By Bomba Dauda, Kaduna
Coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) from Southern Kaduna, North-West Nigeria, on Tuesday raised eye brows over what they described as suppression of their people in the Nasir Ahmad El-rufai led government.
The group, categorically said the region which has approximately 3 million population, representing about 50 percent of the 6.066 million population of Kaduna State quoting the 2006 National Population Census, said apart from the office of the deputy governor allotted and currently occupied by a Southern Kaduna man, all influential offices at both the Federal and state levels are occupied by Non-indigenes while the rest of the positions are filled by people from the Northern part of the state.
The coalition said as people bonded by same socio-cultural and historical ties, dating back to the ancient Nok civilization as far back as 500BC, they will not fold their hands and watch injustices being meted on their people but will reject any policy that suggests that there are no indigenes or natives of Kaduna State.
The coalition spoke at a world press conference addressed by its coordinator, Barr James Kanyip, with representatives Vincent Bodam from Gurara Patriot Foundation –Gurara Forum, Southern Kaduna Youth and student forum (SKYFORM) led by Ganaka James Kogi, Southern Kaduna Youth Liberation Movement’s, Khalin Wujat, Southern Kaduna Progressive Union –(SOKAPU) Youth Wing’s Sabastine Luka, Southern Kaduna Comrades’ Bagudu Joseph, Southern Kaduna Women Entrepreneurs led by Larai Ishaku, Southern Kaduna Ladies Forum represented by Grace Ndi Manasseh, Southern Kaduna Farmers Forum’s Samuel Kambai, Southern Kaduna Indigenes People’s Forum (SKIPFO) led by Major Asake (Rtd), Southern Kaduna Winning All Forum (SOKWINA) represented by Hon. Alex Guruza, Southern Kaduna Youth for Progress and Development (SKYPAD) led by Comrade Danjuma Sarki and Southern Kaduna Professionals.
The groups specifically said that people of the state had decisively shown discontentment from the previous government but are now experiencing oppression and deception from the Mallam Nasir El Rufai- led government.
“We are pained that the governor has treated Southern Kaduna with
unabashed vendetta, which only reason would be because most of Southern Kaduna did not vote for him and because of our religion and ethnicity.”
“El Rufai made security a big issue in his campaign and swore that no indigene or resident of Kaduna State would be killed and the murderers not found and prosecuted. However, we can now see that he was only talking about his kinsmen in Birnin Gwari and surrounding areas, not Southern Kaduna were people are being killed on a daily basis.”
“As has been published in the press, at least 10, 000 have been killed, scores of villages ruined and hundreds of thousands made homeless, the governor set up a committee under a distinguished son of Southern Kaduna, Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (Rtd) to “look at the problem and proffer solutions”. Since then, several villages in Sanga and in Takad Chiefdom in Kaura Local Government Area have been under the occupation of the herdsmen who kill and chase out surviving villagers,” the group said.
While condemning the purported abolition of indigene-ship by the governor, the coalition said El-rufai has backed his stance with the appointment of non-indigenes into prominent and key political positions.
“We have today an alleged wanted man who has been brought into his government as a Special Adviser and is even regarded as the de facto Governor; Hadiza Bala Usman as Chief of Staff; Muyiwa Adekeye as Special Adviser on Media and Publicity; Peter Ayim as Special Assistant on Entrepreneurship; Hafiz Bayero as Special Assistant on Jobs Creation; Hajiya Rabi Abdulsalam as Commisioner for Women Affairs; Hajiya Hadiza Yahuza as Interim Chairman of Chikun Local Government Council, among others. This is a very strange and curious behaviour since Sections 25, 26 and 27 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria has clearly stated the citizenship status of every bona fide Nigerian.”
“Usually, political offices in Kaduna State have always been fairly shared or distributed amongst the three Senatorial Districts in line with the principles of Federal Character enshrined in section 14(4) of the Constitution. But, Kaduna State is actually North or South as the “Central” was introduced out of the exigency of the constitution, and not reflective of the South/North divide. When the Governor comes from the Northern part of Kaduna, the Deputy Governor and the Ministerial slot will be zoned to Kaduna South. Presently, apart from the Deputy Governor who is an indigene of Southern Kaduna, all the other key positions of governance have been taken by the North, including the Speaker of Kaduna State House of Assembly and the ministerial slot. Also, of the 13 Commissioners, only 4 are from
Southern Kaduna. This is very unfair and is in violation of the constitution, the group added.
Speaking on Education, the group decried Elrufai’s rejection and refusal to implement a proposal to upgrade the Kafanchan Campus of the Kaduna State University to Kaduna State University of Science and Technology which was duly approved by the previous government.
“Elrufai has, instead, lobbied for a Federal University of Science and Technology to be sited at Rigachikun in Igabi Local Government Area of the state” the group emphasised.
On grazing reserves being proposed, the coalition added that the experiences of Southern Kaduna with Laduga is enough evidence that any Cattle Grazing Reserve is a direct assault on its people and shall be regarded as a clever way of building up an emirate in the future.
“Those who kill our people cannot be rewarded with the lands for which reasons they are killing and occupying our communities,” the group said, adding that the best place to create grazing reserves will be in the Birnin Gwari liberated areas and in Northern LGAs of the State, where they share common customs.”
“Even the so-called encroached grazing reserves being proposed, created in the ‘60s, would have not been possible in those days had the Fulani been alleged to have been exterminating our people like they are doing today. We will rather advise the Governor to secure every inch of Southern Kaduna as contained in his manifesto, so we and the Fulani can live in peace and progress as we have been doing before 2011.”