The Kaduna state Government has imposed a 24-hour curfew in Kafanchan, Jemaa Local Government Area of Kaduna state following a reported plan by some people to cause a breakdown of law and order in the area.
The curfew, which was announced by Chairman of the council, Dr Bege Katuka, follows a protest held on Monday morning by some indigenes of southern Kaduna to further draw attention of government to the constant killings of their people by suspected herdsmen.
Although the state government had on Sunday, December 17, banned all forms of procession and unlawful assembly, the protesters who are mainly youths, defied the order and took to the streets of Kafanchan as early as 8AM to demand for the arrest of perpetrators of the attacks that have claimed many lives.
Channels TV correspondent reports that business activities have been paralyzed due to the curfew while only the Police and other security agencies were seen patrolling the streets.
Scores of people have been killed during herdsmen attacks on farmers in communities in Sanga, Jemaa and Kaura local government areas of Kaduna state.
A church in Kaduna State says more than 27,000 people have been displaced from their homes since the renewed attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen against natives of the southern part of Kaduna State.
The Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) also said that hundreds of others have been killed in the renewed attacks.
The group further kicked against a plan by the Kaduna State government to create new grazing reserves and routes for Fulani herdsmen in the area, alleging that the herders were responsible for the attacks.
They also describe the move as an orchestrated plan by the Fulanis to take over the ancestral land of the indigenes.
Fled From Their Homes
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, the Chairman of 19 District Councils of the church, Reverend Zachariah Gado, asked the state government to stop the proposed creation of grazing reserves in the area for the interest of peace and security of lives and property.
The gunmen were said to have carried out coordinated attacks in the four communities, where they burnt down over 150 houses and farmlands.
Now, the residents have fled from their homes to neighbouring communities in Nasarawa, Plateau and Abuja. Those who do not have anywhere to go are now taking refuge at a primary school.
Emergency agencies have deployed officials to provide them with relief materials pending when they will go back to their homes.
This is the same situation in other communities in Sanga, Kaura and Jemaa Local Government Areas since the renewed attacks in those places by suspected herdsmen.
Most worrisome is that majority of the communities do not have access roads, a situation that makes rescue operations difficult during emergency situations.
The State Deputy Governor, Mr Bala Bantex, in company of Secretary to the State government, Baralabe Lawal and other top government functionaries were at the area to assess the level of destruction and also condole with the victims.
On arrival, the interim chairman of Kauru Local Government, conducted the deputy governor and his entourage around the affected villages.
The deputy governor while addressing the few people that were around, urged them to live in peace with one another, stating that the government had already ordered a full scale investigation of the attacks. He said a preliminary report had been received.
He also warns mischief makers to stop politicising attacks in some parts of the state.
“We are here to condole the victims and also assess the situation on ground. We have received preliminary reports and we have already ordered for full scale investigation. We inherited the breakdown of law and order in the state but we are working day and night to restore peace in some parts of Southern Kaduna and places like Birnin Gwari.
“We are also advising people to stop politicising security issues in Kaduna. We must live in peace with one another as one of the ways of embracing peace in our communities. We call on you to reject messages of hatred and division by the mischief makers and ask that you accept peaceful messages.
“We have directed State Emergency Management Agency and they acted promptly by bringing in the relief materials to cushion the hardship of displaced people,” he told the gathering.
According to the clergymen from ECWA attacks on Southern Kaduna natives by suspected Fulani herdsmen had started since 2011.
They said that the development was a manifestation of ethnic cleansing by suspected Fulani militia.
While demanding for compensation for affected persons, the church also called on the Federal Government to establish an Army barracks near the affected areas in order to deter such killings in the future.
“Since the violence that followed the 2011 Presidential Election, there have been increasing indications of the existence of a desperate, well-funded, organised and executed campaign not only to make life unbearable for the entire Southern Kaduna territory through threats, intimidation and psychological warfare, but also to occupy the land through what can only be described as ethno-religious cleansing by Fulani herdsmen militia.
“This campaign has been devastating. The Attakad Community Development Association has confirmed that at least 180 people have been killed in Attakad Chiefdom, Kaura LGA, since 2013 and 10,000 persons displaced.
“Since 24 March 2013, 16 Attakad villages have been lost to the Fulani militia and Fulani men are now fully settled with their cattle and families, in Mayit, Agwom, Zakai Gira, Tunga Magwot, Telak, Zakum and Kirim. Several ECWA churches have been destroyed, along with those belonging to other denominations, and many of our members have become IDPs.
“In 2014, several communities in Sanga LGA, were invaded and hundreds of people killed by these armed herdsmen, with no apparent provocation. In an indication of their underlying religious hostility and motivation, churches are usually prime targets.
“To further buttress the assertion that there is an orchestrated plan to drive our members and other indigenes out of these parts of Southern Kaduna, it appears that the next stage will involve the full take over, Godogodo Chiefdom, in Jema’a LGA. Part of Godogodo town, Ninte, Akwa, Ungwar Anjo, Gada Biyu have been overrun and occupied by the Fulani. Churches in these villages are laid to waste after being burnt.
“It is deeply shocking that in the 21 Century, not only are Fulani militia carrying out a campaign of forced displacement and occupation reminiscent of previous centuries, but also that this is occurring so blatantly under the full gaze of a succession of modern, democratically elected governments,” Reverend Gado stated.
Fled For Safety
The church heads further said that they were aware that the Kaduna State Government, through the Nigeria Police and Nigerian Army were currently arresting their members, including Royal Fathers, on trumped up charges while the Fulani who have publicly taken responsibility for this carnage are walking free.
“We therefore request that Abdullahi Hassan Mohammed, Ahmad M. Yandeh and Abdulhamid Musa, be arrested and be made to produce those who are behind this grim sin against man and God. Failure to do so would be a clear indication that the Kaduna State Government has taken sides in this matter.
“We appeal to the Kaduna State government, in the interests of justice, peace and security, to respect the wishes of the electorate of Southern Kaduna and their elected representatives and stop the creation of grazing reserves in the area, especially since this is tantamount to rewarding perpetrators of murder, arson and destruction for their crimes.
“As perpetrators continue to evade consequences for their illegal and violent actions, impunity and lawless are becoming entrenched, to the detriment of the entire state.
“We therefore call on the State and Federal governments to restore all occupied areas to their rightful owners. Failure to do so will not only encourage further lawlessness; it may also eventually compel the owners of these villages to resort to forceful means to recover their ancestral and only God given lands.
“We appeal for compensation for affected persons, and for relief materials to be provided to the displaced,” Reverend Gado added.
Reacting to the allegation at a separate briefing, the Kaduna State chapter of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, disassociated its members from the recent attacks.
Instead, the leader of the Group, Abdullahi Mohammed, claimed that several Fulani herdsmen and their relatives were the main victims in all the attacks, with many of them killed by suspected indigenes of Southern Kaduna.
He attributed the lingering crisis in the area to include, failure of government to implement recommendations of past probe panels reports, deliberate encroachment of gazetted grazing reserves and routes by local farmers and partisanship of security operatives among other causes.
“Nigerians need to be informed that the recent ongoing clashes between the Fulani herdsmen and tribal farmers in Godogodo Chiefdom of Jema’a Local Government, Kaduna state have received widespread publicity in both electronics and print media and, the episode was specifically tabled at the National Assembly by the elected Representatives from Southern Kaduna.
“Unfortunately, what were published and discussed was one-sided story resulting in the virtual condemnation of the Fulani herdsmen without given them a fair hearing.
“Of recent, and almost across the country, no one bothers to listen to the plight of the Fulani herdsmen. As the decision to condemn them have been overwhelming, in a manner of heads loose, tails-loose situation.
“Therefore, the clear message is, anytime the herdsmen and their animals were attacked, killed or maimed under whatever situation, they have no right to complain not to talk of defending themselves, they are always seen as the aggressors,” he highlighted.
According to reports, over 1,500 households were affected since the escalation of the attacks early this year while many are still hospitalised.
The renewed attacks no doubt have devastated so many communities and affected socio economic activities in southern part of Kaduna state.
As both parties continue to trade words, government appeal that this is not time for blame game or politicize the killing of innocent souls. Rather, It is time to forge greater unity to ensure the triumph of good over evil.
The Kaduna State government has set aside 100 million Naira for the rebuilding of churches and mosques that were destroyed during ethno-religious crisis between Fulani herdsmen and natives in the Southern part of the state
The state governor, ‘Mr Nasir El-Rufai, who announced the donation at the unveiling of public apology billboards by the 28 ethnic communities from Jemaa, Kachia, Kaura,Sanga and Zangon Kataf local government areas, said the gesture was part of efforts to restore lasting peace in the area.
Governor El-Rufai also announced that the government had drafted a bill to set up the Kaduna State Peace Commission that would enable inclusion of all citizens on plans for peaceful co-existence.
Although, killings in Southern part of Kaduna State can be traced back to the 80s, with the outbreak of the 1983 Kafanchan crisis, the number of deaths recorded in the area since the 2011 post-election violence has become very alarming and unabated.
Several communities in Sanga, Kaura, Jemaa and Kachia local government areas have been attacked by gunmen, with many people killed, villages razed and property worth millions of Naira destroyed.
Even though several measures have been put in place by the government and other stakeholders, the killings have continued.
It has been accusations and counter accusations between the natives and Fulani herdsmen whom they claimed were responsible for the deadly attacks.
Most often, the people accuse the government of not doing enough to curtail the attacks.
Early this year, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, an international Non-Governmental Organisation, waded into the crises by bringing all the warring parties together for dialogue.
In a move to restore peace to the area, a peacebuilding initiative was established with leaders of Southern Kaduna, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), and government officials led by the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai holding talks in Samaru-Kataf.
Part of the initiative was the unveiling of public apology billboards, as a sign of another reconciliation between the Fulanis and the natives.
Governor El-Rufai in his speech, emphasised that apology and forgiveness remained key to achieving lasting peace in the state. He appealed to the various ethnic groups to respect each other, abide by the law and firmly reject division and violence.
“In the last few decades, the people of Southern Kaduna have suffered untold hardships due to incessant conflicts between and among various ethnic and religious communities, claiming many lives and displacing people.
“Various governments in the past, at both Federal and State levels, responded by instituting Commissions of Inquiry, holding peace conferences and implementing actions to enhance security. These efforts have not been enough to restore peace.
“It is clear that we must all go an extra mile to constructively engage with citizens and promote peaceful coexistence among our people.
We must also draw from experiences across the world: If violence was a solution to real or perceived grievances, the sheer number of lives lost, property destroyed and whole communities uprooted from their homes would have solved the problem long ago. Yet, despite decades of distrust that regularly explodes into violence, the problems remain. It has been said again and again that every war ends on the conference table. If that is the case, why must we kill ourselves before we realise the futility of violence?
“It is in pursuit of a policy of constructive engagement that the Kaduna State Government is adopting conflict resolution mechanisms by engaging all parties to work for peace. It is our belief that what cannot be obtained through peaceful means cannot be obtained through violence. We believe that genuine and sustainable peace will come when we accept that mistakes have been made on all sides. Accepting that mistakes have been made prepares the mind for an apology, and apologising for our transgressions prepares the ground for genuine forgiveness and reconciliation.
“Today we are here to launch a Public Apology Billboard, as we grief over the lives sadly taken in the recent violence in the Godogodo chiefdom. Why, our children ask, are we able to discuss peace for decades but not find it on the ground?
“Now, 29 ethnic communities of Southern Kaduna present a public apology billboard to us. These people represented their communities at the dialogues that resulted in the Kafanchan Peace Declaration. They were sent to represent their communities by their leaders. Wide consultation within their communities was carried out in selecting them. Their input and contribution to peace in Southern Kaduna has been crucial. Allow me to opine that leaders are not born and neither are they made.,”he said.
The Governor further commended the initiators of the peace deal, describing them as worthy citizens of the state.
“These group of resilient leaders drawn from different religions and ideologies have now been joined by many more, ordinary citizens, who are now going around Southern Kaduna, seeking the buy in of traditional elders, community and religious leaders, women, youth and the civil society to never again indulge in violence. They want to set up billboards across the five LGAs of Sanga, Kachia, Kaura, Jema’a and Zangon Kataf, at roundabouts, Schools and places of worship. Their message is that no ethnic group, ideology, religion or political party holds all the answers.
“These leaders are asking for innovative solutions from men and women across religious, ethnic and ideological divides.
“They are asking everyone to ignore those who incite violence but who live faraway from the places that suffer when strife breaks out, when schools, farms and markets close, when lives and limbs are brutally taken and property subjected to the brutality of arsonists and looters,” he told the gathering.
The high point of the event was the release of pigeons from a cage symbolising peace and reconciliation.
As the leaders depart from here, it is hoped that they will take the message to their kinsmen back home on the need for them to forgive each other, bury their differences and stop the bloodletting that has left the communities backward.
Gunmen suspected to be herdsmen have killed a man and his wife at Ungwan Mada village in Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Eyewitnesses say the gunmen stormed the deceased residence in the early hours of Monday, August 14, broke the door and then shot the man and his wife.
The reason for the attack is still not known, but close relatives told Channels Television that the man, who was the youth leader of the community was suspected to have been killed along with his wife by armed herdsmen.
However, the Chairman of Miyett Allah Cattle Breeders Association in Sanga Local Government, Alhassan Abdulkarim, denied Fulani herdsmen involvement in the killing, saying that the attack could be a robbery attack.
The State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, who visited the family of the deceased on Tuesday, described the attack as barbaric and inhumane.
While appealing to the residents of Sanga to remain calm and law abiding, the Governor assured them that a lasting solution to the incessant attacks in the southern part of Kaduna State would be achieved soon.
Criticisms, lamentations and anger have continued to trail the distribution of the Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC) by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) which commenced in Kaduna on Monday.
Several residents, who faulted the entire process, complained of late arrival of materials and absence of adhoc officials in almost all the distribution centres.
Residents said they had a herculean task in tracing their names on the register displaced on the wall.
Many did not see their names even though the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Haliru Tambuwal, told journalists before the exercise commenced that about 3 million cards had been printed and were ready for collection.
While the exercise could not start smoothly on its first day due to non availability of INEC officials and materials, our correspondent who monitored the distribution reported that D 2 of the exercise also witnessed late availability of materials at most of the distribution centres in the state capital and other surrounding local government areas.
In most areas visited, like Jaba, Kachia, Kubau, Zaria, Sanga, Soba and Makarfi local government areas, residents who had collected their PVCs commended INEC for a job well done, while those who were yet to receive theirs in Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Igabi, and Chikun local government areas faulted the process.
There were also complaints of missing names on the register as well as non availability of the permanent voter’s cards of those whose names appeared on the voters register.
The residents who trooped out for the exercise were disappointed by the absence of INEC officials at the polling units and designated collation centres as at 12 O’clock in the afternoon.
At the Kabala polling unit, which is the unit of Nigeria’s Vice President, Namadi Sambo, there was no sign of any distribution of voters cards going on. Those who trooped out for the exercise waited in vain and later dispersed in anger.
It was the same situation at some polling units in Ungwar Television and Magajingari polling units in Chikun and Kaduna North local government areas.
Prospective voters expressed fears that they may not vote in the next year’s election if they failed to obtain their permanent voters cards.
However, INEC National Commissioner in charge of Kaduna, Niger and Federal Capital Territory, Chris Iyamoga attributed the delay in the distribution of materials in some places to some logistics problems which he said was being sorted out by the commission.
Since 2011, the agency had planned to replace the temporary cards with the new cards. Despite the money committed so far for the project, stakeholders have expressed disappointment that the commission has not lived up to expectation.
Their fear is that the commission may not be able to complete the exercise before the February 2015 elections.
And as the commission continues with the exercise, stakeholders in Kaduna State are urging its officials to avoid the mistakes and shortcomings that nearly marred the process in some states.
A former Commissioner for Finance in Kaduna state, Dr John Ayuba, has identified failure of intelligence gathering by the government, security agencies and the people as reasons for the frequent deadly attacks in the Southern Kaduna.
Dr Ayuba, a senatorial aspirant on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) told journalists in Kaduna on Tuesday that he will engage local vigilantes, traditional rulers, retired military officers from the area and the government to find lasting solution to the restiveness in the area.
He also explained that the problem of insecurity in Southern Kaduna is as a result of unemployment and people living apart from one another with mutual suspicion, as well as government’s failure to prosecute perpetrators of such heinous crimes.
He also stressed the need for all warring parties in the area to embrace peace and live together as one.
On the debate that government should provide dedicated grazing routes for Fulani cattle herdsmen as a way to stop the frequent clashes between them and local farmers, the former commissioner stated that allowing herdsmen to move from one area to another cannot stop the clashes, rather, for people to create their own grazing reserves to reduce the burden of cattle encroaching on people’s farm lands.
Communities in Sanga and Kaura local governments have been attacked by suspected Fulani gunmen who have killed over four hundred people since 2013, while property worth millions of naira have also been destroyed during the attacks.
Governor Mukhtar Yero of Kaduna State has reassured indigenes of southern part of the state of his administration’s determination to end the incessant attacks on communities in the zone.
The Governor also refuted allegations by some group of people from the zone that his administration is sleeping over the incessant attacks of southern Kaduna people
In a statement issued on Monday through his spokesman, Ahmed Maiyaki, Governor Yero faulted the allegation by some religious bodies over the weekend indicting him of not doing enough to tackle the upsurge of attacks in southern Kaduna,describing it as misleading and an outright mischief aimed at bringing his name to disrepute.
The Governor however absorbed himself and his government of not having any hand in the killing of innocent people in Kaura, Sanga and other parts of Southern Kaduna Senatorial Zone.
The Governor said that he has introduced several intervention measures aimed at bringing the insurgency to an end, and had also visited the affected communities severally to commiserate with the affected people.
Part of the statement reads, “For the avoidance of doubt, the Governor has consistently demonstrated through words and action, his commitment to evolving lasting peace and security in all parts of the state.
“It is on record that Governor Yero has personally visited Southern Kaduna on several occasions to commiserate with victims of such mindless attacks and to also meet with stakeholders from the area on the need to collaborate in fighting those bent on afflicting the people with mindless killings.
“During these visits, the Governor supported the victims by providing them with emergency relief, while also calling the attention of relevant security agencies to take adequate measures to forestall re occurrence.”
The aggrieved youths from southern Kaduna senatorial zone on Friday staged a peaceful protest in Kagoro town of Kaura Local Government Area of the state over the frequent killing of their kinsmen and destruction of property by unknown gunmen.
The protesting youths who go by the name, ” concerned southern Kaduna Youths” made a passionate appeal to both Kaduna State and the Federal Government to urgently curb the spate of further wasting of innocent souls and bring the culprits to book.
The Youths however, revealed that in the wake of the attack over 3000 people were killed across the communities in Kaura, Sanga, Jaba, and Kachia Local Government Areas of the state since 2012 till date.
The group further said that, over 150,000 people were rendered homeless and that the recent attack in Sanga, a week ago, recorded about 200 casualties and over 10,000 displayed.
The youths, who marched along some major roads in Kagoro town around 10:00am local time, carried placard with different inscriptions conveying their feelings and lamenting their ordeal.
“Since the bloody attacks in the area increased a year ago, the state government has not shown much concern or intensified effort to stop the killings,” they said. According to them, the frequent attacks have afflicted pains and severe hardships on the affected families and the entire Southern Kaduna, owing to lack of adequate security presence in the affected communities.
The angry youths therefore marched to the palace of the traditional ruler of Kagoro where they presented their protest letter for further presentation to the governor of the state and President Goodluck Jonathan.
The leader of the group,M. Vincent Badmos, who presented the letter, called for state of emergency in Kaduna State to stem the tide of invasion by armed Fulani herdsmen who always wreck havoc on the people and their belongings.
The youths likened the situation in southern Kaduna to what is happening in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States in the northeast, currently under the state of emergency declared because of the increasing attacks on villages, churches, mosques and schools.
They, however, advocated for the formation of a vigilante service to boost the ‘lean effort’ of the military in tackling the security challenges facing the Southern Kaduna people.
In a swift reaction, the State government denied the allegation of negligence and lack of concern in protecting lives and property of the people.
The spokesman of the Kaduna State Governor, Ahmed Maiyaki, told Channels Television that the government had released funds for the resettlement of displayed persons in the areas affected and was rehabilitating former grazing site to avoid the frequent clash between the Fulani herdsmen and the farmers.
The protesters, however, urged the State and the Federal Government to show serious commitment to the plight of the people and stop further killing in the area.