By Danjuma Byang
The Federal Government, the Kaduna State Government and the Fulani propaganda groups are all united in claiming that the killings in Southern Kaduna are reprisal killings by the Fulanis to revenge the killings of Fulanis in the post presidential elections of 2011.
The Kaduna State Government has also alleged that the Zangon Kataf crisis of 1992 forms the basis of subsequent crises in the area and needs to be revisited.
So they have set up a committee to revisit the investigative committees set up to dig out the immediate and remote causes of the crisis. It is in the midst of this that some are already calling for the execution of Gen Zamani Lekwot who was indicted by the investigation!
But are the killings in Southern Kaduna, covering several local government areas, truly reprisal killings? Can the happenings of 1992 and 2011 be justification for the genocide going on in Southern Kaduna? Could there be no other motives driving the carnage?
These issues need to be dispassionately looked into.
The Zangon Kataf crises happened in 1992, 28 years ago! According to the Atyap Community Development Association (ACDA), on whose land the crisis occurred, both the Federal and succeeding Kaduna State governments have acted on the issues raised by both the Justice Rahila Cudjoe Commission of Inquiry on the 1992 Zangon Kataf crisis and the AVM Usman Muazu Reconciliation Committee Reports of 1995.
For the Mallam Nasiru Elrufai led-administration to set up a committee to write a white paper in 2020 of a crisis that occurred in 1992 smacks of a hidden agenda, which is not really hidden to any discerning observer of the happenings in the state.
The background leading to the post presidential elections of 2011 shows that it when some Hausa/Fulani followers of Gen Mohammadu Buhari saw that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan had defeated their candidate in the 2011 elections that they spontaneously(?) started killing Christians in several places in the North.
The situation in Kaduna state was aggravated by the winning of Mr Ibrahim Yakowa, the first Christian to ever win a governorship election in the state. Many Christians were gruesomely murdered in several parts of the state, including Zaria and Kaduna town.
It was when corpses of several Southern Kaduna indigenes started arriving home that the people also spontaneously reacted. And in their reaction some Southern Kaduna communities chased away Fulani settlements within their communities and burnt their huts, mostly thatch houses.
In the ensuing clashes some casualties were recorded on both sides of the conflict even in Southern Kaduna! For the Federal Government, the State Government and the Fulani propaganda groups to claim that it was an unprovoked and one-sided massacre of the Fulanis is to be typically economical with the truth!
It would be recalled that upon ascending to power as the governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasiru Elrufai had set up the Gen Martin Luther Agwai committee to look into the 2011 crises and its aftermaths.
The committee recommended that the government should compensate all the parties who incurred losses in the crises. But according to Gov Elrufai, in a widely circulated video interview clip, he said he paid the Fulani killers of Southern Kaduna people based on the committee’s report.
But Gen Agwai responded that their committee’s report did not recommend that only Fulanis should be compensated. So why is it that only Fulanis were compensated by the government?
Also, since Gov Elrufai followed the killers to their countries and settled them, it means he knows who the killers are, why hasn’t the DSS invited him to furnish them with more information in order to arrest them? And also, since the killers have been settled why are they still killing people? From Gov Elrufai’s actions and utterances it is clear to even a fool that His Excellency is complicit in the killings. But for what purpose?
Several Fulani and Muslim groups both within and outside Southern Kaduna are claiming that they are the original owners of the land area called Southern Kaduna!
This is a revisionist historical approach that is typically and completely devoid of truth and credibility. But apparently, the Federal and Kaduna state governments have bought into this false narrative and have set in motion a machinery to forcefully recover the land area of Southern Kaduna and give it to the Fulanis! Or how else would one explain the forceful acquisition of over 70 hectres of land exclusively for Fulanis in Ikulu land in Zangon Kataf local govt area, which is called Laduga?
To date, not a kobo has been paid to the land owners. And the Kaduna state govt has unilaterally transferred Laduga from Zangon Kataf to Kachia Local Govt area! As at today, Laduga seems to be a safe haven for Fulanis, where they plan and execute attacks on the surrounding areas and retire there peacefully, fully protected by security agencies.
So then, the killings in Southern Kaduna enjoys Federal and State governments’ complicity. And they want to forcefully drive away the peoples of Southern Kaduna and takeover their lands. Is this justifiable?
Before I conclude this write up, we must know that the situation in Southern Kaduna is not exclusive or limited to them. The same thing is happening in Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue, Taraba and Adamawa states. It is an assault that we have never seen in recent times.
The only time this was attempted was in 1804 when Usmanu Dan Fodio, a Fulani man, held a jihad and took over much of what is known as Northern Nigeria today! Dan Fodio set up a Fulani dynasty in the North, where ALL the Emirs are Fulanis, with few exceptions, with peculiar historical developments that we won’t get into here.
But is it also on record that the people of the Middle Belt and Borno Empire successfully resisted this Fulanization putsch! Our ancestors who resisted forceful Fulanization/Islamization were practitioners of African Traditional Religion (ATR), they were not even Christians yet! (Christianity came and penetrated much of the area we call Middle Belt today more than 100 years after the jihad)!
Should the Southern Kaduna peoplesand indeed the Middle Belt region cheaply forfeit their ancestral lands to the Fulani hegemonists?
Rev Dr Danjuma Byang writes from Jos