nigeria for sometime. He came to see Buhari in 2015 after the latter had just come into office. He offered to sell the new president Israeli drones and weapons to help defeat Boko Haram. Blair was obviously on a commission from an arms firm. But Buhari wasn’t interested.
As Buhari, who has not been seen for over 60 days since leaving Nigeria for London for treatment, may not be in a position to seek reelection in 2019, several politicians have been jockeying to replace him as the presidential candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
El-Rufai is reportedly one of those with his eyes on the top job, despite his record of death and destruction. And he has shelled out the cash to another peddler of death and destruction, the slimy Tony Blair, to help launder the Kaduna governor’s image in preparation for 2019.