Before starting, I want to correct an impression on most of the reports suggesting that the entire Southern part of Kaduna state is on fire, but that is not the case. The crisis currently going on affected only four local government areas; Ja’ama, Kaura, Zangon Kataf and maybe Kauru where some issues did happened.
So what I want to read to you is our resolve as members of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Kaduna State Chapter, and to also highlight steps we’ve taken as Fulanis and members of MACBAN.
Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Kaduna State Chapter has been observing various claims and counter claims by different interest groups concerning the crisis in some local governments in Southern Kaduna, namely; Ja’ama, Kaura, Zankon Kataf and Kauru. Some of the claims are not only fictitious but also malicious and far from the truth.
As an Association whose members have been unjustifiably accused and maligned, we think that it is time for us to tell our own side of the story and set the record straight for posterity sake.
In 2011, there were post-presidential violence that occurred in the whole state and it affected not only the indigenous Fulani’s in Southern part of Kaduna state but the mobile Fulani’s coming from other areas. Initially, we taught it was only our people (indigenous Fulani’s) that were affected by those crisis and we started the process of reconciliation with our neighbours because we’ve been living there for ages in peace and harmony, therefore we started experiencing even after signing MoUs and agreements, we started experiencing pockets of attacks and started asking ourselves, are we really sincere with peace reconciliation?
Unfortunately for us that time we had one of us as the governor of the state, a man who was willing to sacrifice everything for the peace of not only the Southern Kaduna but the entire Kaduna state; late Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa and he challenged some of us to find out what actually is the cause. We set up a committee to see what really happened and these were our findings:
1. The post-election violence happened in 2011 and it coincided with the movement of Nomadic pastoralists from the southern part of the country to the north and the entire southern part of Kaduna state, there are three international stalk routs being used by nomadic pastoralists.
Let me also clarify that the Fulani pastoralists you hear about are classified into three; the settled nomads (indigenous nomads), semi- settled nomads (those that move from maybe Plateau, they’re somewhere in Barkin Ladi local government area but during dry season they send their children on grazing expedition; in Sanga and Ja’ama LGA), then there is nomadic transit, those who are in constant movement. Some of them are from the neigbouring states while some even from neighbouring countries.
Then we discovered that somewhere in Zonkwa; Abet, Fadiya Sharp Corner at Gidan Maga, some fulanis plying those stalk routs from Republic of Cameroon were affected. So also the other stalk routs that passed through Madakia, and the rout that passed through from Ryom Local government into Sanga local government, that lead into part of Ja’ama local government. When the governor asked us to find solution to it, we told him the solution will be absolutely difficult because we have to trace those people that were affected.
He said we should go no matter what it takes because, I cannot sit here as a governor working for the state while my own constituency is burning, let’s do it no matter what it takes and we started. I believe that everyone who’s a living witness before the death of Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa knew that normalcy has returned to Southern part of Kaduna state.
We traced these nomadic pastoralists to the Republic of Cameroon, and we told them we were sent by the Governor of Kaduna State to come and seek for forgiveness what happened to them. And their leader told us clearly that he’s a pastoralist and about 200 of his cows were killed in Fadiya, Abet at Gidan Maga. He even told us that they have heard that the governor does not like Muslims; but I said I was born in southern part of Kaduna and that we don’t have anybody in southern Kaduna that does not like Muslims. That we’ve been living together and assured them that even in their house they do have disagreement with their family members and that doesn’t mean one does not like his family. And he said on behalf of himself and other members of his group that were affected in those crises go and tell your governor I’ve forgiven him.
And we returned, just two weeks after our return the governor died and all efforts to make things in succession to support the program so that we can be able to trace other routes from the other parts fall on deaf ears. And that’s why you see Sanga, Ja’ama, and other parts are the flash points up till this moment.
THE RECENT CRISIS
Let me make it clear I have classified the nomads and I said there is category that constantly move from one place to another, and the medium this movement is facilitated is called stalk or cattle routes.
These routes are in three categories; international, interstate and inter- local government routes. Sometimes a farmer decided to go and encroached on a stalk route, like in Godogodo chiefdom a farmer decided to farm on the routes thereby blocking all passage from the nomadic people. I want to assure you that a cow is just like a bee, it can trace its way; it’s just like water when you build on water passage you know what happen when there is flood it will pass through the rout. So the fact that he has a farmland with his crops there does not stop the cows from passing. I want to tell you that if you start from Cameroon to Benin Republic and just ask your cow to go in front, go back they’ll (cows) take you to Benin Republic if you’ve been going there without missing any routes, so that’s what happened.
An argument ensued between two pastoralists that were trying to pass through the stalk rout with the farmer which resulted into fight, both parties were wounded and were taken to hospital for treatment. And I think one of the Ardo from that area volunteered to pay for the treatment but some youths taught otherwise and organized themselves, killed the Ardo, set him ablaze, burnt about 67 of Ardo’s settlement, and there we go.
MACBAN with some well-meaning sons of southern Kaduna sat down together and started working on peace even up to the stage of signing an agreement. We had a meeting at the Palace of Chief of Godogodo, we asked all the nomads that were affected by those crisis to return. We were about to sign the agreement when another killings happened again. Four nomadic youths rearing their animals were killed, we started again from square zero. Still on the way some cows, 42 in number belonging to some nomads from Plateau state were killed, that was what happened.
Later a new dimension was introduced to the issue where people just go out wherever they see a Fulani man with his cows, they attack and kill then. They block roads and stop vehicles, anybody with the sign of Fulani man should be brought out and kill etc. That’s what been happening. In one of the killings, a Mining Engineer with his brother from Niger Republic, who has signed an MoU with Nasarawa State
Government to prospect for solid mineral traveling to Nasarawa state was stopped and killed. We were there and we heard that the late Engineers people in his home country were organizing to come to Nigeria and ask why; and you know what that means. We had to quickly go for reconciliation, seek for forgiveness and told them it was the governor that sent us, and to this they said they have forgiven. There were some equipment with the engineer used in prospecting solid mineral worth millions of naira, the father of the late engineer said since it is your governor that sent you, they’re not going to ask for the equipment, let bygone be bygone.
Some nomads returning to Plateau state from Niger state where they went for a function, and somewhere in Denghi and Delmai at the border with Plateau, about thirteen of them were killed in Darade and one of them is still missing, and the vehicle they boarded was completely burnt. We had to quickly go, meet and discussed with them. Some Fulani traders returning from Lafiya were followed and tracked from Kagoro and finally got at Samaru, some were killed, but two of them were saved by a Kataf man who hid them in his house for two days before returning them. That’s why we’re saying the idea of revenge and retaliation is wrong. If you want to attack Samaru now to revenge what happened to your brothers you may likely kill that Good Samaritan. So let’s avoid vengeance. Those killed some were from Giwa in Jigawa state and we have to go to the family to appeal to them. One fromDutsawa in Katsina, we were also there.
There was another incident involving a nomad from Girgasabain Jigawa state, who has cattle rearers, and he’s in one of the pastoralist categories I earlier mentioned (semi-settled). He sent his rearers somewhere to Maiyel in Sanga local government area, and so he want to go and visit them. Just between Fasokori and Gidan Waya he was shot and killed. We had to go and appeal to them.
We said this process has to continue because we’re from southern part of Kaduna state. We know how good the people from this part of the state are because all of us were born there, therefore we would discourage anything that will destabilize that area. We don’t have any other area other than southern Kaduna.
There are so many cases. On the market day crisis in Samaru two boys were rearing their cattle closed to the market, and crisis erupted but another Kataf man took the two boys and hide them for two days. So we taught they’ve been killed. We have dessiminated information that the boys have been killed but after two days when calm returned; he brought them and handed them over to the military who subsequently handed them over to their parents.
The case of Gakurmi, two boys coming from Plateau to Samaru market, one was killed at Gakurmi, they taught they’ve killed the second one but later discovered he’s alive and was taken to a hospital at Saminaka. We want to sincerely appreciate Agwatiap. He organized for the treatment of the boy, dedicated two District Heads with an Ardo to go even before we go there to appeal to the family. And I think this is the spirit we’re supposed to imbibe if we really want peace. These are our findings.
THE WAY FORWARD
1. We call on the entire people of southern Kaduna to forgive what has happened. Both parties should learn to forgive. This crisis will never end if you think you would go and revenge what happened to you , so we’re appealing to all parties to sheath their swords and embrace peace.
2. We want to also support the steps so far taken by the government of Kaduna State and all the security agencies in order to return normalcy to the area.
3. We call on leaders in particular, political, religious and otherwise to desist from making inflammatory speeches that could escalate the situation. There should be no hate speech, those speeches that paint us religious sentiment or ethnic jingoism. Let us all work for peace. We inherited a peaceful southern Kaduna and I don’t think we are sensible if we bequeath to our children and grandchildren a southern Kaduna that is fighting itself.
4. We want to assure that we will continue to work with people of goodwill. In southern Kaduna there are good people that are out for peace. And I want to make it clear that there are Chiefdoms where you never, ever experience any clash because the traditional rulers there are out to promote peace. Kagoro, Maroa is one of them eventhough some people mischievously leave from other places and come to Maroa and attack. We’ve seen all that and have told our people never to attack any one in Maroa because they assisted us. We want to respect their traditional ruler who’s now known worldwide for peace. We have other places like Jaba local government area etc. We are going to work with these people to ensure total reconciliation.
5. We also want to express our appreciation to the Governor of Kaduna State. In Africa it is a normal thing that when a government starts a project, the other government will abandon it. But out of his wisdom he decided to resuscitate the peace process started by late Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, which was first of all identified all the people affected in the crisis, sit down with them, iron out every details