By Adamu Mohammed Kagarko, (Marafan Kagarko, Chairman, SOKAMUDA)
(c) Drivers of Conflicts in Southern Kaduna
SOKAMUDA, at this juncture would want to recommend ways and means of rebuilding peace, achieving stability and finding an end to recurrent conflicts as much as possible by critically, objectively and comprehensively identifying the main conflict drivers and address them individually and collectively .
We have identified and analysed some of the conflict drivers that have over the years triggered conflicts in Southern Kaduna. We however acknowledged the fact that since after the 2015 Elections, the present Government showed political will by addressing some of these issues .
Some of these conflicts drivers include :
(i) Falsification of the Demographic Reality of the Southern Kaduna Senatorial Zone
The negative exploitation of ethnic diversity of Kaduna State by groups of narrow-minded and sentimental sections has led to massive stereotyping and served as foundation for religious, ethnic and sectional clashes. One of the contentious issues has been political representation as well as employments in the civil service. A careful review of population of the Southern Senatorial Zone of the State will reveal massive inequality in political representation, where the Muslim populations are largely excluded from the affairs of governance. It is evidently clear that the greatest fault line is religion, particularly between the Christians and the Muslims, with the Christians taking nearly everything. Sadly, however, even the few opportunities given to the Muslims are seen as “undeserved” by sections of the Christians intelligentsia. They want everything in Southern Kaduna to be for Christians.
Contrary to the popular narrative and media portrayal of the Southern Senatorial Zone as an exclusively Christians Zone, there is the existence of a significant Muslim population, who cumulatively constitute about 40%. The number of the Muslim can be determined from the 2006 Census figures, the number of primary schools enrollment and the number of registered voters of this “apparently silent minority”. Thus, a major challenge facing the Muslim population of the Southern Senatorial Zone is inadequate recognition of the Muslims, leading to marginalization in governance and administration.
The Southern Senatorial Zone has 87 Wards. In 16 of the wards, Muslims constitute over 75% of the population. In 10 other wards, Muslims constitute about 50% of the population. In most of the other remaining 61 wards, there are significant Muslim populations. During the 2011 Post Election Violence, several Muslim communities were displaced particularly in parts of Kaura, Zangon Kataf and Jama’a LGAs.
(ii). Religious Discrimination
Though the Muslims are statistically speaking a minority, the sheer propaganda of a section of the elites of Southern Kaduna has made it appear as if the area is entirely a Christian enclave, with no Muslims. Any Muslim seen in the area are mere ‘settlers’. To preserve this “imagery” scenario, important Muslim settlements must be destroyed. Important Muslim traditional institutions must be destroyed. Important Muslim places of worship and institutions of learning should be destroyed. Important Muslim economic activities also need to be destroyed. All lands and territories owned by Muslims must be taken over. The history of Muslims in the area need to re-told and re-written to justify this imagery scenario. The “settler” Muslims need to be gradually chased away. If they then want to return and live in Southern Kaduna, they will then be welcomed as tenants. They should live in Southern Kaduna as the Igbos or as the Yorubas that migrated from the Southern part of the country do.
For the avoidance of doubt, majority of Muslims of Southern Kaduna don’t know which part of the world their ancestral origin is. So, they have no any other ancestral home than those villages and towns in which they live in Southern Kaduna. Through inter marriages and centuries of cultural association and assimilation, many others cannot tell which ethnic group they belong to. Most of the people called “Hausa” in Southern Kaduna are an amalgamation of many ethnic groups that lost their mother tongue for one reason or the other and who happen to live together and form a “new” culture over several decades and centuries.
The situation of some Muslim communities is now so pathetic. Some Muslims have suffered untold hardship in the hands of aggressive tribesmen who arrogated to themselves the sole right of determining who lives and who doesn’t in particular places, irrespective of the fact that they were born there and have been living there for ages. As a direct consequence of some of these exclusions on the basis of religion, many Muslim youths have been denied admission, enrolment in the security agencies, appointments into the local, state and Federal Government service and political representation particularly at the LGA and state levels. Many communities have also been denied traditional rulers and have been forced to be under traditional rulers that they do not share similar cultural values and practices, an example of that are the Hausas in Zango Urban , Dangoma, Jagindi, Dalle, Banauje, Kariyo and many other Hausas and Fulani communities who are also Muslims but merged with Atyap, Kaningkon and Godogodo Chiefdoms who do not share the same cultural or religious identities. This kind of situation was the reason of persistent agitations of most of the tribes which resulted in getting their individual chiefdoms. It should be well noted and is on record that Dangoma community are the first inhabitants of the present Kaningkon Chiefdom. The Kaningkons settled in the area during the reigns of the 8th Emir of Jama,a, Abdullahi Maje Jos – 1915 to 1925 – It is an irony that the same Dangoma community are now a District under Kaningkon Chiefdom. The hunter is now the hunted.
It is in this regard that we feel the Hausas in Atyap Chiefdom of Zangon Kataf Local Government , Dangoma community and other Fulanis in Jama,a Local Government and Ladduga in Kachia Local Government to be given their separate Chiefdoms in the name of justice, equity, self-determination and fair play.
(iii) Impunity and Injustice
The attacks and mass murder of Muslims has been recurring since the Kasuwan Magani incidence of 1981. In the course of these conflicts, hundreds of Christians have also been killed, some in the process of fighting and some innocently falling victims. Since then, rarely was anyone ever brought to book on account of this monumental crime.
A typical case was the killings in Zonkwa in 2011 that was video recorded by the perpetrators. In their video, they took pride in doing what they did. Most of these assailants were clearly identifiable in the pictures and clips. The video is widely available and was even submitted as an evidence by many individuals and organisations in the course of hearings of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry. The Judicial Commission of enquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government indicted the perpetrators. To date, no action or punishment has been taken. SOKAMUDA is however happy to commend the Government for setting up a White paper drafting Committee on the report recently . This is a commendable efforts towards addressing the matter once and for all. This hopefully would yield to genuine reconciliation.
With this level of impunity, citizens have little confidence on governance. In an atmosphere of fear and injustice, genuine reconciliation can hardly be achieved. The same assailants can keep repeating what they did, while many others may learn from them. In some of the communities, they are seen as heroes or emancipators.
Finally , we at SOKAMUDA are quick to observe that the political will shown by the present Government to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of such conflicts is commendable. We hope the momentum would be kept .
(iv) Indigene/Settler Dichotomy:
The practice of discriminating against millions of “non-indigenes”, those citizens who allegedly, cannot show that their family roots are native to the community creates an illegal division between “host” and “settler” communities that fed a growing sense of tension and conflict in many parts of the country policies.
This practice is not supported by any law or other form of legal justification. It is used to marginalize and exclude the so-called non-indigenes by denying non-indigenes access to civil-service jobs, lower tuition fees at schools or academic scholarships.
They are also subject to less formal discriminatory practices such as barriers to political participation and discrimination in the provision of basic services and infrastructure to their communities in addition to systematic ethno-religious cleansing, destruction of properties and forceful displacement.
In spite of the glaring brutality being constantly meted against us and in spite of the lack of political will earlier than the coming of the present government in 2015 by the Kaduna State governments, we believe we have the inalienable right to live and exist in Southern Kaduna, and we also deserve to enjoy all the privileges accorded to us by the Nigerian Constitution, which includes the right to life, economic, educational and social rights for employment like any other person of whatever tribe, religion or ethnic group.
Further to this, we observe also that in the past Governments and more especially the recent past have failed to accord us the necessary and needed security and protection accorded to us in the constitution as Nigerian citizens. In fact, the Government of Kaduna State and the LGAs of Southern Kaduna have made it a tacit policy to deny us the Southern Kaduna Muslims with appointments into key positions in the civil service or to recommend same at the federal level. For this, our children and wards suffered the same exclusion in terms of State scholarship grants, placement in public schools, and other training institutions requiring the involvement of the state and or LGAs to attain. Furthermore, there is an internal marginalization going on in southern Kaduna whereby any Muslim irrespective of his background is denied the right to aspire for any elective or appointive position.
The Muslims are seriously marginalized, oppressed and are considered as aliens/settlers, thus have no right what so ever to benefit in that direction. This marginalization and oppression did not stop on the issue of appointment or election but to the extent of denying us the right to acquire even the basic education. The point we are trying to make to buttress this anomaly was between 1990 and 1991, the then Chairman of Jama’a local Government council (Mr. Mikiah Tapkwat) based on scripted agenda, returned all missionary schools taken over by Kaduna State Government in the seventies to the missionaries in all the areas where the Hausas/Fulani Muslims are populated. While all others in the Christian areas were left under the former arrangement including his native village (Tudun Wada Kaningkon). It was a well scripted agenda to deny us anything good under the Sun in the area.
Our economic life has also been targeted. That was why as the slightest opportunity, they loot and set our markets ablaze. Since 2011 when the Kafanchan Central Market was destroyed by the Christian youths, their leaders and elites have been doing everything to ensure the market is not rebuilt. We’re, however, happy to observe that this Government broke that jinx by commencing the construction of the Kafanchan Market. We advise that more efforts be devoted in that regards as they would do everything to sabotage the construction of the market. They rushed and opened a new market on Government land illegally and named it Yakowa market.
Any visitors to Kafanchan will agree with the fact that the streets are over commercialized and choked due to the absence of designated market. This situation is a calculated economic blockage and sabotage against the Hausa/Fulani Muslim community in the Emirate.
This unholy tendency fuels division, inequality and fault lines along which conflicts erupts thereby adding to the risk of conflict propensity. It is against the human spirit for a sane person can stand akimbo and watch another undermining its right to self-determination and condemned their destiny to limbo.
(v) Distortion of History
On this issue, we chose to use Jema’a Emirate as an example. A very good case in mind is that of the distortion of history to achieve exclusion and stigmatization of alleged settlers is the case of one Kajit John Paul who addressed himself as a Researcher on Peace Building and Constitutionalism in Multi-identity postcolonial societies at University of Edinburgh and who, in a letter to former Governor Ramalan Yero, opined that ”the establishment and sustenance of ‘Jamaa Emirate’ as a first class ‘Traditional Institution’ in the territories of ethnic nations that do not share the ideals of the ‘Emirate Identity’, is as good as setting-up an offensive military outpost for imperial purposes – it is a recipe for recurrent and perpetuated conflict, whose endpoint is disaster if sustained. Essentially, the Jema’a Emirate concept represents an ideology that has been phased-out by advancement in human rights and equality of all peoples.
This is conceptually similar (even if not exactly the same) as creating an Igbo ‘Kingdom’ in Sabon Gari Kano with a first class chief equal or superior in status to HRH Mallam Aminu Ado Bayero! Or perhaps a Bajju Chiefdom in Wusasa or Sabon-Gari Zaria, with a chief equal or superior in status to HRH Shehu Idris! The underlying concept is the institutionalization of particular groups and identities as superior to others. The idea was to destroy the peculiar identities of the indigenous peoples by subjecting them to a Hausa-Fulani Emir in Jema’a”.
This is clearly a falsification of history using semantics to achieve an end that is unjust and selfish thereby compounding the fragile peace in Southern Kaduna. The self-acclaimed researcher is perhaps blinded by hatred and desire to inherit the Kafanchan Town instead of developing his village to its status.
It is this kind of falsification of history that is setting the diverse Muslims and Christian communities apart in the Southern Senatorial Zone. These create a feeling that some people are “aliens” and therefore not wanted. Jama’a Emirate was operating as an autonomous Native Authority since when they were in Nasarawa Province and later Plateau Province. It was in 1957 when a member of House of Representative from the area, Mallam Dembo Kagoro, sponsored a motion for the formation of a Federation, which was approved and Jama’a Federation was formed which brought together the subordinate Native Authorities of Moroa, Kagoro and Jaba. As they could not stand on their own due to weak financial base, they joined Jama’a Emirate to form the federation. As at that time, Jama’a Emirate was more buoyant than the other three subordinate Native Authorities put together. The Northern Nigerian Government built the Secretariat at Kafanchan in 1957. The article of the formation clearly states that the Emir of Jama’a is the life time Chairman of the Council because of its size, historical antecedent, resources and financial base.
(D) Recommendations for Peaceful Coexistence and Sustainable Development
It is not debatable that Kaduna State Nigeria and the entire world need peace. Peace is always built and sustained by justice, empathy and fairness to all concerned irrespective of their ethnic or religious backgrounds which are the cardinal paths to achieving same. Rule of Law and pluralism must prevail over narrow mindedness and misuse of the instruments of power by any group.
SOKAMUDA will be highly pleased to be part of the peace-building initiatives of all stakeholders and Governments. In furtherance to this, the following are viewed as possible solutions to the almost four decades of recurring violent conflicts in the communities of Southern Kaduna:
(i) Government should review the Reports and White Papers on Post-Election Violence set up by both the Federal and State Governments. Persons indicted should be investigated and reprimanded accordingly to serve as a deterrent. There should be fair trial and prosecution of all those found involved in the attacks and killings of people in all parts of the State. This recommendation we have seen it being addressed with the recent setting up of the White-paper Drafting Committee on the 1992 Rahila H. Cudjoe Commission of Enquiry on the Zangon Kataf crises and late AVM Usman Muazu Reconciliation Committee
(ii) There should also be adequate compensation and rehabilitation of the victims to alleviate their sufferings. SOKAMUDA is appealing to the State Government to assist in follow up with the Federal Government for the balance of N4billion ( four billion Naira) payment of compensation out of the approved seven billion naira (N7billion) to victims of the 2011 Post Elections Violence . This need to be given prominence. A comprehensive long term programme needs to be put in place that will guarantee the restoration of all lands, assets and properties of victims.
(iii). Establishment of military barracks in Kafanchan is commendable. It is advised that permanent security formations should be stationed in the other major flashpoints of communal violence in Southern Kaduna to safeguard the lives and property of citizens.
(vi) The tagging of some citizens who do not belong to certain tribes as settlers need to be stopped. Hausa and Fulani people have had a long history of association not only in Nigeria but the entire West and Central parts of West Africa. Hausa and Fulani people today are citizens and indigenes of several nations and in none of these nations are they treated as “settlers”.
(v) There is need for the Kaduna State Government and the entire national polity to ensure fairness and justice in political and social representation on the basis of population using the universal adult suffrage of one man one vote; such that constituencies are represented based on population, diversity and other democratic considerations as against the current practice of using ethnicity and religion.
(vi) The incessant killings of both Muslims and Christians need to be stopped henceforth. Security agencies must act impartially to contain the excesses of aggressive communities and individuals. All efforts must be made to fish out the perpetrators of violence and conflicts and bring them to book.
(vii) Calls for the protection of Fulani nomads who are in constant transhumance movement. Their essential needs for grazing areas, watering points and migratory routes need to be provided. SOKAMUDA commends the efforts of the Kaduna State Government in the establishment and gazetting of grazing reserves in the State. There is need for creation of more grazing areas particularly in those areas with high concentration of the herdsmen. Government should also provide essential services that will help the nomads improve their economic activities and ensure efficient and effective management of pastoralists and farmers conflicts.
(viii) Even though the present Kaduna State Government has been doing fairly well for our people, we appeal that the Government should strategically and operationally recognise the plurality of Kaduna State in general and Southern Kaduna in particular so that appointments into public Offices, recruitment into Civil Service and location of development projects reflect the above diversity.
(ix) Traditional institutions should be encouraged and empowered by the government to ensure check and balances of their domain. Having done that they should be held accountable for any breach of peace and extrajudicial killings in their areas.
(x) The tradition of mounting illegal road blocks to harm innocent travellers by exuberant youth/group of people in the events of any crisis should be stopped because innocent people on transit that have nothing to do with the area nor the crisis are often victims of such road blocks. The community leaders should be held accountable for allowing any such illegal road blocks as these happened many times in parts of Southern Kaduna.
(xi). We are fully aware of the efforts of the Kaduna State in re-tracing, demarcating and clearing known cattle routes (Burtali) . We suggest that existing Grazing Reserves should be gazetted and be provided with all ranching and other facilities to encourage the herdsmen to reduce unnecessary movements. This would reduce frequent conflicts between farmers/community and the herdsmen.
(xii). Government should support and encourage the functionality of a responsible and law abiding community both at District and local levels. This would complement the effort of the security agents in the area. Kaduna State Vigilante Service (KADVIS) should be encouraged and financed to perform such functions.
(xiii) Muslims in the entire Southern Kaduna should be granted their full and unalloyed human and constitutional rights to citizenship without discrimination like any other human groups in the area. We appreciate the present recognition and level of participation of Muslims at all levels of governance. However, Government should prorate the participation of more Muslims in terms of appointment and other considerations from the area.
(xiv). SOKAMUDA commends the Kaduna State Government for the establishment of the Kaduna State Peace Commission as an instrument for peace building, peaceful coexistence, shared prosperity and stability in the area in particular and the state at large.
In conclusion, we wish to state that contrary to media narratives, the dominant Christian groups are the aggressors against the minority Muslim population in the Southern Kaduna violent conflicts. The records and other evidence are there to prove that Muslims suffer the most in terms of lives lost, injuries sustained, property destroyed as well as forceful displacement. This being the case, how can the victims precipitate a crisis they know that they would be the eventual losers?
We had often felt betrayed and have been disgusted by the action and sometimes inaction of Government, especially before the coming of the present administration in 2015, the media, and the International Community. However, things are now changing for the better. The path of peace in Southern Kaduna is insistence on the Rule of Law by all stakeholders instead of media propaganda which ends up complicating the situation to our collective perils.