Dss Should Be Very Professional And Not Work As An Ethnic Militia- Says Huriwa:
A Statement By The Pro-Democracy And Leading Civil Rights Advocacy Group; Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) Condemning The Call For The Execution Of Zamani Lekwot And Demanding That The Directorate Of State Services Stop Harassing Persons Seen As Political Opponents Of The Political Party Controlling The Presidency And Focus On Fishing Out The Armed Fulani Herdsmen Doing The Killing In Southern Kaduna By Investigating The Governor Of Kaduna State; Mallam Nasir El’Rufai Who Admitted Paying Them Off To Stop The Genocide In Southern Kaduna.
Kaduna State is one of the volatile states in Northern Nigeria. It has experienced complex conflicts occasionally violent, and mostly with ethnic and religious character. While the north of Nigeria is predominantly Muslim, Kaduna has a significant population of Christians, from around thirty ethnic groups based mostly in the south of the state, sometimes referred to as the South Kaduna minority tribes.
According to some estimates, close to half the population of Kaduna may be made up of Christians. The majority of the population in the northern part of Kaduna State are Muslims from the Hausa/Fulani ethnic groups.
Kaduna differs from other northern states in that although some areas are dominated by particular ethnic groups, these different groups have also lived side by side in the same areas for many years, especially in Kaduna town.
Kaduna has a different mix of populations from other northern states as its capital is one of the more developed cities in the north, which has become host to people from many ethnic groups from different parts of the country, including Christians from other states.
Over several decades, Kaduna, like other states of Nigeria, has experienced outbreaks of violence and fighting between different groups. Most often, this has pitched Muslims against Christians, although the fundamental causes can be traced to political and economic rivalries, rather than religious differences.
Three of the most serious outbreaks of violence in Kaduna State occurred in 1987, 1992 and 2000. In 1987, a dispute erupted between students from different ethnic and religious groups in Kafanchan, and the violence spread to several other towns and areas.
In February and May 1992, in what became known as the Zangon-Kataf crisis, there were clashes in Zangon-Kataf between the Hausa and the Kataf (a predominantly Christian ethnic group), initially sparked off by a dispute over the relocation of a market. Killings of Hausa by Kataf were followed by reprisal killings of Christians by Muslims, including in several other parts of Kaduna State.
In recent years, however, religion has come to the fore as one of the aspects with which people have identified most readily and which has enabled leaders to stir up violence whenever it suited their purposes. Since 2000, in particular, the religious dimension to the tensions in Kaduna emerged more explicitly, as conflicts began to center around the extension of Sharia to criminal law, one of the most divisive issues in Nigeria in recent times.
In more recent times, the violence has snowballed into ethno-religion cleansing carried by armed Fulani Herdsmen against the Christian dominated Southern Kaduna
On the 14th of August, the media became frenzy with a statement by the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria saying that the only way for peace to reign in Southern Kaduna is for government to execute Major General Zamani Lekwot (retd.) and other leaders sentenced to death over the Zango-Kataf riot in 1992. We think that this call is not just idiotic and irrational but barbaric and senseless. We note also the treasonable and hate speech made by one Ardo Bulama who reportedly swore that Christians in Nigeria will be attacked by armed mercenaries and unfortunately the Department of States Services which is too quick to invite Dr Obadiah Mailafiya and Ex-Speaker Ghali Naaba for questioning for making certain comments considered to be against President Muhammadu Buhari has so far turned deaf ears to these dangerous hate speech by the Ardo Bulama who purportedly made these hateful comments against Christians in a recorded audio that is reportedly in circulation. This does not show professionalism on the part of the DSS and the Nigerian Police Force.
It would be recalled that Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna witnessed a terrible, gory and gruesome hostility between the Muslims and Christians in the area. Two major ethno-religious conflicts took place in Zangon Kataf in 1992.
The first ethno religious conflict which took place in February 1992 clearly exposed deep ethnic and religious resentments that had boiled over many years only to find expression in a quarrel over location of the town‘s market. The second conflict recurred three months later, even while the first conflict was being investigated, over farm produce.
The initial official response to the second Zangon Kataf conflict of 1992 was the setting up of a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the conflict by the government of Kaduna State as was the case after the first conflict.
In the background of massive public outcry over the carnage, hundreds of people were arrested most of whom were Katafs. Eventually the Federal Government set up a Civil Disturbances Special Tribunal before whom 6 prominent Katafs, including Major-General Zamani Lekwot; a former military governor and ambassador were charged with complicity in the sectarian disturbances.
Consequently, in September 1992, a total of 14 people were sentenced to death by two different Civil Disturbances Tribunals, including Major-General Lekwot. However, the Federal Government, however, converted their death sentences to five years imprisonment each.
Again, in the first week of December 2016, Nigerian media space was adorned with headlines of the news that Governor Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai of Kaduna State admitted to identifying, linking and compensating killers of Southern Kaduna people in the neighboring countries of Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Mali and Senegal.
Vanguard Newspaper had in its 3rd of December 2016 report, quoted Mr. El-Rufai; the Executive Governor of Kaduna State thus: “We took certain steps. We got a group of people that were going round trying to trace some of these people in Cameroon, Niger Republic, and so on to tell them that there is a new governor who is Fulani like them and has no problem paying compensation for lives lost and he is begging them to stop killing.”
According to the report, Gov. El-Rufai stretched further by asserting: "In most of the communities, once that appeal was made to them, they said they have forgiven. There were one or two that asked for monetary compensation. They said they have forgiven the death of human beings, but want compensation for cattle. We said no problem, and we paid some…”
*Our Concerns and Demands:*
Our team is much concerned that what is going on in southern part of the state is an ethno-religious cleansing by vicious herdsmen in a way that was sickening and repulsive to civilisation.
The utterances of El-Rufai in which the governor admitted paying off some of the killer herdsmen responsible for the violence against natives of Southern Kaduna, and that he was compiling list of people calling for self-defence in Southern Kaduna is very shocking
Was it not crimes against humanity that the herdsmen committed? Were they to be made to face the law or be paid to appease them? If he was able to trace them to their countries then, he should be able to know the very people that have been carrying out the killings in Southern Kaduna and start making arrangements on how they will face the law. What has El’Rufai even done for the victims since he compensated the killers with money?
The continuous assault of the Southern Kaduna people has become highly suspicious and alarming. There is no doubt that the victims of these incessant assaults are indigenes of Kaduna State who are mostly Christians. While the senseless murder is not desirable in any part of the state or Nigeria, but why is it the predominant Christian Southern Kaduna that these Fulani murderous gangs will attack all the time? Don't we have Northern Kaduna?
Do these Fulani Murderers have the right to be doing this scot-free? While the present bloodbaths in the southern part of Kaduna State has been shown to be acts of criminality that should have attracted sanctions, the uninspiring disposition of the government in stopping further massacre of Christians and decimation of their communities by terrorist herdsmen speaks volumes on how government values human lives and genuine intervention.
The Federal Government, especially the Department of State Services (DSS) should look no further for the solution to the unrelenting killings in Southern Kaduna. The Kaduna State Governor; Mallam Nasir El-Rufai should be compelled to produce the killers of the innocent Nigerians in Southern Kaduna since he has been able to identify them and their locations. Failure to compel El-Rufai to produce the herdsmen who purportedly collected money from the Kaduna State Government is an indication of the insincerity of the Buhari administration.
It is a show of double standard on the part of the DSS to be dishing out unsubstantiated propaganda against certain persons seen as political opponents of the political party controlling the Presidency at the moment while allowing El-Rufai to move about scot free. The fact that El’Rufai has immunity does not preclude him from investigation.
It is regrettable that those behind the heinous crime are known to the Governor. Yet no one has been charged for murder. Instead people like Dr. Obadiah Mailafiya who speak out are being persecuted. The Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari must not give the impression of partiality or suggest that Christians are the target of this administration.
Which is worse? Speaking out or offering money to murderers? Did El-Rufai offer money to ghosts? For you to pay someone money, the person must have a known and fixed address. As chief security officer of the state, was it not his business to arrest and put these hoodlums on trial? How come no one has been caught or being prosecuted for the massacre in Southern Kaduna? Obviously, there’s more to it than meets the eye.
Hence, we are by this statement demanding the DSS ends its harassment of Obadiah Mailafiya and task Mallam Naisu El’Rufai to produce the killers he was reported to have paid so they are subjected to prosecution. The DSS works for the Nigerian State and should be actively involved in breaking the backbones of mass murderers carrying out genocides in Southern Kaduna State and much of North West and assist the military stop the invasion of international Islamic terrorists to the South through the North as disclosed by the US government.
In the same vein we condemn and describe as idiocy and primitive the call for the execution of Zamani Lekwot by some religious fundamentalists in the North. The most pragmatic way to finding solution and stop these mass killers before they strike again is to fish out the armed Fulani Herdsmen doing the killings by investigating the Governor of Kaduna State; Mallam Nasir El”Rufai who allefedly and reportedly admitted paying off some identified killers.
*COMRADE EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO:
Miss. Zainab Yusuf:
Director, National Media Affairs.
HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).
16th August 2020.