On Monday 27th February 2012 Sanusih A.S. Maikudi (Dan Iyan Jema’a), authored a two pages petition to His Excellency, The Governor of Kaduna State, Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, titled “OPEN LETTER ON PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMITTEE ON APRIL 2011 POST-ELECTION ETHNO-RELIGIOUS CLEANSING IN SOUTHERN KADUNA”
Southern Kaduna Patriotic Front (Part I)
Re: Open Letter On Peace And Reconciliation Committee On April 2011 Post-Election Ethno-Religious Cleansing In Southern Kaduna
On Monday 27th February 2012 Sanusih A.S. Maikudi (Dan Iyan Jema’a), authored a two pages petition to His Excellency, The Governor of Kaduna State, Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, titled “OPEN LETTER ON PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMITTEE ON APRIL 2011 POST-ELECTION ETHNO-RELIGIOUS CLEANSING IN SOUTHERN KADUNA” in pages 56 and 57 of Daily Trust. Onset, the owner of the pen pretended to wear the face of a protester against a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate genocide (according to the first sentence of his second paragraph) but ended up jumbling a gamut of controversial issues beyond the frontier of the mission he superficially wanted to hoist in the minds of the general public.
We are sure that the Governor has competent people that will soon respond, but we took the pains of quickly delving in because of conspicuous appearance of the Phrase” Ethno-Religious Cleansing in Southern Kaduna”. Since our land is referred to as a human abattoir, with us probably as the butchers, we don’t have the luxury of sealing our lips.
1. OUR HISTORY AS A PEOPLE
The geography referred to as Southern Kaduna is a conglomeration of many tongues uniquely united with similar cultural norms, mores and values. We are clusters of communal settlements before the advent of colonialism in Nigeria. From narrative history down Tudor documentary accounts, we were never run-over by the 1804 horse riding Usman Dan-fodio jihadist. Our geography and strategic acumen rendered their moves fruitless because horses, hills and thick forests are not best allies. The colonial masters, who collapsed Dan-Fodio’s Caliphates with ease of knife on butter, then merged unconquered areas of Southern Kaduna and most parts of the Middle Belt into the caliphate system for their economic and administrative conveniences. Throughout their over 100 years of political domination, cultural subjugation and economic exploitation, we were made second-class citizens, and ‘hewers of woods and drawers of water’. When the white colonialists lefts on 1st October 1960, our struggled to unchain ourselves started. The chains of internal slavery were collapsed with the return of democracy in 1999. The offspring of the caliphate worked with Europeans but refused their ways, we watched from far but accepted the Whiteman’s ways- hence our acceptance of his religion, which has liberated us from bondage and ignorance.
2. THE 2011 APRIL POLLS
Sensing exit polls trickling from the State and other northern states that Nigerians were not favourable to their candidate, followers of Maikudi set in motion, an orgy of violence. It started in Zaria and other parts of zone 1 where our brothers and sisters were killed and their places of worship burnt. It then crept into Kaduna town and the springboard in Kaduna town was the enclaves of Rigasa, Tudun Wada, Kawo, Buruku and other areas. We in Southern Kaduna started scratching our heads in bewilderment as to the relationship between a church and a polling unit that should make somebody to burnt a church with the pastor in it. They diluted their strategic act of unleashing mayhem by first selecting PDP stalwarts in their areas. Traditional rulers like the Emir of Zazzau’s palace were attacked. The next phase, which was the real mission commenced in earnest. It was a massive, sudden, and decisive assault on Southern Kaduna people and burning their places of worship. Hausa-Fulani settlers in Southern Kaduna acted their part of the general script and commenced unprecedented attacks on our people for the simple fact that they refused to vote for a particular party. They were however, resisted with the same spirit our people resisted 1804 Jihadists and hence their casualties grew. It’s unimaginable for a people that took an election as an act of war will now turn around crying like a mischievous child who went on a misadventurous skiing, got his legs broken, and later heaping the blame on snow. You must not be wise to know that when you sow wind, you will reap whirled wind.
It is more because an outdated theocratic philosophy is deceiving some people to believe that they can’t be led by certain people and they thought they can, at all cost, push through that unworkable version of theocracy. And since we said no-because we are in a democratic era, which guaranteed equal rights, they resolved to terrorize Southern Kaduna people. Unfortunately for them, we shall never be defeated because no weapon formed against us has ever prospered. It will, in the long run, boomerang and consume the perpetrators because the goddess of nemesis has a long memory and unforgiving.
3. POLITICAL EVENTS SINCE 1999 IN KADUNA STATE.
Since the return of democracy from a long sabbatical in 1999, Southern Kaduna has been a potent player and a vote milling zone for PDP. We gave Sen. Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi winning votes in 1999 and 2003. In 2007 we repeated the same thing by giving Arc. Namadi Sambo 41.7% of the total votes that took him to Sir Kashim Ibrahim House. In all these tangos, we had people from Southern Kaduna who contested with Makarfi and Namadi but because we disdained a democracy rooted on ethno-religious contours, we gave them our mandate. Despite our huge investment, the quantum of values that came to the zones was not commensurate with our commitment. This was in addition to our support for Late Dabo Lere, Balarabe Musa and Sardauna’s NPC, and Shagari’s NPN (all Muslims)
When God called Yar’Adua to the great beyond and Goodluck Jonathan nominated Namadi as VP, Sir Yakowa automatically assumed position of Governor – then the wild dance started and that was the mentality they approached the 2011gubernatori al elections in the state.
4. ON ALLEGATION OF GENOCIDE
Maikudi and his band of sponsors branded the April post- elections violence as genocide. To make serious their case, the word GENOCIDE appeared a dozen times. At some point, it was clear they don’t know what genocide is and how to call attention of national and global bodies to investigate and prosecute culprits. Let us bail them out of their wanton ignorance by defining genocide as contained in the global protocol. The convention defined genocide “as any of a number of acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group: killing members of the group, causing body or mental harm to members of the group; deliberate inflicting on the group condition of life calculated to bring its physical destruction in a whole or in part imposing measures intended to prevent birth within the group, and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group” (Genocide Convention).
Consequent to this definition of genocide by UN, can April 2011 post election violence be termed genocide? No! This is because they started the burning and killings. What people within Southern Kaduna did was to defend themselves.
But To begin his falsehood hear what Maikudi said in his letter, “…that the April 2011 Post Election Violence which took the typology of ethno-religious cleansing (genocide) in some parts of Southern Kaduna had led to the death of over one thousand Muslims, the forceful displacement of over twenty five thousand families from 38 settlements and the complete destruction of their dwellings, places of worship, farmlands, livestock and other means of livelihoods. These facts were attested to by the Human Right Watch in their 2011 Annual Reports.”
Maikudi blatantly lied; he based his figures on Human Rights Watch, that over 1000 people were killed in Southern Kaduna. The report in question was released on 17th May 2011 and it said throughout the country only about 800 people were killed. The report was titled Nigeria: Post-Election Violence Killed 800, and this is the link to the report http:// www.hrw.org/en/ news/2011/05/16/ nigeria-post-ele ction-violence- killed-800
But the crisis In Zonkwa for example, started with a massive importation of arms by Maikudi and his followers, and the presence of imported strangers. It was also proved at the Commission of Enquiry that a truck conveying arms in Zonkwa by the Hausa’s was intercepted but refused to stop, until it was forced to by youths. Later, The Hausa-Fulani Muslims youths in Zonkwa started attacking and burning properties of Southern Kaduna people. The first building to be set ablaze by them was Fajumali Hotel in Zonkwa. Buildings of Christians followed, and to prove our case, we named the first 17 persons that were killed by Hausa-Fulani Muslims youths in Zonkwa alone, excluding Kafanchan, and other places before the violence escalated;
Gora Ishaya Yashim, Yunana Waje, David Kagah, Katuka Bakut, Ezekiel Dauda, Abiriyi Chechet, Cletus Bulus, Irimiya Gambo, Usman Gaya, Nchock Auta, Shamma Thomas, Adamu Bature, Mary Iliya, Samaila Iliya, Danjuma Jatau (Jnr), Paulina Simon, Kuyet Simon. In the same Zonkwa, about 50 houses were burnt, while in Kafanchan almost 100 of our own people were killed and over 200 houses burnt in a deliberate and pre-determined move that initially took us by surprise.
Maikudi said there was genocide in Gonin Gora, Matsirga, and Zonkwa against Hausa-Fulani Muslims, and he forgot how Christians were slaughtered in Bakin Ruwa, Maraban Jos, Birnin Yero, Tudun Wada, Kawo, Buruku, Udawa and other parts of Kaduna. Are these not human being too? Maikudi should ask why there was no violence in Sanga, Kachia and other towns within Southern Kaduna. It’s simply because the Hausa-Fulani Muslims there did not in any way attack our people.
Let the wolf crying get louder and let crocodile tears ooze down their mischievous cheeks; it will never distort facts of the matter. It was an ethno-religious crisis that they started and each side recorded casualties proportionate to their investment in the crisis, as it is said; those who live by the sword shall die by the sword. Also Like late Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu said, “Only a tree stands still, when it knows it’s to be cut.”
5. ON COMMISSION OF INQUIRY
To demonstrate that he is a leader to all, Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, instituted a Commission of Inquiry to look into 2011 post elections crisis in the state and render advices on how to avoid future occurrences. In line with long established tradition, memoirs from interested parties were invited and people called to defend their papers. The commission took off well and proceedings going accordingly. Suddenly, the same elements started advocating for inclusion of issues outside the terms of reference and challenging simple legal traditions. It culminated with their withdrawal from the process. That singular act demonstrated lack of interest for peace and wouldn’t stop the work of the commission. The same people that stated in their petition that they ran away from proceedings for lack of credibility are, in the same paper, asking for a white paper of the commission and shamelessly raised 13 questions regarding the issue. It can’t always be your way or high way in Kaduna State. Since the governor is already seen as an interested party, as mischievously presented by a band of Taliban inspired trouble makers, how will you see what he said in Sunday Trust of 16th October 2011 as a reality? By the way, is Government under any obligation to make copies of a white paper available to architect of a hate ideology?
6. THE MAN PATRICK IBRAHIM YAKOWA
Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa is a man of all seasons and has a long track record of honest and dedicated public service career. His Excellency has worked in several settings for so many years. In his entire public career, he has never been accused of ethnic solidarity or religious discrimination. His inaugural speech of May 24th of 2010 displayed the depth of his heart. He told a mammoth crowd that he was neither a Christian Governor nor Governor of a section but a leader to all the people of Kaduna State. He is standing by his oath and words, hook, line and sinkers. No amount of gutter talks can dent his image as a courageous, unassuming, dedicated and sensible leader. Sir Yakowa is keeping faith with the social contract entered with the people of Kaduna State in 2011 and keeping his eye on the ball of good governance, quality service delivery, equity and justice to all.
We in Southern Kaduna want Alh. Maikudi, who by the way, is an indigene of Katsina and now stays there, that he can’t continue making money off the 2011 post election violence for ever. We also want him to know and tell his sponsors that Kaduna State belongs to us all, irrespective of faith, ethnic background or political zone. We are under a democratic setting with a large pool of rights enough for all to draw from without frictions. We are joint heirs to this pool of rights, so there is no major or minor share holder. The rights come with corresponding responsibilitie s that those intending to draw from the pool must observe. This must be borne in mind and scrupulously adhered to if we must have peace and tranquility in the state. The trouble with us is shackling under the myths and outdated realities that are not in tandem with the modern world of freedom and liberty. Gone are the days where people will stand hands at akimbo and watch injustice and belittling behaviors from adherence of other faiths or ethnic group who think they are superior flows unchecked. We yearn for peaceful co-existence with our neighbours, but henceforth, we shall not turn the other cheek and accommodate belittlers of our beliefs and ways of life.
Signed: Bonet Shahulu
General Secretary, SOUHTERN KADUNA PATRIOTIC FRONT