BY COL. HASSAN STAN-LABO
The primary obligation of every sovereign State is to guarantee the safety and wellbeing of its citizens. This is the Social contract between the Government and the people.
While the welfare component of the Social contract is evidently becoming a mirage due to socio-economic realities on ground, the Security component is non-negotiable. It is the least a Government can provide for its people.
The killings in Southern Kaduna has gone on long enough to attract nation-wide public attention.
Hence, silence of any kind from all frontiers becomes a burden for men and women of good conscience.
The Southern Kaduna people are predominantly a socio-politically marginalised Christian minority ethnic group occupying 12 Local Government Areas (LGA) of Southern Kaduna.
They have a history of subjugation by the invading Hausa/Fulani oligarchy which despite all resistance has succeeded in ensuring some degree of acculturation.
This resistance has continued till date resulting partly in the level of animosity and confrontations between the indigenes and the Hausa/Fulani communities.
A Government weighed predominantly in favour of one of these warring parties would have problems concealing its partisanship on issues related with peace in the area. This is what we see playing out with the ongoing bloodshed.
It is therefore not surprising that the lines of actions taken by the State Government on related matters to the conflict remains suspect and complicit with clear indications of tacit consent.
For instance, Government’s approach to the ongoing killings is informed by the following:
- That the Southern Kaduna people are not accommodating to strangers.
- That the crisis is a continuation of the Herders/Farmers palava.
- That the current killings are products of ‘reprisal’ attacks or ‘gang’ groups on a vengence mission. These assumptions are misplaced.
ATTACKERS’ MISSION & STRATEGY.
The soul mission of the invading Fulanis is to:
Depopulate the communities of their indigenous population.
Alter the demography of the communities.
Take over their ancestral lands under the guise of farmers/herders clash.
This they intend to achieve through night attacks and killings to scare the people away from their ancestral lands.
Emphasis is on the elimination of women and children who constitute the major procreative component and future generations of the indigenous people.
STATE GOVERNMENT’S NON-NEUTRALITY
The State government’s approach and lines of action reveals an underlying intent as is to be seen in the ensuing plethora of evidence available.
The Southern Kaduna people cohabit with several other tribes from all parts of Nigeria, in an amicable and mutually benefiting settler/indigene relationship. So why is its problem only with the Fulanis?
The invading Fulanis do not come with cows in search of grazing lands. They come armed with AK47, Cutlasses, Knives, Bows and Arrows.
They do not meet their victims on the farms but on their beds at night in their houses.
The State government often imposes curfew when ever there is an attack, however, despite these curfews, the invaders still carry out their nefarious attacks with impunity to the detriment of the unsuspecting law abiding citizens.
ARRESTS & PROSECUTION
The invading Fulanis who attack during curfew lockdown are never arrested.
The indigene Youth (JTF) Vigilante groups who take it upon themselves to protect their communities are arrested, detained and prosecuted.
On rear occasions when ever Fulani invaders are arrested, they are merely paraded before journalists and TV cameras after which they get released.
The Southern Kaduna Youth Vigilante groups are every day languishing in police detention cells preparatory to prosecution.
ACQUISITION/RECOVERY OF SEIZED TERRITORIES
Often than not, after these unsuspected attacks, territories are taken over by the invading Fulanis while the helpless indigenous people are assisted to IDP camps by officials of the State government.
On normalization of the situation, the State government never makes any attempt at recovering or reclaiming these territories back to the rightful ancestral owners.
This complicit act in itself becomes a source of the cycle of attacks, which the State Government and mischievous commentators are quick to describe as ‘reprisal’ or ‘gang’ attacks.
How long will these indigenous people remain in IDP camps in the guise of protective custody while their lands remain under siege?
Why are Chiefdoms being tacitly carved out of these territories with the invading Fulanis being turbarned as chiefs?
ALLEDGED KAJURU ‘KILLINGS’
The State Government in an attempt to justify claims of reprisal attacks, alleged time past the killing of 63 Fulanis at Kajuru by some Youths.
Unfortunately the bodies of these persons could not be produced
The burial sites could not be pointed out or traced
The State Commissioner of Police said he was not aware and that there’s been no reports from the community.
The State Director, DSS was also not aware.
Both Security Agencies distanced themselves from this seeming frivolous claim by the State Government.
UNWARRANTED DETENTION OF ADARA CHIEFS
Sometimes back, the entire Adara Chiefs were rounded up on trumped-up charges by the State Government concerning a kidnap incident. After due investigation and public outcry over their innocence, they were found not guilty and subsequently released. This incident was not only heart breaking to the Adara people but demoralising.
Reading between the lines of actions by the State Government, one is confronted by the lack of neutrality on the part of the State Government, as most of its actions remain suspect and complicit.
PAST GOVERNMENT INTERVENTIONS
Given the historical antecedents of the Southern Kaduna Security situation, several interventions including 2 major Commissions of Inquiry were instituted aimed at forging lasting peace.
- The 1992 Justice Rohila Cudjoe Commission of Inquiry into Zango Kataf Crisis.
- The 1995 AVM Usman Muazu Reconciliation Committee on Zango Kataf.
These Commission of Inquiries came up with far reaching recommendations including death sentence and long term imprisonment for those found guilty. Other recommendations included relocation of villages, communities and even markets that refuse to cohabit.
GOVERNMENT WHITE PAPER
A Government White paper endorsing these sanctions and decisions has since been released vide Government House press release Ref No. GH/KD/S/315 dated 4 July 2000.
It has however become clear, as it is customary with past and present administrations in the State, that they are never enthusiastic at ensuring fast and immediate implementation of the recommendations of these reports.
It was therefore not surprising to hear The SA (Media) to The Governor, Kaduna State saying “no white paper was issued” for these Inquiry reports, and to that effect, a White Paper Committee was being set up again by the State Government to revisit the reports.
While this assertion could apply to The Justice Cudjoe Commission, The Muazu Reconciliation report had a white paper which took into total cognisance the outcome of the Justice Cudjoe report.
The Governor, who was the issuing authority to that white paper/press release is still alive.
The white paper is available in the Kaduna State Government House and the Governor knows it.
It behoves on HE, The Governor (Standing on his Oath of Office) to make it public without alteration.
The implementation of the White Paper by both the Federal and State Governments has since commenced though at a snail’s space,
ROLE OF SECURITY AGENCIES
The Security agencies are highly over stretched. They suffer severe manpower issues and the lack of appropriate Multi Mordial Mobility Assets to go on the chase in far flung forests when it becomes necessary.
Deployment in Built up Areas can also not be far reaching as every Compound cannot be manned by Policemen neither can every citizen in Southern Kaduna be assigned a police man.
COMMITMENT AND SINCERITY
To worsen matters, if the political authorities on ground are not sincere and exhibit enough commitment to the peace process, Security agencies may not be able to achieve much.