By Sule Tinat Bodam, (Secretary-General, Atyap Community Development Association – ACDA)
“18.00 STATUS OF ZANGON KATAF TOWN
In considering elements necessary for peaceful, harmonious living and lasting peace, the two Communities are agreed on the need to define and restate the role and implication of Zangon Kataf town as follows:
(i) Zangon Kataf town as the place where the Hausa/Fulani live and have their farmlands;
(ii) Zangon Kataf town as a District Headquarters for all the communities in the district;
(iii) Zangon Kataf town as the Administrative Headquarters for the purposes of siting projects;
(iv) Zangon Kataf town as the potential Headquarters in the event of the creation of a new Local Government;
(v) Zangon Kataf town as the Headquarters in the event of the creation of Kataf Chiefdom;
(vi) Zangon Kataf town as the Headquarters in the event of the creation of the Zangon Kataf Urban District.”
Shockingly, in utter disregard to the AVM Usman Muazu Committee’s recorded agreement by the two Communities quoted above, when the Gazette documenting the creation of the Atyap Chiefdom was published, a “Printer’s devil” stated the chiefdom headquarters as “Samaru Kataf”, which the Atyap rejected.
- The Kaduna State Government in 1999 approved the siting of the Atyap Chiefdom Headquarters at “Atak-Jei Samaru Zangon Kataf”, after both Hausas and Atyap had met and greed on it, and awarded the contract for the construction of the Agwatyap’s Palace vide document Reference No. KD/KSTB/S.8/VOL.III/421, dated 15th November, 2000.
- In several letters and petitions written by a group called Zangon Kataf Development Association signed by one Abubakar Ibrahim Zango, purportedly “on behalf of the Hausa/Fulani of Zangon Kataf”, threatened mayhem and breakdown of peace unless the Kaduna State Government demolished the Agwatyap’s Palace and relocated it to Samaru Kataf. This Zangon Kataf Development Association made false claims that the palace is on Zangon Kataf Urban District land which they further falsely claimed was inhabited by “100% Hausa-Fulani Muslims”. The Kaduna State Government under Col. U. F. Ahmed vide letter Ref. No. SEC.750/VOL.IV/890 dated 10th March 1999, asked the Chairman, Zangon Kataf Local Government to investigate and report on the matter. In his letter to the Secretary to the State Government, Ref. No. ZKLG/S.I/68, dated 18 March 1999, the Chairman, Zangon Kataf Local Government stated:
– I wish to inform you that I have had discussions with the District Head of Zango Urban District, Alh. Muhammadu Bala, on the above subject matter. In the discussion, he made it clear to me that it is not true that Alh. Ibrahim Abubakar Zango wrote the letter…on the mandate of the Hausa/Fulani Community resident in the Zango Urban town…The District head also denied the claim that the “Community has not attained a level of reconciliation with the Kataf Community as he (Ibrahim) himself does not reside in Zango Urban District nor does he visit the town often, to enable him make such misleading assertion about the level of reconciliation.
– On the issue of farmland still claimed to be in the control of some Kataf people, the District Head explained that His Royal Highness, the Agwatyap, Mal. Bala Ade Dauke, has since intervened in the issue, where he has warned/advised the Atyap (Kataf) people, who still occupy or are in possession of farmland belonging to the Hausa people, to release or hands-off them immediately. This warning/advice is being complied with by the Kataf people; which has led to the much achieved reconciliation and peaceful co-existence among the two (Kataf & Hausa) tribes in the town.
- Because of continued agitations and obstructions by some Kaduna based Hausa-Fulani, the Kaduna State Government subsequently issued two statements in 2000 and 2001 to clarify issues. On 4 July 2000, the Office of the Executive Governor of Kaduna state issued a Press Release No. GH/KD/S/315 signed by Malam Lukman Musa, Chief Press Secretary, in reaction to the religious mobilisation embarked upon by Abubakar Zango and his group, which purported to demand that government should relocate the Hausa Fulani to another territory inhabited entirely by Muslims if the Agwatyap’s Palace must be in Zangon Kataf Urban District, the Government stated:
“His Excellency the Executive Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi held a meeting today Tuesday, 4th July, 2000 with the Zango/Atyap people on urban fadama land dispute between the Communities.
- At the end of the meeting the following decisions were taken:
(i) That Government will not in anyway temper (sic) with Zango Urban land.
(ii) That Government will implement other decisions contained in the White Paper on the issue.
(iii) Similarly, Government will implement all other Reports on the issue and not on the basis of tribe or religion.
- Kaduna State Government warns that it will not entertain further agitations on the Urban/Fadama land dispute.”
- As the Kaduna State Government proceeded with implementing the contents of the White Paper on the Muazu Committee Report and various committees set up towards realising peace in Zangon Kataf, the Kaduna based groups intent on torpedoing the peace process increased their desperate acts of sabotage and anti-Atyap and anti-government propaganda. On the false claim that the Agwatyap Palace was located on Zango Urban land, the Government stated in a paid advertorial dated 20 April 2001:
“So much fuss is also being made by the so-called leaders [Kaduna based Zangon Kataf Development Association] in respect of the location of the headquarters of the Atyap Chiefdom, which to the best of the knowledge of government is Samarun Kataf territory. Authorities of the Chiefdom are therefore at liberty to locate the Chief’s palace anywhere within the radius of Samarun Kataf territory.”
The site of the Agwatyap’s palace was located outside Zango Urban District, in Unguwan Gaiya District in which Samaru Kataf is located, even when the Muazu Committee had recommended that it should be inside Zango Urban town to foster unity and communal integration.
- The AVM Usman Muazu Committee recommended at para. 17.00 that the State Government should “set up High Powered Committee with relevant technical personnel to resolve the ownership of disputed farmlands” as part of the reconciliation process. The Military Administrator of Kaduna State, Col. Lawal Ja’afar Isa, set up the High Powered Committee with himself as the Chairman. In company with Commissioners, Permanent Secretaries and State Government surveyors, the Military Administrator personally went to Zangon Kataf on 11 August, 1995, and invited equal numbers of representatives of both Hausa and Atyap Communities, to a meeting at the Government Secondary School Zangon Kataf, with Bajju, Ikulu, and Anghan Community representatives serving as witnesses.
(a) The Military Administrator, Col. L. J. Isa, in company of representatives of the Hausa/Fulani and Atyap Communities, accompanied by all witnesses, with the aid of the Technical Staff/Surveyors of the Bureau for Lands, Surveys and Country Planning, with the proceedings being video-taped, walked round the entire land area of Zango Kataf town, with members of the two communities pointing out the boundary lines and points, with the government surveyors planting stones and Beacons and taking the coordinates to demarcate the land area of what later became the Zango Kataf Urban District, and the two communities agreed without any exception. The Survey Division of the Kaduna State Bureau for Lands, Surveys and Country Planning produced two Maps, A Plan Shewing Control Surveys Of Zangon Katab Urban Area, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area, Kaduna State, 1995; and a comprehensive and detailed Survey Plan Shewing Zango Kataf Urban District at Zangon Kataf Local Government Area, Kaduna State: Area = 669.0 Hectares (1,653.3 Acres), June 1996. The Maps show the Area outside Zango Urban District for the “Proposed Atyap Chiefdom Headquarters and Township Development Area” to be in Ungwar Gaiya and Ungwar Wakili Districts. These Maps are available at the relevant Departments of the Kaduna State Government Service. Between 1996 and 2002 all issues of payment of compensation for land acquired for the construction of the Palace were ironed out at several meetings mediated by the Zangon Kataf Local Government Lands Department, the Atayp Traditional Council and the Districts Heads of Zango Urban and Unguwan Gaiya District. Contrary to the claims in the Statement signed by Mr. Adekeye, there is absolutely no dispute between the Hausa Community and the Atyap Community over Zango Urban District land.
(b) The Military Administrator demarcated a Buffer Zone measuring 50 metres on both sides of the boundary line demarcating Zangon Kataf town, which later became Zangon Kataf Urban District, and both sides undertook that no one was to farm on the Buffer Zone, and beacons were placed to delineate the Buffer Zone, and it was agreed by both sides. On June 3, 1996 the Zangon Kataf Local Government Council reported that the issue of the Buffer Zone had been laid to rest. No Atyap individual or group has ventured into the Buffer Zone, and those raising issues over it are Zangon Kataf Urban Development Association members living in Kaduna, against whose meddling previous District Heads of Zango Urban District have complained several times to the Atyap Traditional Council, the Zangon Kataf Local Government, and the Kaduna State government.
(c) Further to this, the Kaduna State Government approved the designation and demarcated the valley and wetlands (fadama) around Zango town to be irrigated, and to be allocated and used jointly by both Hausas and Atyap, and representatives of the Communities agreed, subject to compensation being paid to the land owners. Through letter SEC.750/VOL.IV/628 dated 16th July 2000, the Secretary to the State Government instructed the Permanent Secretary, Bureau of Lands and Surveys, Kaduna to carry out the survey and demarcation. Several assessments have been made for payment of compensation for the irrigation site, but to date no such compensation has been paid by the Kaduna State Government.
(d) The AVM Usman Muazu Committee recommended at paragraph 11.04 i) and iii) that in pursuit of reconciliation Government should expand Zangon Kataf town and create an integrated layout to be allocated to Atyap, Hausa and any other Nigerians, to build residential houses and live together. This layout was approved by the KDSG and communicated to the Surveyor General of Kaduna State, and the Zangon Kataf Local Government Council by the Commissioner of Water resources and Chairman Committee on Zangon Kataf Land Disputes, through letter Ref. No. MWR/ADM/S/69/S.1/VOL.1/20, dated 15th December 2000. The survey and layout Plan titled Proposed Tak Jei Residential Layout Zangon Kataf LGA T.P.O 860 was completed and signed by Alh. Magaji S. Hunkuyi, Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Lands, Surveys and Country Planning on 12th April, 2010, and Approved by the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Arc. Mohammed Namadi Sambo on 12th April 2010. In accordance with the recommendation of the AVM Usman Muazu Committee that the Chiefdom headquarters be in the expanded and integrated settlement, the Agwatyap’s Palace is situated within the Government Approved Layout. Surprisingly on 4th January, 2018 the Ministry of Local Government, who’s Commissioner was Professor Kabiru Mato, wrote a letter Ref. No. MLG/BM/I/S.7/VOL.I/186, signed by Barr. Hassan M. Lawal, Director Boundary and Chieftaincy Affairs for the Hon. Commissioner, saying that “It has come to the attention of His Excellency the Governor that a Layout Committee has been constituted by the Atyap Traditional Council for the proposed Takjei Unity Housing Layout”. It is strange that the El Rufai administration should make the above statement when they know that the design of the Layout had earlier been completed and approved by the former Governor of Kaduna State, Arc. Mohammed Namadi Sambo, on 12th April 2010.
(e) At the Parley convened and chaired by the Military Administrator of Kaduna State, Col. Lawal Ja’afar Isa, on 11th August 1995, at Government Day Secondary School Zangon Kataf, after a long admonitory speech by the peace-making Governor, the Agreement on creation of Atyap Chiefdom, Zango Urban District, religious freedom and rights to farmlands and property was worked out. The Atyap were asked to nominate three Elders to restate what they wanted the government to do for them to maintain peace and good neighbourliness. The three Atyap Elders led by Adi Along Angulu stated that they wanted Atyap Chiefdom; they wanted their dignity restored to them through equity, and for discrimination against the Atyap and punishment of their leaders stopped. They pledged that the Atyap would abide by the Peace Agreement. The three Hausa Community Elders led by Alhaji Mato Zango asked for a Zango Urban District for the Hausa/Fulani; freedom to practice their religion; right to their farmlands and their own Zango Ward and Councillor separate from Zonzon Ward. They also pledged to abide by the Peace Agreement.
(f) The Military Administrator repeated each statement in the Agreement, which were affirmed by the participants. The then District Head, Mallam Bala Dauke Ade undertook to ensure that the two communities would do their part to implement the letter and observe the spirit of the Agreement. An Islamic Cleric, the Imam of the NNPC Mosque Kaduna, stood, repeated the contents of the agreement and prayed for its successful implementation. The Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kaduna, also restated the contents of the Agreement, prayed over and blessed the two communities to ensure its peaceful implementation. The proceedings were video-taped by the Government House crew, and the video tapes are available.
(g) Col. Lawal Ja’afar Isa’s administration approved the sum of Four Million Naira (N4,000,000.00) as compensation for the irrigation land, which was subsequently increased to Forty Million Naira (N40,000,000.00) by the Arc Mohammed Namadi Sambo administration. The two communities met and agreed to accept the compensation, but some Hausa individuals came from Kaduna and insisted that the Zango Hausa community must not accept the payment.
- In 2015, Gov Nasir El Rufai set up the Committee to Stamp Out Attacks on Southern Kaduna Communities (the General Martin Luther Agwai Committee). The report states inter alia:
“LAND AND BOUNDARY ISSUES
“The attention of the Committee was drawn to a number of land and boundary disputes in the State and their role in generating violent conflict in the state.
“7. The Demarcation of Zango Urban District
(1). The post-1992 Zangon Kataf Crisis Peace Committee agreed that the Zango Urban community should not own land beyond the stream before entering the town from Samaru-Kataf.
(2). The then government decided to pay the sum of N4 million as compensation to the affected people. This was not done.
(3). The government of Namadi Sambo reviewed the compensation sum upward to N40 million. It still has not been paid.
(4). The land has since its excision been used as community land for irrigation farming by both Hausa and Atyap people.
“Government should pay the N40 million compensation to put the matter to rest.”
Kaduna State of Nigeria, White Paper on the Report of the Committee to Stamp Out Attacks on Southern Kaduna Communities, 1st February, 2016, Chapter 6, Land And Boundary Issues
S/No. COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION GOVERNMENT DECISION
7.35 Government should pay the N40 million compensation to put the matter to rest. Government accepts the recommendation
The Government has not implemented its decision as contained in the White Paper it published in 2016.
- In paragraph 7 of their Statement, the Kaduna State government said that:
“Following skirmishes a week earlier, disputes over the same farmlands again led to an outbreak of violence and killings in Zangon-Kataf and Kauru LGAs on Thursday, 11th June 2020.”
Contrary to the above claim, Yusuf Magaji was killed not over a disputed farmland. Yusuf was killed on land his father had purchased from a Hausa family of Zango Urban in 2009 at the cost of N400,000.00 and the transaction was duly documented with witnesses. There was also no dispute over farmland in Kauru LGA. The events of 11th June 2020 had nothing to do with the skirmish of 5th June 2020. The skirmish of 5th June 2020 was over the uprooting of crops by some Hausa people from Zangon Kataf town at Gidan Zaki, about two (2) kilometres away from the boundary of Zangon Kataf Urban District. The skirmish of 5th June at Unguwan Zaki was amicably settled on the spot by the Atyap Traditional Council, Zango Urban Elders and Security Agents. The peaceful demonstration of 11 June 2020 was over the brutal murder of Yusuf Musa Magaji. The statement that there was “an outbreak of violence” over farmlands is a repeat of a fallacy.
- Muyiwa Adekeye in paragraph 8 insists on repeating the falsehood that “one of the factors identified by the Justice Cudjoe Commission as an immediate cause of the 1992 carnage in Zangon-Kataf is still a trigger for murder and unlawful conduct, 28 years after that tragedy”. It has already been shown that paras. 20, 21 and 22 of Vol. 1 of the Cudjoe report states that disputes over farmland were not the causes of the February 1992 disturbances. While at para. 23 of Vol. 2 of Cudjoe’s report the uprooting of crops was given as the trigger of the May 1992 riots, at para. 24 Cudjoe rejected the report of the Department of State Service that the uprooting of crops by Hausas on the farm of Mallam Ishaku at Ungwan Tabo sparked the riots simply because the Commission had already judged and sentenced only the Atyap over the unfortunate riots. The following facts must be stated:
(a) Ungwan Tabo is two kilometres from the boundary of Zango Urban District, and Hausas owned no farmland there, a fact Cudjoe ignored 28 years ago.
(b) Gidan Zaki, where the Hausa uprooted crops on 5th June 2020, is two kilometres away from the boundary of Zango Urban District, which the Kaduna State government does not want to hear about.
(c) That Elders from Zango Urban, Atyap Elders and the security agents settled the skirmish of June 5, 2020, and it was not violent, but Mr. Adekeye’s statement mischievously says it was “a trigger for murder and unlawful conduct” six (6) days later.
(d) The “murder and unlawful conduct” was the murder of Yusuf Magaji, whose perpetrators, although reported to the Police and the Kaduna State government, are still going about free.
- The Kaduna State government says in its statement that it has set up the White Paper Committee to achieve peace and harmony in the State. It has been shown above that the Cudjoe Commission report was vacuous, tendentious, biased and calculated to judiciously murder all the leading Atyap personalities. That was why it was rejected by the Government of Kaduna State and the Atyap people 28 years ago. Revisiting that violently biased report today will not and cannot foster peace. The military dictatorship of General Babangida promulgated a Special Decree to set up a tribunal that was given powers above the Supreme Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to try and sentence Atyap leaders to death. Muyiwa Adekeye and his government cannot pretend not to know that subsequent federal administrations pardoned the unjustly convicted Atyap leaders and set them free. What “peace” does the Kaduna State Government want to achieve today, except they have some predetermined motives they want to serve. Why has the Kaduna State Government not investigated the murder of Yusuf Magaji and the 11 other Atyap cold bloodedly murdered by Fulanis under this administration since 2017?