Over the decades, there existed a good inter-communal relationship between Southern Kaduna farmers and Fulani herdsmen. This historical amity was such that the Southern Kaduna people would offer the Fulani herdsmen a piece of land for grazing of their cattle which shows the extent of their hospitality. This form of hospitality earned the Kaduna State a national acclaimed ‘The State of Hospitality’, which cemented their relationship and contributed to inter-communal harmony.
Today, this harmonious relationship is not only shattered but also stolen away, and the major instigators fueling the crisis are ignored while the spotlights are place on the innocent people in the community. Especially in the Goska village that is few kilometers away from Kafanchan, Jema’a local government. The attack is one too many in recent times. It is part of a tit-for-tat ethno-religious battle that has been waged for decades, which has consumed lives and properties.
Assessing some of the comments and reactions that I have read so far in Nigerian national dailies, the massacres is rooted in the violence that followed the Northern States in which the herdsmen were massively affected. Reports have it that the Fulani herdsmen passing through Kaduna were attacked with some of them killed and their cattle stolen. While the suspected herdsmen’s attacks are thought to be reprisal attacks from 2011, including reprisal attack against the religion’s Hausa, Muslim and Christian communities as well as the killing of travelers on highways.
Thus, the logical question that preoccupied people’s mind is what are the root causes of this historical breakdown relationship between Southern Kaduna farmers and Fulani herdsmen? It is also logical to say that the crisis predates Malam Nasir el-Rufa’i’s administration, so it is not wise to start apportioning blames or accusing who is behind it as some people are insinuating.
As such, Malam El-Rufa’i once said that when he became governor, he traced some aggrieved Fulani herdsmen to Niger Republic and Cameroon, and paid them compensation as a way of stopping them from reprisal attacks. Thus, many have accused the governor of appeasing group of foreign killers of his own people. The problem is that the attacks and counter attacks continued despite those efforts at appeasement, even though no side in the sectional carnage is free of blame in this saga.
Apparently, apportioning blames from one individual to another or one group to another would not help solve this problem, unless, the appropriate authorities and the eminent people of Southern Kaduna alongside Fulani herdsmen shift ground and embrace peace. It is evidence that what is happening in Plateau State today offers a poignant lesson. Between 2000 down to 2015 alone, the State witnessed a terrible orgy of ethno-religious violence that sent thousands of people to their early graves. But today, the warring parties have found that they must live with one another in peace and sheathed their swords and allow peace to reign.
Department of Mass Communication,
Bayero University, Kano