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Southern Kaduna: We’ve suffered greatest social disruption, economic deprivation, insecurity under Governor El-Rufai

“Governor Nasir El-Rufai has also intervened to ensure prompt settlement of the salary arrears that the local government councils owe to about 8500 primary school teachers that were employed in the second batch of recruitment of new teachers.

The Southern Kaduna people have expressed concern that since the inception of Mal. Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai’s government in 2015, Adara people and indeed Southern Kaduna communities have suffered the greatest social disruptions, economic deprivations and insecurity.

The people said the government of the day is neither heard, nor practically seen to be genuinely interested in peaceful coexistence, security of lives and properties of the citizens of Southern Kaduna.

In a memorandum on the incessant crises in Kachia, Kajuru, Chikjn local government areas and surrounding communities, submitted to Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the Kaduna state government, the Southern Kaduna People’s Union, SOKAPU, added, “On the contrary, the actions and pronouncements of El- Rufai’s administration have institutionalized open discrimination, political and administrative exclusion and biases and full scale subjugation of the indigenous people of Kachia, and Kajuru and Chikun Local Government Areas, and indeed the whole of southern Kaduna, which have destroyed peace and security and instituted a regime of violence and crises in the communities.”

SOKAPU, in its memorandum to the commission of inquiry further explained, “Mal. Nasiru El-Rufai stated on the 6th of December 2016 when addressing reporters in his office as the Governor, that most of the armed Herdsmen come from Niger, Cameroun, Chad, Mali and Senegal to perpetrate the dastardly acts and that he had located and paid them compensation.

“Governor El-Rufai on Friday, 15th February 2019 said during a Press briefing at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House that just yesterday, I got a report of the Killing of 66 Fulanis at Maro in Kajuru Local Government” the Governor later changed this to 130 Fulanis killed. This we believe is deliberately designed to cause a reprisal and destabilize the Local Government during elections.

“Over the years, violence has been imported into the communities specified in the commission’s TORs by external forces, especially Hausa Fulani intent on imposing Sharia and Political suppression of Southern Kaduna. These attacks and acts of violence are not herder/farmer conflicts.”

The natives explained that the Muslim Fulani Herdsmen attack on the Southern Kaduna people began in Kidache in Chawai Chiefdom, Kauru local government area, in 2010 as a spill-over of the Muslim Fulani Herdsmen attacks in Plateau State, adding, “Since then, the terror attacks by the Fulani have become generalized and an out-and-out war on the communities of Southern Kaduna.”

SOKAPU further lamented, “Previously, the conflicts with herdsmen were over grazing and water sources for livestock. These conflicts have drastically changed due to an increasing quest by Fulani to take up land belonging to agrarian communities, and to settle and become agro-pastoralists. Climate change and environmental degradation have combined to push the Fulani from their traditional northern habitats to the Middle Belt region.

“Hausa Fulani governments in the north have failed to develop pasture resources for migratory cattle rearers who happen to be almost entirely Fulani. The earlier efforts to create grazing reserves by the defunct Northern Regional Government, have not been continued by the successive Northern States governments. On the contrary there are now efforts to encourage and support Fulani herdsmen to take over the land of indigenous and autochthonous communities in the Middle Belt, by force if possible, by supporting them in inter-communal conflicts in the name of religion.

“The National Assembly even entertained a bill for setting up grazing reserves, which proposes to take over land in any place in Nigeria to give to Fulani from any part of Africa, in the name of creating grazing reserves. Since southern Nigerian communities do not recognize and operate the Land Use Act, and since the northern Hausa communities will not give their land to the Fulani cattle rearers, only lands belonging to Middle Belt communities are the target for such patently ethnocentric policies.”

The Southern Kaduna people said the unholy quest for land ownership and takeover of land being the subject matter of this memo, “It brings us back to the fact among other things of the immediate causes of the violence which include Mal. Nasir Ahmad El-Rufais unilateral, unlawful, reckless, abrogation of districts and village areas, dismemberment of chiefdoms, changes of the nomenclatures of our chieftaincies and titles of our traditional institutions.

“In a circular letter Ref. No. SSG/KDS/508 dated 20th June. 2017, the Secretary to the State Government conveyed to the Chiefs the decision of the Governor of Kaduna State to restructure the Traditional Institutions in the State. The Terms of Reference of the Committee to Review the Existing Chieftaincy System in Kaduna State, and a circular from a Sub-committee on Nomenclature, addressed to individual Traditional Rulers in the State, stated that the Governor would CHANGE and replace the Existing Nomenclature of the graded chiefs which emphasizes ethnic identity , and replace them with New ones based on town/location of the chiefdom, and restructure existing chiefdoms and emirates, through regrouping and alternative system of boundary delineation between Emirate/Chiefdom.

“Gov. El-Rufai argued that because titles of traditional rulers elsewhere like Ooni of Ife, Oba of Benin, Emir of Kano, reflected locations and not ethnic groups, those of southern Kaduna Chiefdoms must be changed accordingly. The Governor further argued that Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and Fulani speakers were resident in the Southern Kaduna Chiefdoms’ and therefore the Chiefdoms names must be changed. No Community or Chiefdom sent complaints to the Governor about their names. Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo and other people living in indigenous Southern Kaduna chiefdoms did not send any complaints on nomenclatures to the Kaduna State Government.

“This ridiculous and unintelligent reasoning is unacceptable because Nigerias name cannot be changed because Ghanaians, Chadians, British and Americans reside in the country. It has transpired, however, that all the Hausa-Fulani settlements in Southern Kaduna except one, all in 2017, acting in concert within one month, applied to be made into Emirates, after which Governor El-Rufai set up his committee to “restructure” Chiefdoms.”

On the immediate causes to the crises, SOKAPU observed, “The number one individual responsible for the recurrence of crises in Chikun, Kajuru, Kachia and other parts of Southern Kaduna is Mal Nasiru El-Rufai both as a Person and his official capacity. El-Rufai instigated the Attacks on Southern Kaduna since 2012: On July 15th, 2012 Mal. El-Rufai tweeted on his twitter handle @elrufai that We will write this for all to read. Anyone soldier or not that kills the Fulani takes a loan payable one day no matter how long it takes. He tweeted this after the 2011 post-election crisis in which he alleged that Fulani herdsmen were killed in Southern Kaduna.

“Immediately El-Rufai assumed office as a Governor of Kaduna State in 2015, Southern part of Kaduna started witnessing incessant attacks by Fulani herdsmen. El-Rufai is fully aware and knows the attackers. This was after Nasir El-Rufai publicly announced that the Fulani had nothing to fear since, a Fulani was now the governor of the State.

“It is logical from the foregoing to conclude that the compensation by El-Rufai were actually funds given to the Fulani herdsmen to acquire more weapons and manpower for a better revenge. Hence, the Fulani Men were better equipped and thus spread the killings to the other parts of Southern Kaduna up to Kachia, Kajuru and Chikun Local Governments.

“El-Rufai’s attack on traditional institutions in Southern Kaduna; Sometimes in 2017 Mal. El-Rufai set up a committee that recommended the reduction of districts back to the number they were before the year 2000, when Chiefdoms were created in the State. Southern Kaduna Chiefdoms were badly mutilated by this exercise, In Adara Chiefdom 3 districts were created out of 26 districts that hitherto existed. This was a deliberate, provocative and premeditated act by El-Rufai done to weaken the Chiefdoms in Southern Kaduna and calculated to exclude thousands of Wards and Villages from local governance.”

SOKAPU stated that the Federal Government and Kaduna State Government and all state governments should treat the Fulani militia as terrorists, adding that they should be fought by the armed forces in the same way as the Boko Haram is being treated.

The memorandum suggested, “All Muslim Fulani Herdsmen militia must be disbanded, and their members arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the law.

“The United Nations should declare the killings and massacres in Chikun, Kajuru, Kachia and surrounding communities in Southern Kaduna as genocide and the perpetrators tried for crimes against humanity.

“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights guarantee our right to life and the Federal and Kaduna State Governments must protect our lives and properties from attacks.

“The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has to be fully implemented by the Federal and State governments in Nigeria. All displaced persons and communities should be assisted to return to their lands and resume all their economic activities.

“The people of Chikun, Kajuru, Kachia and surrounding communities in Southern Kaduna have the right to their ancestral-lands and the Governor of Kaduna State must respect that right.

“The communities of Chikun, Kajuru, Kachia and surrounding and other communities in Southern Kaduna shall not give up their land for grazing reserves or to the Fulani, under whatever name and that position should be respected by the Federal and Kaduna state governments.

“No other grazing reserves should be created in Chikun, Kajuru, Kachia and surrounding communities in Southern Kaduna.

“The people of Chikun, Kajuru, Kachia and surrounding communities in Southern Kaduna, should be fully compensated for the lives and property lost due to the various attacks by the Muslim Fulani Herdsmen militia.

Just as has proven to be the most effective measure in the North East, the security forces should work with our communities and organized youths to root out the terrorists from their camps and hideouts in Chikun, Kajuru, Kachia and surrounding communities in Southern Kaduna.

“Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai should be prosecuted for willfully and knowingly generating conflict in Kaduna State. Prof. Kabiru Mato, Alh. Sanusi Makudi, Dr. Abdulmalik Durungwa and their likes should be invited and interrogated by the appropriate law enforcement agencies to explain their role in upsetting the Status Quo of peace in Southern Kaduna and where found culpable be charged and prosecuted in accordance to the Law.”

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