El-Rufai on Kauru, Zangon Kataf crises: We lost 387 lives in 2 years to needless bloodshed


Not less than 387 lives were lost to communal clashes in Kauru and Zangon Kataf local government areas of Kaduna state in 2020 and 2021, Governor Nasir El-Rufai has said.

Governor El-Rufai stated this Wednesday at an emergency security meeting with traditional rulers, religious and community leaders from the areas.

He said the lives were lost to clashes among Atyap, Fulani, Chawai, Irigwe and Hausa ethnic communities in the two areas.

The meeting was held at the palace of the Agwatyap, A̠tak Njei, in Zangon Kataf.

The governor was represented by Commissioner for Home Affairs and Internal Security Samuel Aruwan and accompanied to the meeting by heads of security agencies.

“We are here on behalf of the governor following the renewed killings in Kauru and Zangon Kataf local government areas. It is a big setback but we will not relent.

“We are reiterating our appeal for recourse to the law and avoidance of generalisations. These killings and counter killings are unjustifiable,” he said.

Giving the figure, Aruwan said:  “For instance in 2020, 114 citizens were killed in Zangon Kataf and 28 in Kauru, and in 2021, 186 were killed in Zangon Kataf and 59 in Kauru, and if you put the figures, we lost 387 people in these two councils. In 2021, 100 citizens ‘incurred’ gunshot injuries in the two councils, 77 in Zangon Kataf and 23 in Kauru.

“This is aside houses and settlements burnt, farms destroyed, cattle killed and collapse of the rural economy affecting all the communities.

“We must rise to the occasion and put a stop to all these challenges, arising from the behaviour of a few elements on all sides. Let us reason together and avert this needless bloodshed.”

In his remarks, member House of Representatives for Zangon Kataf/Jaba Federal Constituency, Amos Magaji, supported the appeal for a recourse to the law and campaign for peace in the areas.

In their separate remarks, the Agwatyap, Dominic Yahaya, and Res-Tsam (Chief of Chawai), Yahaya Mohammed, pledged their support for the drive for sustainable peace and development in the areas.

Also speaking at the meeting, Chairman of Zangon Kataf local government area, Francis Sani, and his Kauru counterpart, Bashir Dawaki, also commended Governor El-Rufai “for dispatching a high-powered delegation to the areas following recent killings and counter killings.”

Also speaking, Commander Sector 7 of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) Tony Opurum expressed concern over the incessant killings and lawlessness in the areas.

Opurum, an army colonel, said the military would continue to work hard in containing threats to peace in the areas.

Similarly, Area Commander Kafanchan Police Area Command Danladi Ibrahim said: “The Police will continue to be neutral and prosecute anyone found guilty.”

The meeting ended with all sides agreeing to deepen the campaign for peace and continue the engagements in all communities.

At the end of the meeting, the participants appealed to the state government to resolve the land tussle lingering in Zangon Kataf since the 1992 crisis.

The Kaduna state government thanked the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) for accepting to organise peace and security engagements in the two local government areas beginning from February 2022.

ACF fumes

 Meanwhile, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has expressed worries over the incessant killings of innocent citizens in the North, noting that from civilisation, Nigeria was fast returning to barbarism.

ACF National Chairman Chief Audu Ogbeh made the remark Wednesday while addressing its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Kaduna.

On the recent killing of five-year-old Hanifa Abubakar in Kano, the setting ablaze of 20 passengers in Sokoto and reported cases of bullying and sodomy in schools across the country, he said Nigeria cannot afford to return to barbarism after civilisation.

 He said the APC would support a presidential candidate for the forthcoming 2023 presidential election, who has the capacity to move Nigeria out of the present security and economic challenges currently facing the nation.

He said the Forum would meet with their counterparts from other regions, like Afenifere, Ohanaeze, South South People Movement to discuss on peace building and consensus among the various regions.

“We are having experiences which are very scary, a five-year-old girl killed by a school proprietor in Kano, 20 people were locked in a vehicle in Sokoto and set ablaze. It is a terrible thing. We appealed to proprietors of schools and government to take measures to stop these heinous crimes in our schools. 

“Horrible things are happening even in government schools and military institutions. Many bad things are happening, bullying, sodomy all kinds of things are rumoured. Government must try very hard to bring order to these schools. We are very concerned about these developments, our country cannot return to barbarism after experiencing civilization. 

“There are economic challenges everywhere, people are finding it difficult to feed their family, kidnapping along highways, relentless criminalities. Farmers cannot go to their farms to harvest their crop, they have to pay taxes to be allowed to harvest their crops and farming is our main occupation in the North. 

“We are in a very delicate period; it is for these reasons that we are not having too many meetings because we don’t want anybody coming for these meetings to be affected on the highways. 

“The 2023 election is on the way, people would meet you and ask if ACF is endorsing anyone or if ACF is supporting anyone, make it clear to them that we are not political parties, that the parties have not told us their candidates yet. After the candidates are picked by their parties, they will come to talk to us, they will give us their agenda, then we will know who to support. 

“We are not a political party but we hope we will get a good person who will lead Nigeria out of the circumstances in which we found ourselves. We have not had it this bad and it should not continue for too long. 

“We commend the Governor of Kaduna state for the wonderful job he is doing trying to change a semi rural town to a semi urban state. We also commend the Governor of Kano state for closing down that school and revoking the licenses of other private schools.

“We are meeting with our counterparts from other regions, Afenifere, Ohanaeze, South South People Movement to discuss with them on building peace and consensus among the various regions. We have not held these meetings yet due to few obstacles. We need to appeal for peace and understanding to stop abusing and quarrelling with each other which does not make any sense and does not stand well for Nigeria. 

“Should there be chaos here, where do we go as refugees? Refugees don’t carry more than Ghana must go bag, you don’t carry your car, your Television set, your microwave. We don’t want chaos to take place,” he said.