Somehow, the dynamics seem to have worked out in such a manner that the two most manifest parties to the spiral of violence in Southern Kaduna are speaking up. Last week, the Atyap community published its standpoint on a planned reworking of previous reports on the Zangon Kataf violence in 1992. Now, the Southern Kaduna Muslim Ummah Development Association (SOKAMUDA) is also speaking on re-curring communal disturbances in Southern Kaduna through an equally massive document. Interestingly, it is also insisting on calling the spate of violence as genocide against its members. All these must be considered important in one sense: the self-understanding of the parties vis-à-vis the spate of violence since 1981 and how that enriches the inter-discursive space in relation to what a wider community of brokers, from the local to the national and the global, can do.
The Southern Kaduna Muslim Ummah Development Association (SOKAMUDA) is an umbrella community based and self – determination association of the Muslim communities (comprising Hausa, Fulani and indigenous Muslims) in the eleven local governments that emerged out of the old Jema’a, Kachia and Saminaka (JEKASA) Local Government Areas. On behalf of the Board of Trustees (BOT), the Executive Committee (EXCO) and the entire Congress of SOKAMUDA, we wish to commiserate with the Kaduna State Government and the families of all Muslims who lost their loved ones in those areas in the conflicts. We pray to Allahu (SWT) to repose the dead and comfort their families. We want to seize this opportunity to register our unflinching support to the Kaduna State Government in this onerous task of identifying, arresting and prosecuting all the perpetrators of the heinous crimes as well as their accomplices, conspirators and sponsors. In addition, we wish to assure His Excellency that we are prepared to cooperate with the Government in trying to find succor for the victims in this trying moments and that we will not relent until justice is dully achieved. Having said that, we wish to write and offer our advise with regards to the recurring crises especially the recent communal crises that erupted in parts of Atyap Chiefdom in Zangon Kataf Local Government, Kajuru Local Government and parts of Kauru Local Government respectively.
We are aware that His Excellency has already been intimated on the Issue by a number of write ups and press releases by many Fulbe and Hausa community based associations. In such write ups, facts and figures were presented on those affected by the disturbances. The quantum of loss of lives and properties was enormous. Similarly, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) was equally very high.
We want to place on record that SOKAMUDA supports the write ups by the various associations seeking Government protection of their properties and lives that have been facing threats of genocide by installments from some of their neighbours from 1981 to date. SOKAMUDA equally welcomes the initiative of the present Kaduna State Government since coming to power in 2015, to seek lasting solutions to the recurrent attacks on Southern Kaduna State communities and to end other sundry forms of conflicts in the area.
We therefore recommend that this letter of advice be carefully, objectively and comprehensively studied so as to understand the sustained and gross breaches of our people’s fundamental human rights over time and to find sustainable solution thereto.
The Security situation in most parts of Southern Kaduna particularly, the local government areas referred to in this letter is worrisome for quite some time. It is therefore not unexpected for a responsible and concerned government to take the necessary steps as going on currently to find lasting solutions to the persistent loss of lives and properties that negates the aspirational Development of the peace loving people because peace is a prime requirement for the achievement of sustainable development and quality living standards and overall socio-economic development of the polity and its citizens.
The determined efforts of the present regime that is both patriotic, non partisan and determined to move the State away from the status quo that is characterised by underdevelopment, injustice and internecine conflicts to a new and better Kaduna State that would be characterized by Security, Stability and Prosperity, which we all cherish is commendable.
Analysis of Conflicts in Southern Kaduna from 1981 Kasuwan Magani Crises to the Kajuru Local Government Violence of 2018, the Most Recent Conflict in Zangon-Kataf Local Government in 2020 and Other Conflicts in Parts of Southern Kaduna
(1).Before we present the analysis of such conflicts, we wish to highlight some critical points that are very relevant on those persistent disturbances. They are as follows:
(i). The Muslim Communities have never left their settlements to attack any Christian Settlements in all these enumerated conflicts.
(ii).The Muslims Communities being the minorities in Southern Kaduna have been at the receiving end of all these crises in terms of number of lives lost, the quantum of properties destroyed and the number of people internally forcefully displaced .
(iii) In most of these crises, there were only very few prosecution and convictions of the culprits due to the undue politicisation of the matter instead of treating them as the crime that they were.
(iv) The Victims of these incessant crimes including women, children and other vulnerable persons who were lucky to survive were often left without compensation, rehabilitation and de-traumatisation to enable them resume normal life resulting in the persistent weakening of their capacity to survive.
(v) One of the effects of these conflicts is the forceful displacement of victims from their places of abode with its attendant consequences.
(vi). Many of those killed in the crisis were men; some of them sustained injuries that led to their permanent incapacitation. Many others lost their breadwinners, spouses and children. About 75% of those displaced were women and their Children”.
(vii). There were violations against children, as many lost their parents. Thousands were displaced. Schools were closed down or used as refugee camps. Many children displaced by the crisis were forced to change environment, relocating to other parts of the country. They disrupted their social networks. Thousands were unable to continue with their education because they lost their parents and had no available or surviving sponsors. In this way, they suffered a denial of their rights to basic education and a diminution of their future prospects and standards of living.
(viii). Surprisingly, the Hausa-Fulani and other Muslim communities who were the major victims of the conflicts were always blamed for the crises. How can a minority group repeatedly attack bigger groups when they know that, in the end, they would always be the losers?
(2). SOKAMUDA would wish to again present to Government a timeline of Communal Conflicts in Southern Kaduna in the last 39 years to further help in educating and understanding of such conflicts . Since 1981, so much unprovoked violence has been visited on Muslims in different locations across the entire Southern Kaduna landscape, some of them are:
(i). Kasuwan Magani Crises in the Then Kachia LGA in 1981:
Kasuwan Magani in the then Kachia LGA 1981: Here, people of Adara tribe decided to uproot Hausa traders to take over Kasuwan Magani market, by claiming that the land exclusively belonged to them (Adara People). Calling Muslims settlers and in the process killing and destroying 100 homes belonging to the Muslims in the settlement;
(ii) Yarkasuwa Crises in the Then Lere District (now Kauru LGA) in 1986:
It was a conflict that arose following a contest over the District Headship of Lere when some members of the Kurama tribe were opposed to the candidature of another Kurama person who was a Muslim, whom they said dared not contest the District Headship of Lere town in preference to a Kurama Christian. In that premeditated violence that was organized, the unfortunate killing of over 100 people and destruction of about N10m (ten million Naira) properties of Muslims took place;
(iii) Kafanchan Crises of 1987:
This occurred when a certain Rev. “Bako” who was supposedly a Christian convert from Islam, turned the Campus of the then old Kaduna State’s Advanced Teachers College (now College of Education) at Kafanchan against the spirit of plurality into what he dubbed “Jesus Campus” while also provoking Muslim students by quoting in, and misinterpreting the Qur’an out of context in order to denigrate religion of Islam. This led to a protest, that was turned into a violent attack on Muslim Students on the Campus of College, which immediately spread into Kafanchan town, Zaria, and subsequently Kaduna and Katsina among other towns. In the incidence, over 300 people perished and property worth about N500m (five hundred million Naira) were destroyed with majority of the casualties being Muslims of Southern Kaduna;
(iv). Zangon Kataf Crises of 1992 :
This infamous violence against Muslims occurred when Kataf ethnic militia attacked the residents of Zangon Kataf and innocent travelers passing through Zango town. This was under the pretext of the Hausa traders’ resistance to the relocation of a market. In the violence, the whole portion of the town occupied by Muslims was burnt and demolished. Again, about 1,200 Muslims were killed in cold blood in broad day light. When the Justice Karibi Whyte Judicial Tribunal found the leaders of militia who organised the pogrom guilty and sentenced them to death and long prison terms, the Federal Government only found it expedient to pardon them. This singular action failed to serve any deterrence and emboldened other people with extremists tendencies to lead and organise similar pogrom among Muslim communities in all parts of Southern Kaduna.
(v). Jema Emirship Staff of Office Riots of 1999
Here, some Christian ethnic tribes decided to stop the installation of a new Emir of Jama’a, a throne that was established in the 19th century and has been in existence since 1810. The reason for their action was that they do not want an Emirate in the Southern Senatorial Zone. The militia went on heinous rampage killing over 30 Muslims, burning properties and destroying anything owned by Muslims in many parts of Kafanchan township and the surrounding settlements of Muslims;
(vi). The Sharia Riots of 2000 :
This violence was visited on Muslims when Christians especially those from Southern Kaduna protested violently against a decision of the Kaduna State Government to implement a moderate version of Shari’ah. This myopic and ill-conceived protest led to attacks on Muslims resulting in the death of hundreds of them. The crisis affected many towns in the Southern Senatorial Zone with the worst case recorded in Kachia where over 70% of the entire township was looted and burnt and hundreds of men, women and children were massacred in cold blood.
(vii). The Violence at Kidache Area in Chawai Chiefdom in 2010 :
In this, cattle herders were attacked and many of them killed after they fled the killings that trailed them from Plateau State. The killings were carried out by Chawai Christian militia.
(viii). The 2011 Post-Election Violence, (PEV):
This broke out following the April 2011 Presidential election in many parts of Northern Nigeria. While the protests were mainly against politicians perceived to have rigged elections in many cities and towns like Kano, Mubi, Sokoto and Zaria, it was converted into ethno-religious violence in Kaduna State. Thus, Muslims were attacked in the Christian dominated parts of Kaduna Township including the adjoining rural areas. In the Southern Senatorial Zone, Christian youths saw this as an opportunity to descend on defenseless Southern Kaduna Muslims. Vulnerable communities of Muslims in Zonkwa, Mitsirga, Kafanchan, Kwoi, Madakiya, Gidan Maga, and Kagoro among many others were attacked in broad daylight. Within two days, more than 1,500 lives were lost, thousands of houses burnt and unquantifiable properties lost. Several settlements of Muslims were completely destroyed and Muslims chased out en-masse from these settlements to the present day. This created a flock of internally displaced persons running to over 200,000 people. The Government of Kaduna State under the past PDP administration completely ignored the plight of these victims.
The April 2011 Post Election Violence which took the typology of ethno-religious cleansing (genocide) in some parts of Southern Kaduna had led to the death of over one thousand five hundred Muslims, the forceful displacement of over fifteen thousand families from 38 villages with the complete destruction of their dwellings, places of worship, farmlands, livestock and other means of livelihoods.
The Post-Election Violence was the worst and bloodiest conflict in the history of ethno-religious crises not only in Southern Kaduna but the nation at large. As at now, over 98% of the victims are yet to return to their places of abode in spite of their expressed willingness to do so but made impossible by the aggressive tendencies of many of the Christian communities they lived with.
(ix). The Destruction of Kafanchan Praying Ground in 2013
For no just cause, war mongering and well-armed Christian youths severally pulled down the walls of Kafanchan central Eid praying ground which has been in existence for over 100 years. Neither the Jema’a Local Government Council nor the Kaduna State Government made any arrest and/or prosecute the perpetrators despite the fact that many of these atrocities were carried out in broad daylight and under the watchful eyes of security personnel.
(x). The Killing of a Motorcycle Operator in Kafanchan in 2013:
A Muslim motorcycle operator was attacked and killed by rampaging Christian youths in the aftermath of the post-election violence in the outskirts of Kafanchan. The killers took his handset and used it to place a call to his uncle informing him in a victorious tone to come and remove the ‘carcass’ of his relation so that it does not decompose and pollute their environment. This sparked reactions leading to further crisis that left many harmless and hapless people dead.
(xi) Demolition of the Fence of Kachia Eid Praying Ground in 2014
The fence of the Muslims Eid praying ground in Kachia has been under constant attack by ‘unknown persons’. Despite several appeals by the Muslims, the appeals were not addressed properly.
On 10th April, 2014, however, when a large portion of the fence under construction was demolished by ‘unknown persons’ this singular action caused suspicion among Muslim youths who stormed the area in protest of such destruction. Following that development, Muslim and Christian youths engaged each other in a bloody confrontation leading to killings of Muslims and destruction of their property within Kachia town.
(xii) The Ninte (Godogodo) Saga in 2016
Ninte is a settlement in Godogodo chiefdom, Jema’a LGA. On 25/05/16, some herdsmen were grazing with cattle in the area when a farmer accused them of destroying his crops. This resulted in disagreement. The pastoralists’ leader (Ardo) of the area intervened and he initiated a peace move. He went to the District Head office to assure the community of their desire to pay compensation to the aggrieved farmer. Unfortunately, he was attacked and killed by an irate youth in the presence of the District Head and other community members. Immediately afterwards, the youths from the farming communities proceeded on rampage, burning all Fulani cattle rearers’ settlements in and around Godogodo and in the process attacked and killed every herdsmen on-sight.
These acts of injustice and hopelessness forced the herdsmen to respond in self-defense.
As a consequence of call to arms by SOKAPU and Senator Danjuma La’ah, there were coordinated attacks on the settlement of Muslims in Gidan-Waya, Tafan and Pasakori. At the same time illegal roadblocks were mounted by irate youths along many roads that traversed Southern Kaduna; leading to the periodic killing of Muslims on transit.
(xiii) The Kafanchan Demonstration Episode in 2016
Another round of aggression on Muslims was disguised in the form of peaceful demonstration at Kafanchan on 19th December 2016, in spite of the order banning all forms of procession in Kaduna State by the Government. The Muslim community of Kafanchan Township found itself confronted with insults, harassment and intimidation in the name of the procession. Sadly, the choice of the location for the demonstration was the Muslim streets and with the level of provocative statements, skirmishes started. As security agencies took action to prevent violence, the procession turned violent, revealing the true objective of the organisers: to unleash mayhem and provide platform for the killing of Muslims in Kafanchan. With security agencies preventing attack on the Muslims, the aggression was transferred to Government institutions, Mosques and business investments. Soon, the Local Government Council Chairman office, the treasurer and accountant offices were burnt; the Local Government Mosque, Federal Technical College Mosque and the Kaduna State College of Education temporary site Mosque at Kafanchan were all burnt.
Business properties for Muslims like the Kudnax Filling Station opposite College of Nursing, Kafanchan, A.A. Abbas Filling Station, Alh Kabiru Tanko Stores and Alh. Danjuma Umar business centre were also burnt. All properties for Christians were not touched.
Afterwards, many roads were barricaded and innocent Muslim travelers were intercepted and killed or their vehicles looted and burnt.
(xiv) The Goska Incident in 2016
The final aggression was an attack by Goska community on a Fulani settlement (Kadan) at the outskirt of Dangoma on 23/12/16 where some Fulani herdsmen were killed, houses burnt and nearly a hundred cows killed. The assault continued until 24/1216 when the herdsmen responded and drove them back to Goska Village where the altercation continued leading to the killing of some of the community members and burning of some houses.
In the early morning of 26/12/16, the Goska community regrouped and burnt three Fulani hamlets (rugan Kohoje, Gereje and Kwaje) close to Dangoma. They then proceeded to Dangoma and surrounded the community, killed six persons and made several attempt to attack Dangoma community before the arrival of military personnel. In spite of all this, no arrest was made while the media only reported that herdsmen had attacked Goska community without reference to the earlier attack on the Fulani, the burning of their houses and the killing of animals.
(xv) The Ambush and Attacks of His Highness the Emir of Jama’a at Samaru Kataf:
The attempt on the life of His Highness, the Emir of Jama’a following an ambush and attack on his convoy at Samarun Kataf by the Katafawa was a clear evidence of their hidden agenda that was perpetrated in 1995 to eliminate the Emir and the Emirate from Southern Kaduna. To buttress this fact, neither the Christian leaders, the Southern Kaduna people elected representatives, the Southern Kaduna Elders’ Forum nor the Southern Kaduna People’s Union, (SOKAPU) acknowledged, condemned the attack and commiserated with the Emir. Sadly enough, SOKAPU rushed to the media and denied such happening (attack). It is therefore, our candid submission that SOKAPU is either the mastermind or executioner of the dastardly act or all of the above otherwise why should they rushed to the press and denied that nothing of such took place. There is more to it than met the eye.
(xvi) The Kajuru Local Government Disturbances 2018 to Date
We are all aware that Kajuru Local Government in particular and some border communities in Kachia and Chikun Local Governments have been witnessing incessant violent communal crises since 2018 to date. These crises continue till date amidst contending narratives by the parties involved in such conflicts.
SOKAMUDA would not want to comment on this conflict at this stage as the State Government has established a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the conflict. Our hope and prayer is that the outcome of the Commission of Inquiry will not only establish the facts but will also help Government to advance peace and Justice. We also advise the State Government to take steps to stabilize the situation.
(xvii) The Zangon Kataf Local Government Disturbances 2020
We are all aware that since the 1992 Zangon Kataf unfortunate crisis, the Katafs (Atyap) have unjustly taken over the farmlands of the indigenous Hausas of Zango Urban. Despite the 1996 brokered peace by the then Military Administrator of Kaduna State, Colonel Lawal Ja’afaru Isa, among the various factions, the farmlands till date have not been returned to their Hausa owners. For over three decades now, as an annual occurrence whenever they made attempts to use their farmlands in rainy seasons, they were attacked. Hate was the immediate cause of the recent crises which spread to parts of Kauru Local Government.
SOKAMUDA would wish the government and the public to disregard the mischief and lies being spread by some groups and associations especially the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), Atyap Community Development Association (ACDA) as to the immediate cause of the recent unrest by resorting to blaming the victim.
As earlier mentioned, the cause of the crisis was a land dispute between the native Kataf (Atyap) farmers and the indigenous Hausa farmers of Zango town. However, the Fulbe communities in the Kataf (Atyap) Chiefdom in Zangon Kataf Local Government and surrounding villages in parts of Kauru Local Government who had nothing to do with the farmland or any other issue for that matter suffered simultaneous attacks by Kataf youths. The attacks were for about four days from 11th June, 2020. The wicked attacks and maiming resulted in the killing of helpless and defenseless Fulani women, children and the elderly in the homes, sleep, roads and in their productive economic business of cattle herding. Similarly, the Fulbe communities have been suffering similar orchestrated attacks by Adara youths in Kajuru Local Government and other parts of Southern Kaduna for no just cause. The loss in human lives ran into hundreds while loss in property ran into millions of Naira with thousands in IDPs as submitted by various Fulbe associations.
As usual, SOKAPU, their collaborators and other mischievous, nervous individuals and groups always quickly issue false information to mislead the public so as to get underserved attention. The public is advised to disregard such misinformation and falsehood by those people.
SOKAMUDA unequivocally wish to appreciate the efforts and prompt response of the Government and security personnel towards ensuring the return of normalcy and the rule of law in the area. We in SOKAMUDA hereby advise that further steps should be taken to ensure that the dead bodies that could not be seen have been fully recovered for burial accordingly and all missing persons and cattle still scattered in the villages are recovered and handed over to their families and owners. Other appropriate general recommendations are made at the end of this letter.