Southern Kaduna, John Danfulani and the Current Political Dispensation
(Columbus, Ohio November 2, 2016)
The people of southern Kaduna in the diaspora (SOKAD) in the United States met on October 30, 2016, and the plight of our brethren and communities back home featured prominently in our deliberations. This is the worst possible condition that our people have experienced since the modern Nigerian State was formed. The repeated massacre of innocent people, including children, women, and the physically infirm by Fulani herdsmen and their mercenaries and the political persecution of Dr. John Danfulani by the Kaduna state government are among the recent developments that are very troubling and disturbing to us.
The community of Godogodo in Sanga LGA has been turned into a genocide field where natives and indigenes of the area have been under relentless brutal and barbaric attacks for no other reasons other than being who they are. Several weeks ago, Governor El-Rufai visited the area and promised the affected communities and all of southern Kaduna that he would work hard to end these atrocities.
The State Security Council met in Kafanchan that week as a demonstration of the commitment of the State to bring lasting peace to the area. Sadly, since then, the frequency, severity and intensity of the attacks have all increased with no response from the state government. On October 10, 2015, over 40 innocent people were murdered in and around Godogodo and many others were injured (http://odili.net/news/source/2016/oct/16/335.html ). To date, no one has been arrested or charged with these heinous crimes. We believe that an ill-informed plan to expand grazing reserves in this part of the state has fueled the barbarism of these terrorists, who have often claimed that the locals were residing in land earmarked for grazing reserves. The unwillingness of the state to protect the lives and properties of citizens of southern Kaduna in their homeland suggest that we are actually witnessing the intended consequences of the expansion of grazing reserves in the area.
The treatment of Dr.John Danfulani by the state, including his unwarranted and illegal detention by agents of the state, underscores what the current regime thinks about our people. This gentleman and scholar has had his basic and fundamental civil and human rights violated and denied with impunity. This is a flagrant demonstration and abuse of power. The man lamented the plight of Northern Nigeria and expressed strong views about the contributing factors that explain our condition in the larger North for which he was arrested and detained in January this year; in August, the government lost the case. However, on October 27, he was rearrested for the same offence, and in a show of arrogance of power, the Judge refused him bail because she had to attend a seminar! The right to speak freely is enshrined in our constitution and has been enjoyed by many, including those who took offense to what he wrote. There was nothing in his writings remotely close to inciting people to disrupt public peace and order, as was alleged by the state. There has been no loss of life and no injuries suffered by anyone that can be attributed to the write up. Yet, he has been repeatedly harassed, arrested and detained while the Fulani herdsmen and their mercenaries who have killed many innocent and law abiding citizens in Southern Kaduna are walking around freely.
The democratic credential of the leadership of Kaduna has been severely tarnished by the vindictiveness being projected and expressed towards the southern Kaduna people and some of its elites. The elections are over and it is past time to strive to be the governor of the entire state without reprisal based on the voting results. The leaders of the liberal state, as our beloved state is known, should live to those ideals of liberalism that work toward achieving justice and liberty for all. At the moment, the people of southern Kaduna are not feeling the goodwill of the state government.
This week, former President Goodluck Jonathan, a giant in African political transitions and inclusive governance, proudly observed that, throughout his time as president, not a single Nigerian was incarcerated for his or her political views(Ref: http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/214040-no-nepotism-crackdown-free-speech-administration-goodluck-jonathan.html ).That is worthy of emulation and should instruct the current state and National leaderships, which benefitted immensely from that political philosophy when they were in the opposition. We call for the state to use all available resources to protect our communities from terrorist attacks and to free Dr Danfulani without further delay. Justice delayed is justice denied.
Aminu Likita, MD, MPH (President)
Freeman Kamuru, PhD, MD (Secretary General)
Ibrahim A. Maikori M.Ed (Financial Secretary)