Why Jigawa state is known as island of peace

Of all the states in the north especially North-west ravaged by banditry and kidnapping, Jigawa stands out as the most peaceful state. BAYO MUHAMMAD ALABIRA reports on strategies adopted to realise this.

Despite the fact that the entire North-west geo-political zone of Nigeria has been ravaged by all sorts of incessant insecurity challenges in recent years, Jigawa has remained the most peaceful state in the whole region.

A quick glance

The state which was created out of old Kano state in August, 1991 is situated in the northern part of Nigeria between Latitude 11:00N to 13:N and Longitude 8:00E to 10:00E respectively. With six million population estimate, it still remains the most peaceful in the entire nation.
Jigawa shares borders with Kano and Katsina states from the west also shares borders with Bauchi and Yobe states from the south and east. It also shares international borders with Zinder in Niger Republic from the north.

Jigawa has a total land area of approximately 22,410 square kilometres and it’s topography is generally characterised by undulating land, with sand dunes of various dimensions spanning several kilometres in some part of the state. It has 27 local government areas divided into 30 state constituencies and grouped into 11 federal constituencies as well as three senatorial districts.
The state was secured even when the entire North-east geo-political zone was bedevilled with various intensive attacks by Boko Haram insurgents which also affected some states outside the North-east zone like Kano, Kaduna and Plateau states, among others.

Good, responsible leadership

However, the success story about peaceful nature of Jigawa state might have been due to good leadership being provided by both the past leaders and the present ones. Infact, there was a solidified foundation for peace and developments laid down by the past leaders that is still being maintain by the present administration.

For example, the age-long existing rivalries that had paralysed and halted all forms of developments among the five emirates in the state were tackled once and for all by the former administration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which was carried over by the present administration of All Progressive Congress (APC) led by Governor Mohammed Badaru Abubakar.
However, with the hard effort and strengthened mechenism put in place by the present administration, the state is indeed presently an island of peace in Nigeria. All conflicts and civil cases that breed problems that lead to confrontations between or among the citizenry are either nipped in the bud or knocked out with a once-and-for-all sledge hammer.

Involvement of traditional institutions

In the state, for instance, government always monitors the security situation through all means. The traditional institutions are deply involved in beaming their searchlights on the movements and activities carried out by members of the society.

By that, traditional rulers, right from the Emirs down to the district and ward heads always put eagle-eyes on the happenings in their surroundings most especially the businesses executed by members of their communities. It is also a norm that all visitors coming in and out of areas under their supervision are closely monitored all in an effort not to be taken aback by any perceive or unforseen issue.

Alhaji Ado Ahmad Sungur, the Dutse Emirate’s Jakadan Sulhu, also known as ‘Peace Ambassador’ shares more light on how traditional rulers control security situation in the state. He said from time immemorial, Dutse Emirate has an established way of tapping information from the grassroot to the highest level.

Button to top surveillance

According to him, “The security situation is monitored and controlled by our village heads who give their findings to the ward heads who also report the situation to the district heads and finally the reports is submitted to the senior counsellor to the emirate, the Galadiman Dutse Alhaji Bashiru Mohammadu Sanusi,” he explained.

He said two years ago, a non governmental organisation, ‘Justice for All’ trained traditional rulers in the state on how to resolve conflicts amicably without going to any court. The royal fathers were trained on how to receive complains from members of their communities and how to resolve them without further rift.
According to him, “Conflicts are resolved peacefully by village heads, ward heads or district heads after which the record is brought to the senior councillor to be documented in the data bank of the emirate.”

He said about 250 to 300 cases are resolved every year by the emirate.
On monitoring the movement of visitors or strangers in the emirate, he explained that, “Whenever a strange movement is noted in any village, the village head should know what the movement is all about. And the same thing is applicable to the ward head as well as the district head. The mission and business of every stranger must be known by these people.

“And if any serious issue is noted in any of the villages that is capable of causing problem, the same chain system is used to curtail it. The reports would come from the village head to the ward head and to the district head as well as to the senior councillor of the emirate. From there, the reports would be written to the secretary to the state government who can inform the governor directly for immediate action,” he stressed.

The five emirates in the state also exchange information about any critical situation. The emirates communicate through their secretaries who write and pass the information about any impending issue that may likely cause problem in the state.

Effective security synergy

Also, the security collaboration always yield positive result in curtailing crimes whenever it stick its head out. Recently, for instance, about 10 suspected bandits armed to teeth with dangerous weapons, four women and nine children were arrested in the forest at Suletankarkar LGA by the Jigawa State Command of Nigeria Police led by the Commissioner, Aliyu Sale Tafida.

Recently too, Governor Badaru explained that the state has remained the most peacefull in the country because the security issues are not politicised. Any government or governor that comes would build on the the existing laid down procedures by the past leaders of the state.

He said there is a good working collaboration and security network among the security agencies in the state. “They work harmoniously with a view to tackling and nip in the bub any problem identified anywhere in all the nooks and crannies of the state.”

The only common problem that used to occur in the state is the usual annual conflicts between farmers and herders mostly in far away rural areas of Guri, Kirikasamma and Birniwa local government areas of the state. This, according to investigation, used to occur annually, mostly during the harvest times and they are nipped in the bub immediately such issues are noted because both the state and local governments do not take those clashes lightly.

In view of this, the traditional rulers are the supervisors and monitors as well as ambassadors of peace in their respective localities. Whatever happens within their localities, they take actions immediately and notify the council authorities which also take the matter to the state for prompt action.