All is not well with Jigawa state presently as criminalities and lately farmers/herders clashes appear to be truncating its prevailing peace hitherto enjoyed there. BAYO MUHAMMAD ALABIRA reports.Jigawa state which was one of the most peaceful states in the federation, is now drifting towards lawlessness. Several lives and properties with unquantifiable values were lost to criminalities due to frequent clashes between farmers and hersdmen, homicide and patricide, among others.The relative peace the state had enjoyed before now has been interrupted recently by kidnappers who strike from one angle to another abducting their victims for ransom.
Records of criminalities
For example, just recently, Hajiya Zahra’u Haruna Dangyatum, a wife of the state assembly member was abducted from her residence in Miga LGA.Also, a corpse of an unidentified person said to have withdrawn money from a bank in Dutse, the state capital, was found along Dutse/Konarhuguma Expressway. A similar incident occurred at Daneji village in Ringim Local Government Area where a lady was found slaughtered. In mid of 2019, a middle-aged man was also found to had been slaughtered in Gunka, Jahun LGA. Kirikassamma and Birniwa Local Government Areas of the state is another place where several lives and property were lost as a result. A young man was said to have axed his own father to death in Birniwa LGA while another young man was reported to have also hit the son of his neighbour with a stick to death in Dutse LGA all in 2019.
The farmers/Fulani crisis
The most devastating of all these that occurred recently was at Fulata village in Taura Local Government Area between the resident Fulani and the people of Fulata village. Although no life was lost during the show down, but the act left hundreds of the resident Fulani homeless and without food while all their belongings were set ablaze.Blueprint visited the village and discovered that the dispersed settlement of the resident Fulani which was just about 200 metres away from the village was completely razed to ashes. Their huts, graneries and any other useful item were not spared, but were set ablaze.What remains to indicate that there was once a settlement were ashes from the burnt roofs and the standing walls of the houses that could not be destroyed by the attackers. Again, visibly seen at the ruined settlement were dogs, fouls and goose left behind by their owners who managed to escape with their family members, including women and children. Despite the fact that the affected Fulani are presently taking refuge in various places as far as Taura, Gumel and Hadejia, some are still hanging around the destroyed settlement to keep a vigil in order to see who comes in and goes out. Presently, if there is anything giving Fulata community sleepless night, it is the fear of reprisal attack from the fleeing Fulani.
A Fulani leader gives account
Speaking to Blueprint, the Fulani community leader in Taura Local Government Area, Alhaji Sabo Ali said, “On Friday, January 10 2020 when I heard about the disturbances, I returned home and met hundreds of Fulani women and children from Fulata in my house, telling me that they were attacked by the people of Fulata village. Then I quickly rushed and informed the district head of Taura about the sad incident who ordered me to accommodate them.”When the council chairman, district head and Divisional Police Officer (DPO) came, they asked me to appeal to my people not to allow the crises escalate. Since then, I was battling with their responsibility in the form of feeding. Miyetti Allah brought some items including blankets, mats, five bags of maize, millet and beans which I handed over to their leaders,” he said.
Fulani victims recount ordeals
On his ordeal, one of the victims, Alhaji Yakubu Usman, who sustained several wounds on his head and hands said, “On the fateful day, Friday around 2:30 pm after Friday prayer in Fulata, we heard the people and saw them talking to each other, calling one another to carry weapons to fight. They told us face to face that they were going to fight the migrant Fulani and we the resident Fulani.”We saw them carrying all sorts of weapons including bows and arrows, marchects among others coming toward our settlement. And we quickly withdrew from the town and went back to our houses, each protecting his house. But we were overwealmed by their number and so they descended on us, started marcheting us, beating us but they did no tauch our women,” he narrated.
Another victim, Alhaji Hassan Usman said the situation he found himself during and after the orgy of violence cannot be explained. “In fact, we were all taken unaware because we were not anticipating any misunderstanding between us and our neighbours but when it happened, we knew that there were grudges nurtured by some of them against us for long. But we thank God, the state government has brought relief materials to us in form of food items, blankets and utensils, among others.Another victim, Hassan Sabo whose five year-old daughter went missing for one week after the violence before she was found in far away Kiri town said, “I lost my entire home, two granaries and my brother lost his home, three granaries to the attackers who set everything ablaze. The hatred was just jealousy of our wealth because we have enough farm land, cows, goats and sheep, apart from Fouls and other domestic birds. We have not done anything to them and we are not strangers.He said, “Presently, I lost nine cows, 12 goats and sheeps. We cannot talk about fouls stolen away by our assailants. We want the authority saddled with the responsibility to come to our aid because we want to return to our places, but we do not have houses or shelter and other items that can warrant our return.”
Community leader gives insight
However, the community leader at Fulata village, Alhaji Lawan Umar, has this to say. “Cows of migrant Fulani encroached into the farm land of a member of our community and our people grabbed one of the animals and took it to the town. We have had long standing crisis with our neighbours, the Fulanis, that had not broken out until now”.Another member of the community, Alhaji Mohammed Sule said, “Animals belonging to one Udawa, a migrant Fulani encroached into the farm of one Hamza and after the Jumma’a Mosque their people went there to see the damage done on the farm but immediately, the Fulani including our resident Fulani armed themselves to the teeth and started attacking our our people.”We took our wounded people to the hospitals, including Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital in Kano. One of our men had a deep cut on his fore head and another person was a cut on his ear while another one is on the face. There were one thousand to about five thousands Fulani with dangerous weapons trying to enter our town but we forced them to retrieve back”, he narrated.
An eye witness account One Mohammed Lawal said the cause of the upheaval is that there were two men going to their farm who ran into one Fulani man by the Uda rearing his goats and immediately they saw him, they grabbed one of his goat and started struggling and wrestling over it that they would take it to town. According to him, the goat owner asked to know why because he did not rear his goats near their farm not to talk of causing damage to the farm.”As they continued struggling over the goat endlessly, one of the farmers who claimed that his farm was touched by goats belonging to Uda removed his mobile phone and called the youths from the village to come to his aid lying that he was attacked. Before the youths ran to the scene with their weapons, I did all I could to settle them amicably but it defied all solutions.”He further narrated that, “If their claim was true, they had already taken the entire herd of flock to the town plus the owner, so why attacking innocent people who were not part of it and were not even related to the owner of the goats? this revealed the hidden agenda to attack the resident Fulani with the aim to send them away from their land.”
Police confirm skirmish
The police public relations officer (PPRO), Abdull Jinjiri, confirmed the incident saying there was a clash between Fulani herdsmen and farmers at Fulata village on Friday last week. According to him, the police were told by the villagers that a group of Fulani people were sighted in the area where the villagers also came out in defence of their village, as a result of which 10 people were injured and taken to the hospital.He Added that the commissioner of police, Usman Sule Gomna, visited the area and nomalcy already returned with the detactchment of mobile policemen to the village. He disclosed that during the fight, both sides suffered losses. Adding that no life was lost and no arrest was made.