By: JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) Youth Wing and Network for the Rights of Indigenous and Marginalised People have protested what they described as the creation of four Emirates in their area.
The protest was held on Thursday 14th June, 2018 in Kaduna.
“We totally and completely reject and denounce the title of ‘Emir’ and the foisting of emirate system on Kauru, Kagarko, Kajuru and Lere Chiefdoms.
“We want the status quo to stand. Both Muslims, Christians and other faiths have no issues with the ‘Chiefs’ and ‘Chiefdoms.’
“We are calling on the all well-meaning individuals, corporate groups, other state governments, the Federal Government and the International community to call el-Rufai to order. He should not be allowed to sow seeds of conflicts that will outlive his unfortunate government.
“We call on affected LGAs to remain peaceful and law abiding, but should never recognise the new ‘Emirs’ and to also disregard the new ‘Emirates.’
“Unless a referendum on these is reached, the new creations of el-Rufai is not binding on our people, ” the group led by Leader, SOKAPU Youth Wing, Nasiru Jagaba and President, Network for the Rights of Indigenous and Marginalised People, Ayuba Azaman said.
The group said they embarked on the protest to inform the world about the unending concoction of sinister policies, actions and utterances of Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State towards the people of Southern Kaduna and by extension, the entire Kaduna state,
“Members of the Press, since el-Rufai came to power, if he is not busy tracing and paying foreign Fulani killer herdsmen who came to Southern Kaduna and killed our people and destroyed our communities, he is very busy insulting our religious leaders, arresting and detaining our traditional rulers, opinion leaders and youths.
“Anytime the governor is not downgrading the population of Southern Kaduna from 51% of the population of the state (according to the 2006 Census) to 30%, he is bent on seeing that the highest mass of sacked workers under his grim regime are from Southern Kaduna.
“Governor Nasir el-Rufai has not only tried to destroy tertiary education in Southern Kaduna by shutting down every tertiary institution there for nearly a year for no just cause, he also imposed a punishing 24-hour curfew for weeks over some parts of Southern Kaduna with the purpose of destroying us economically, all in 2016. Yet, under that period, the affected areas had come under the siege of his Fulani kinsmen.
“His diabolical hate for Southern Kaduna is not only reflected in the complete absence of any serious project in the area, but demonstrated in his latest dangerous elevation of four chiefs to Emirs, thus creating of new Emirates over these chiefdoms in Southern Kaduna whose communities are essentially non-Muslims, ”
The protesters recalled that last month, in his twitter handle, el-Rufai twitted that the Chiefs of Kauru, Kagarko, Kajuru and Lere all in Southern Kaduna had requested for a change of their royal titles (nomenclature) to ‘Emirs’ in which he promptly granted.
“His revelation created anger and tension not only in the affected areas, but the entire Southern Kaduna. Somehow, people showed restrain in the typical peaceful and tolerant nature of our people.
“Instead of heeding to wise counsel to withdraw the idea, a letter dated 30th May, 2018 signed by Adamu M. Mansur, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government Affairs confirmed that the Chief of Kauru, Kauru LGA had indeed been upgraded from a Chief to a Muslim religious ruler and had become Emir. This was without any sort of consultation with our people.
“To spite us further, the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Prof. Kabiru Mato, issued a statement affirming the belligerent position of the governor by insisting that the Chiefs of Kagarko, Kajuru, Kauru and Lere chiefdoms requested for a change of numenclature and was approved. In other words, these Chiefdoms have automatically become Emirates.
“Yet, Apart from the unending curse of armed herdsmen plundering and killing our people in Southern Kaduna; the unprecedented neglect of the place under the present government, the issue of change of status of the four chiefdoms have never been a source of concern at any time to our people, ” they alleged.
They said that anyone who has the most rudimentary information of Southern Kaduna will first and foremost affirm that the four LGAs so affected are overwhelming Christians with sprinkling of Muslims settlements in some semi-urban areas.
“Even at that, these settlements such as Kauru, Kagarko, Kajuru and Lere stand like tiny islands in a sea of Christian communities. In the hundreds of years of Islamic history in Northern Nigeria, no LGA of Southern Kaduna has ever been traditionally Islamic. Not even by 10%, ” they submitted.
They pointed out that the development, means that every Christian and all non-Muslims in the affected new Emirates will come under the customs and tradition of Islamic rule.
” It has now become impossible for anyone among the majority of the population of the new emirates to aspire to the stool, unless they convert to Islam.
“The governor is desperately doing everything within and outside his powers to denigrate our history, culture and tradition by imposing Islamic enclaves in these areas.
“This is to create a deceptive narration that Muslims are indeed the owners of these lands.
“By this development, the governor is assisting the new Emirs to go into land grabbing and motivate unplanned immigration of Muslims to settle on the lands to strengthened the new Emirates, ” they alleged.
Speaking further, the group submitted that the governor us bent on pleasing a particular group with the creation of Emirates.
” El-Rufai’s who has since crumbled politically, socially and has economically destroyed Kaduna state, is now gambling with religion to appease to Muslims, most who have long concluded on him as a total failure.
“The governor, who has not initiated and completed one single viable project in the past three years, is trying to sow conflict between Muslims and Christians as a means of distracting attention from his humongous failures.
“El-Rufai does not only nurse a pathological hatred for Southern Kaduna, his present action shows that he cares even little if Kaduna state burns, as long as he hoists his hate policies over us,” the group further alleged.