TEXT OF PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE ATYAP COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION (ACDA) ON THURSDAY 16TH JULY, 2020
ON THE KADUNA STATE GOVERNMENT’S WHITE PAPER COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE RAHILA CUDJOE COMMISSION REPORTS OF 1992 AND AVM USMAN MUAZU RECONCILIATION COMMITTEE REPORT OF 1995
- On 29th June 2020, Mr. Muyiwa Adekeye, Special Adviser on Media and Communication to Governor Nasir Ahmad El Rurai, issued a statement informing the public that the Kaduna State Government had set up a White Paper Committee on 1992 Zangon Kataf Crisis. According to Adekeye, the main assignment of the White Paper Committee is “to draft a White Paper on the two reports of the Rahila Cudjoe Commission of Inquiry into the Zangon-Kataf riots of February and May 1992.” As an adjunct to this, the Government White Paper Drafting Committee “will also consider the 1995 report of the Zangon-Kataf Reconciliation Committee, chaired by Air Vice Marshal Usman Muazu.” Mr. Muyiwa Adekeye ignorantly or deliberately claims that the recommendations of the aforementioned Reports “have not received comprehensive response or attention”. The facts below will show that this statement is calculated to misinform the public, as it is quite false.
- The Government claims that “no White Paper was drafted” by the administrations that set up the Cudjoe Commission and AVM Usman Muazu Reconciliation Committee. While this could apply to the Cudjoe Commission, it is not true that a White Paper was not produced on the AVM Muazu Committee report. The evidence for the existence of a White Paper on the Muazu Committee Report is in a Press Release by the Office of the Executive Governor of Kaduna State of Nigeria, Ref. No. GH/KD/S/315, dated 4th July 2000. The Governor who authorized the issuance of the above referenced document is still both alive and sound. That White Paper is available in Government House Kaduna, and we ask the Government of Governor Nasir Ahmad El Rufai to make the original White Paper on the AVM Usman Muazu Reconciliation Committee public without tampering with the contents.
- By making such claim that the reports of the Cudjoe Commission and AVM Usman Muazu Reconciliation Committee “have not received comprehensive response or attention”, the El Rufai administration seeks to give the wrong impression that previous administrations of the Kaduna State Government did not address the recommendations made by both panels. On the contrary the Federal and Kaduna State governments over the years took several far reaching decisions on the recommendations in those reports and implemented them. It is therefore imperative to clarify these matters for the information of the public, for it is indeed very strange that the El Rufai government wants to exhume and draft a White Paper on Cudjoe Commission report written 28 years ago, most of the issues of which have been resolved and reconciliation achieved between the Atyap Community and the Hausa Community of Zangon Kataf town. The question arises as to what the El Rufai government seeks to achieve by drafting a White Paper over a report whose recommendations were implemented by the Federal and Kaduna State Governments, and on which any other remaining issues have been overtaken by events, unless the El Rufai administration has other ulterior motives for setting up its White Paper Committee.
- In paragraph 2 of its statement the Kaduna State Government claims that: “Violent clashes broke out in Zangon-Kataf LGA on 11th June 2020 between two communities that were reportedly disputing ownership of farmlands whose place in the conflict is mentioned in the 1992 and 1995 reports.” Also at paragraph 7, the Kaduna State Government, intent on tying the happenings of 10th and 11th June 2020 in Zangon Kataf to the Cudjoe Commission’s report of 1992, again claims that “Following skirmishes a week earlier, disputes over the same farmlands again led to an outbreak of violence and killings in Zangon-Kataf and Kauru LGAs on Thursday, 11th June 2020.” These claims are false and completely at variance with what actually happened on 10th and 11th June, 2020. Contrary to paragraph 2 of Adekeye’s statement, there were no “violent clashes” between any communities in Zangon Kataf and Kauru LGAs on 11th June 2020. What happened was a peaceful demonstration by youth demanding an investigation into the gruesome murder of a young teacher the previous day. On 10th June, 2020, 32-year-old Yusuf Musa Magaji, son of retired Reverend Musa Magaji, was shot and then slaughtered on his farm in Zangon Kataf Urban District. Yusuf’s brutal murder was the twelfth in a long string of such murders perpetrated by Fulani individuals and groups against Atyap men and women since 2017, which had been reported to the security agencies in Zangon Kataf LGA and Kaduna State, without any response from the authorities. What was worse, the individuals that personally threatened to kill Yusuf Magaji had been reported to the Magajin Gari of Zangon Kataf, who had been witness to the purchase of the farmland by Reverend Magaji while he was residing in Zangon Kataf town 2009. Following the deliberate slaughter of Yusuf Musa Magaji and the subsequent discovery of his corpse by a combined team of Security Officers and Chiefs, Elders and Youth of Atyap Chiefdom, on 11th June 2020 the youth staged a peaceful demonstration, and the soldiers sent from Jos shot and killed one youth and shot and critically injured 12 others, on the same day, after which a 24-hour curfew was imposed on the same 11th June, 2020. It should be stated for the avoidance of doubt that:
(i) The events of 10th and 11th June 2020 were over a criminal homicide or the premeditated killing of a young person.
(ii) Investigation of the crime is on-going although there is clear evidence that the three prime suspects of the murder reported officially to the Police are still walking about free; more so that several such murders in Atyapland since 2017 were treated with extreme levity by the Government of Kaduna State.
- In fact, in trying to justify the setting up of the Government’s White Paper Committee, Mr. Adekeye mischievously falsified the findings of the Cudjoe Commission. The Commission had stated at paragraphs 20, 21 and 22 of their Report of June 1992, that “the three immediate causes” of the 1992 riots were: the relocation of the Zangon Kataf weekly market; its handling by the authorities and the police; and reactions to the provocative actions of Alhaji Danbala A. T. K. of Zangon Kataf town at the new market on 6th February 1992. As for “the remote causes” the Cudjoe Commission stated at paragraph 24 that it was the “inadequacy of the old market situated in the heart of Zango town”; and at paragraph 25, “the second remote cause is entrenched in the socio-economic set-up peculiar to Zangon Kataf.” Other remote causes in paragraphs 26-28 included “religious intolerance and disregard for each others (sic) customs and traditions by both the Katafs and Hausas”; “mutual suspicion between both communities”; and issues related to “mixed marriages between the Hausas and the Katafs”. The only remote cause related to land was that of Hurumi (communal grazing area), over which the Commission ignored all evidence presented by the Atyap in favour of Hausa claims that a former Hausa/Fulani District Head took the land from the Katafs and gave to the Hausas in 1920. The other remote cause was a dispute over a small piece of land called “Baradawa”, the Atyap ceremonial ground, which the Cudjoe Commission established a Court of competent jurisdiction had ruled in favour of the Atyap in 1984, and over which the Atyap held a Kaduna State Local Government Certificate of Occupancy No. KCH/A/000768 dated 20th August 1986 issued by the then Kachia Local Government, of which the present Zangon Kataf LGA was a part. Where then is the connection between what the Cudjoe Commission wrote and Muyiwa Adekeye’s manufactured fables that what happened in 2020 was over the same land as in 1992? The AVM Usman Muazu Committee had recommended that the Kaduna State Government should investigate whether a former District Head had set aside a piece of land for public use (hurumi) and when, and when that public land became the private farmlands of the Hausa/Fulani of Zangon Kataf, and the legality of those actions. That recommendation has never been carried out. What is more pertinent is whether the action of a District Head (being an appointee of a Governor) in 1920 or 1927 supersedes the delineation of the official boundary of Zangon Kataf Urban District authorised by the Governor of Kaduna State on 11th August 1995, which was mutually agreed by both the Atyap and the Hausa Fulani in the presence of the Governor.
- The September 1992 Cudjoe report stated that there was “only one immediate cause to the riots of the 15th and 16th May 1992 in Zangon Kataf and that was the uprooting of crops on Hausa farmlands which eventually the Hausas retaliated against, by uprooting crops on some Kataf farmlands” (para. 23). The Cudjoe Commission then contradicted themselves in paragraphs 24 and 25 by rejecting all evidence presented to them and turned around to blame only the Atyap for the uprooting of crops.
- In considering the remote causes in the September 1992 report, the Cudjoe Commission threw all sense of fairness, balanced consideration of evidence and indeed the very elementary principle that there are two sides to a conflict, ignored the provocative letters and actions of the Hausa, and not only blamed the Atyap, but accused, tried and found them “guilty”, and then enumerated the names of the Atyap to be arrested and jailed. After stating their findings at paragraphs 37, 38 and 39 that neither ACP Juri Babang Ayok (Rtd), Mallam Bala Dauke Ade, nor Gen Zamani Lekwot (Rtd) were involved in the riots, Justice Cudjoe still “reasoned” that because they were “mentioned” by some Hausa witnesses, and that they and several others “did not intervene to stop the riots”, she was quite satisfied that they were “already detained and should be tried in connection with the riots”. Justice Cudjoe did not recommend a single Hausa person, including those who admitted shooting Atyap persons during the riots, and those the Police testified were shooting people with machine guns, for investigation or trial. All the Atyap persons the Cudjoe Commission pointed at on the basis of allegations by “witnesses” were detained, tried, jailed, and sentenced to death or life imprisonment. Is the Kaduna State Government White Paper Committee set up to dredge up the discredited Cudjoe report in order to try and jail the Atyap leaders a second time?
- In paragraph 3 of the government’s statement read by Adekeye it is stated that the riots of February 1992 led to 95 deaths, and 1,528 deaths in May 1992, 305 in Kaduna, Zaria, Ikara etc. While it was indeed regrettable and unfortunate that people lost their lives, the contents of the two Cudjoe reports show that they derived their figures of casualties from one individual named Ibrahim Kutumbi Chakaikai resident of Zangon Kataf, who claimed to have derived the list from relations of the deceased. There were no subsequent investigations by the Police or any authority admissible in law to verify the claims contained in the memoranda the Cudjoe Commission stated it relied on to arrive at the figures it published in it reports.
- Adekeye’s claim that the “reports have not received comprehensive response or attention”, is patently false and contradicted by the facts. Most of the Cudjoe Commission’s recommendations were for visiting harsh retribution on the Atyap, and the General Babangida government did so, using Decree No. 2 of 1985 and passing Decree 55 (1992) to oust the jurisdiction of the courts and deny the Atyap the rights of fair hearing and appeal.
a) It is on record that certain Atyap individuals named in the September 1992 Cudjoe report at para. 110(ii), (iii) a. and b. were arrested, detained, tried and sentenced to death, life imprisonment and various other jail terms, and they served their terms. The Okadigbo tribunal, acting as anti-riot policemen, assumed that every Atyap mentioned by the Hausas was guilty and proceeded to jail them. Men of conscience as Godwin Alaye Graham-Douglas SAN, in disgust at the travesty of justice perpetrated by Okadigbo, resigned in protest from the tribunal (The African Guardian, February 15, 1993, 31-33). Between 1992 and September 1994 the Babangida regime, exercising dictatorial powers enshrined in Decree 55 also ignored the judgement of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights that the fundamental human rights of the Atayp Elders had been violated (African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Communication 87/93Constitutional Rights Project (in respect of Zamani Lekwot and 6 Others) Nigeria: Gross violation of Human Rights in Zango Kataf, Taken at the 16th Session, Banjul The Gambia, October 1994).
b) Cudjoe’s recommendations at para. 110 (v) b. and c. on payment of compensation to the Hausas of Zangon Kataf for losses they sustained were fully implemented by the government. The Commission specified the mode of such compensation at Para. 110(xxiii) a. b. c. and d. Facts from the records of the Government’s Zangon Kataf Resettlement Committee show that even after most of the returning Hausa/Fulani had misapplied their compensation monies and failed to use them for rebuilding their houses, the Government had to take over the building of the houses, in addition to increasing the compensation paid to the Hausa/Fulani.
c) The Cudjoe Commission at para 110 (iv) c. recommended the rebuilding of Zango town, with all the facilities and amenities of a modern town, and it was completely rebuilt by the Federal Government.
d) Recommendations relating to some policemen at para. 110 (vii) a. were implemented and some were dismissed from the Nigeria Police Force.
e) The Commission recommended at para. 110 (vii) c. the building of a Police Station and Police Barracks in Zango town, and it was done.
f) The Cudjoe Commission made recommendations at para. 110 (xii) c. and d. that we reproduce verbatim:
110(xii) c. “Chiefdoms should be granted to all deserving ethnic groups in Southern Kaduna State, if it is adjudged that such a grant will guarantee peace and stability in the State.”
110(xii) d. “As a deterrent to others, the Katafs should be made to tow the line and be the last to be considered for the grant of Chiefdom among the Southern Kaduna ethnic groups; provided the Katafs show remorse and penitence by words or deed.”
This recommendation was implemented by Col. Lawal Ja’afar Isa’s administration in 1995 after the AVM Usman Muazu Report, and thereafter by the administration of Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi from 2001.
g) At paragraph 87 (i)-(iii) the recommendations of the Cudjoe Commission (June 1992) on all prominent Katafs to be tried by tribunal and jailed by the Federal Military Government were implemented with extreme prejudice, even when the Commission had found that they had no foreknowledge and were not involved in the riots as stated in paragraphs 37, 38 and 39 of the report.
h) In paragraphs 45-49 of the Report of September 1992, the Cudjoe Commission recommended severe punishment for the Atyap leaders for not going to the venue of the riots to tell rioters to withdraw.
i) The Commission recommended the trial and jailing of eight (8) Village Heads and eight (8) village representatives for writing a letter to the Governor, but exonerated the Izala group of Zangon Kataf that wrote a letter to the Sultan declaring a jihad in Katafland.
- Nowhere in the two Cudjoe Reports did they recommend verification of land claims or reconciliation of the two communities; and certainly did not pretend to be concerned with peace building in the area. How the El Rufai administration proposes to use this very negative, vindictive and bellicose Cudjoe Commission Report as a basis for finding “lasting peace” in Zangon Kataf is simply mind boggling.
- In paragraph 4 of the Kaduna State Government statement read by Mr. Muyiwa Adekeye he stated that “the elected government of Kaduna State, led by Alhaji Dabo Lere, did not produce a White Paper to set out its official position on the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry.” The Dabo Mohammed Lere government could not write a White Paper on the Cudjoe Commission report because that report could not in any way meet the basic requirements of fair hearing, did NOT stand the most rudimentary test of justice, and was neither judicial nor judicious in its operations, conduct and procedure. The Dabo Lere government found that the Cudjoe Report was so bad and biased that it was embarrassing as it had turned from a fact finding to a fault finding panel. No single Hausa man was held responsible for what happened. The Atyap had nothing to do with the subsequent sitting of the Commission, and Cudjoe’s Commission resorted to using hearsay, memoranda from one side and newspaper reports to pass judgments on the Atyap using words like “confrontational”, “could have stopped the Katafs but failed to go to Zangon Kataf” etc, as the bases for their judgments.
- With regard to the non-issuance of a White Paper, it must be reiterated that when the Kaduna State Government found the proceedings, conduct and report of the Cudjoe Commission to be fault finding, biased, contentious, discredited and embarrassing, it set aside. It was due to the fact that the Cudjoe Report could not serve a basis for peace and stability that the Col. Lawal Ja’afar Isa administration set up the AVM Usman Muazu Committee. When the Hausa/Fulani and Atyap representatives on the AVM Usman Muazu Committee completely disagreed on the question of a White Paper on the Cudjoe Report, the Committee at para. 22.03.iv) stated: “In fact unlike the Cudjoe Commission of enquiry, a Reconciliation Committee is not expected to find faults and apportion blames.” Mallam (Now Professor) Kabiru Mato was a member of the AVM Muazu Committee and was party to demanding for a white paper on the jaundiced Cudjoe Report. Is it then a coincidence that the El Rufai administration of which the same Professor Kabiru Mato is a prominent member, is now setting up a White Paper Committee on the Cudjoe Commission report, a move that the AVM Muazu Committee had advised was not conducive for reconciliation and healing process? The AVM Usman Muazu Committee was thus aptly titled The Committee For Reconciliation And Search For Lasting Peace for Zangon Kataf Community.
- Muyiwa Adekeye said at paragraph 6 of the Kaduna State Government’s statement claimed that the “AVM Muazu committee stated that it could not resolve three burning issues: Ownership over farmlands, Release of White Paper on the report of the Cudjoe Commission of Inquiry, Release of detainees”. By this tendentious statement Muyiwa Adekeye presumes to stand the truth on its head, and pretends that nothing happened after the AVM Muazu Committee submitted its report.
- Just like with the Cudjoe recommendations, with respect to the AVM Usman Muazu report, the recommendations have been implemented; or are in the process of being implemented, and where they have not been fully implemented, the problem lies with the Kaduna State Government and obstructionist antics of some individuals based in Kaduna.
i. The Muazu Committee, having observed that there were Sharia Courts and a Sharia Court of Appeal for the Muslims in Kaduna State, and no equivalent for the non-Muslims, recommended the setting up of Customary Courts and a Customary Court of Appeal in Kaduna State and it was implemented by the Kaduna State Government.
ii. The Committee at paragraphs 2.03 and 2.04 recommended the creation of a Chiefdom for the Atyap and the administration of Col. Lawal Jafaru Isa implemented it.
iii. At the AVM Usman Muazu Committee sitting, the Hausa Community of Zangon Kataf at paragraph 10.02 formally acknowledged that Zangon Kataf town is located in Atyap land, and requested for the creation of a Zangon Kataf Urban District when the Atyap Chiefdom was created, and the Kaduna State Government under Col. Lawal Ja’afar Isa implemented it.
iv. The Hausa community of Zangon Kataf demanded for the creation of a Zango Kataf Urban Electoral Ward for only Hausas of Zango Urban, to separate them from Zonzon Ward, and it was done.
v. The Atyap Traditional Council appointed a representative for the Hausas of Zango Urban, and a representative of the Fulani in the Chiefdom on the Atyap Traditional Council, and this has remained so to this day.
vi. On the status of Zangon Kataf town, because of the false propaganda that has been waged by those against peaceful relations and integration of the communities, it will be necessary to quote the AVM Muazu report at para. 18.00
“18.00 STATUS OF ZANGON KATAF TOWN
In considering elements necessary for peaceful, harmonious living and lasting peace, the two Communities are agreed on the need to define and restate the role and implication of Zangon Kataf town as follows:
i) Zangon Kataf town as the place where the Hausa/Fulani live and have their farmlands;
ii) Zangon Kataf town as a District Headquarters for all the communities in the district;
iii) Zangon Kataf town as the Administrative Headquarters for the purposes of siting projects;
iv) Zangon Kataf town as the potential Headquarters in the event of the creation of a new Local Government;
v) Zangon Kataf town as the Headquarters in the event of the creation of Kataf Chiefdom;
vi) Zangon Kataf town as the Headquarters in the event of the creation of the Zangon Kataf Urban District.”
Shockingly, in utter disregard to the AVM Usman Muazu Committee’s recorded agreement by the two Communities quoted above, when the Gazette documenting the creation of the Atyap Chiefdom was published, a “Printer’s devil” stated the chiefdom headquarters as “Samaru Kataf”, which the Atyap rejected.
- The Kaduna State Government in 1999 approved the siting of the Atyap Chiefdom Headquarters at “Atak-Jei Samaru Zangon Kataf”, after both Hausas and Atyap had met and greed on it, and awarded the contract for the construction of the Agwatyap’s Palace vide document Reference No. KD/KSTB/S.8/VOL.III/421, dated 15th November, 2000.
- In several letters and petitions written by a group called Zangon Kataf Development Association signed by one Abubakar Ibrahim Zango, purportedly “on behalf of the Hausa/Fulani of Zangon Kataf”, threatened mayhem and breakdown of peace unless the Kaduna State Government demolished the Agwatyap’s Palace and relocated it to Samaru Kataf. This Zangon Kataf Development Association made false claims that the palace is on Zangon Kataf Urban District land which they further falsely claimed was inhabited by “100% Hausa-Fulani Muslims”. The Kaduna State Government under Col. U. F. Ahmed vide letter Ref. No. SEC.750/VOL.IV/890 dated 10th March 1999, asked the Chairman, Zangon Kataf Local Government to investigate and report on the matter. In his letter to the Secretary to the State Government, Ref. No. ZKLG/S.I/68, dated 18 March 1999, the Chairman, Zangon Kataf Local Government stated:
“2. I wish to inform you that I have had discussions with the District Head of Zango Urban District, Alh. Muhammadu Bala, on the above subject matter. In the discussion, he made it clear to me that it is not true that Alh. Ibrahim Abubakar Zango wrote the letter…on the mandate of the Hausa/Fulani Community resident in the Zango Urban town…The District head also denied the claim that the “Community has not attained a level of reconciliation with the Kataf Community as he (Ibrahim) himself does not reside in Zango Urban District nor does he visit the town often, to enable him make such misleading assertion about the level of reconciliation.
“3. On the issue of farmland still claimed to be in the control of some Kataf people, the District Head explained that His Royal Highness, the Agwatyap, Mal. Bala Ade Dauke, has since intervened in the issue, where he has warned/advised the Atyap (Kataf) people, who still occupy or are in possession of farmland belonging to the Hausa people, to release or hands-off them immediately. This warning/advice is being complied with by the Kataf people; which has led to the much achieved reconciliation and peaceful co-existence among the two (Kataf & Hausa) tribes in the town.
- Because of continued agitations and obstructions by some Kaduna based Hausa-Fulani, the Kaduna State Government subsequently issued two statements in 2000 and 2001 to clarify issues. On 4 July 2000, the Office of the Executive Governor of Kaduna state issued a Press Release No. GH/KD/S/315 signed by Malam Lukman Musa, Chief Press Secretary, in reaction to the religious mobilisation embarked upon by Abubakar Zango and his group, which purported to demand that government should relocate the Hausa Fulani to another territory inhabited entirely by Muslims if the Agwatyap’s Palace must be in Zangon Kataf Urban District, the Government stated:
“His Excellency the Executive Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi held a meeting today Tuesday, 4th July, 2000 with the Zango/Atyap people on urban fadama land dispute between the Communities.
- At the end of the meeting the following decisions were taken:
(i) That Government will not in anyway temper (sic) with Zango Urban land.
(ii) That Government will implement other decisions contained in the White Paper on the issue.
(iii) Similarly, Government will implement all other Reports on the issue and not on the basis of tribe or religion.
- Kaduna State Government warns that it will not entertain further agitations on the Urban/Fadama land dispute.”
- As the Kaduna State Government proceeded with implementing the contents of the White Paper on the Muazu Committee Report and various committees set up towards realising peace in Zangon Kataf, the Kaduna based groups intent on torpedoing the peace process increased their desperate acts of sabotage and anti-Atyap and anti-government propaganda. On the false claim that the Agwatyap Palace was located on Zango Urban land, the Government stated in a paid advertorial dated 20 April 2001:
“So much fuss is also being made by the so-called leaders [Kaduna based Zangon Kataf Development Association] in respect of the location of the headquarters of the Atyap Chiefdom, which to the best of the knowledge of government is Samarun Kataf territory. Authorities of the Chiefdom are therefore at liberty to locate the Chief’s palace anywhere within the radius of Samarun Kataf territory.”
The site of the Agwatyap’s palace was located outside Zango Urban District, in Unguwan Gaiya District in which Samaru Kataf is located, even when the Muazu Committee had recommended that it should be inside Zango Urban town to foster unity and communal integration.
- The AVM Usman Muazu Committee recommended at para. 17.00 that the State Government should “set up High Powered Committee with relevant technical personnel to resolve the ownership of disputed farmlands” as part of the reconciliation process. The Military Administrator of Kaduna State, Col. Lawal Ja’afar Isa, set up the High Powered Committee with himself as the Chairman. In company with Commissioners, Permanent Secretaries and State Government surveyors, the Military Administrator personally went to Zangon Kataf on 11 August, 1995, and invited equal numbers of representatives of both Hausa and Atyap Communities, to a meeting at the Government Secondary School Zangon Kataf, with Bajju, Ikulu, and Anghan Community representatives serving as witnesses.
a) The Military Administrator, Col. L. J. Isa, in company of representatives of the Hausa/Fulani and Atyap Communities, accompanied by all witnesses, with the aid of the Technical Staff/Surveyors of the Bureau for Lands, Surveys and Country Planning, with the proceedings being video-taped, walked round the entire land area of Zango Kataf town, with members of the two communities pointing out the boundary lines and points, with the government surveyors planting stones and Beacons and taking the coordinates to demarcate the land area of what later became the Zango Kataf Urban District, and the two communities agreed without any exception. The Survey Division of the Kaduna State Bureau for Lands, Surveys and Country Planning produced two Maps, A Plan Shewing Control Surveys Of Zangon Katab Urban Area, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area, Kaduna State, 1995; and a comprehensive and detailed Survey Plan Shewing Zango Kataf Urban District at Zangon Kataf Local Government Area, Kaduna State: Area = 669.0 Hectares (1,653.3 Acres), June 1996. The Maps show the Area outside Zango Urban District for the “Proposed Atyap Chiefdom Headquarters and Township Development Area” to be in Ungwar Gaiya and Ungwar Wakili Districts. These Maps are available at the relevant Departments of the Kaduna State Government Service. Between 1996 and 2002 all issues of payment of compensation for land acquired for the construction of the Palace were ironed out at several meetings mediated by the Zangon Kataf Local Government Lands Department, the Atayp Traditional Council and the Districts Heads of Zango Urban and Unguwan Gaiya District. Contrary to the claims in the Statement signed by Mr. Adekeye, there is absolutely no dispute between the Hausa Community and the Atyap Community over Zango Urban District land.
b) The Military Administrator demarcated a Buffer Zone measuring 50 metres on both sides of the boundary line demarcating Zangon Kataf town, which later became Zangon Kataf Urban District, and both sides undertook that no one was to farm on the Buffer Zone, and beacons were placed to delineate the Buffer Zone, and it was agreed by both sides. On June 3, 1996 the Zangon Kataf Local Government Council reported that the issue of the Buffer Zone had been laid to rest. No Atyap individual or group has ventured into the Buffer Zone, and those raising issues over it are Zangon Kataf Urban Development Association members living in Kaduna, against whose meddling previous District Heads of Zango Urban District have complained several times to the Atyap Traditional Council, the Zangon Kataf Local Government, and the Kaduna State government.
c) Further to this, the Kaduna State Government approved the designation and demarcated the valley and wetlands (fadama) around Zango town to be irrigated, and to be allocated and used jointly by both Hausas and Atyap, and representatives of the Communities agreed, subject to compensation being paid to the land owners. Through letter SEC.750/VOL.IV/628 dated 16th July 2000, the Secretary to the State Government instructed the Permanent Secretary, Bureau of Lands and Surveys, Kaduna to carry out the survey and demarcation. Several assessments have been made for payment of compensation for the irrigation site, but to date no such compensation has been paid by the Kaduna State Government.
d) The AVM Usman Muazu Committee recommended at paragraph 11.04 i) and iii) that in pursuit of reconciliation Government should expand Zangon Kataf town and create an integrated layout to be allocated to Atyap, Hausa and any other Nigerians, to build residential houses and live together. This layout was approved by the KDSG and communicated to the Surveyor General of Kaduna State, and the Zangon Kataf Local Government Council by the Commissioner of Water resources and Chairman Committee on Zangon Kataf Land Disputes, through letter Ref. No. MWR/ADM/S/69/S.1/VOL.1/20, dated 15th December 2000. The survey and layout Plan titled Proposed Tak Jei Residential Layout Zangon Kataf LGA T.P.O 860 was completed and signed by Alh. Magaji S. Hunkuyi, Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Lands, Surveys and Country Planning on 12th April, 2010, and Approved by the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Arc. Mohammed Namadi Sambo on 12th April 2010. In accordance with the recommendation of the AVM Usman Muazu Committee that the Chiefdom headquarters be in the expanded and integrated settlement, the Agwatyap’s Palace is situated within the Government Approved Layout. Surprisingly on 4th January, 2018 the Ministry of Local Government, who’s Commissioner was Professor Kabiru Mato, wrote a letter Ref. No. MLG/BM/I/S.7/VOL.I/186, signed by Barr. Hassan M. Lawal, Director Boundary and Chieftaincy Affairs for the Hon. Commissioner, saying that “It has come to the attention of His Excellency the Governor that a Layout Committee has been constituted by the Atyap Traditional Council for the proposed Takjei Unity Housing Layout”. It is strange that the El Rufai administration should make the above statement when they know that the design of the Layout had earlier been completed and approved by the former Governor of Kaduna State, Arc. Mohammed Namadi Sambo, on 12th April 2010.
e) At the Parley convened and chaired by the Military Administrator of Kaduna State, Col. Lawal Ja’afar Isa, on 11th August 1995, at Government Day Secondary School Zangon Kataf, after a long admonitory speech by the peace-making Governor, the Agreement on creation of Atyap Chiefdom, Zango Urban District, religious freedom and rights to farmlands and property was worked out. The Atyap were asked to nominate three Elders to restate what they wanted the government to do for them to maintain peace and good neighbourliness. The three Atyap Elders led by Adi Along Angulu stated that they wanted Atyap Chiefdom; they wanted their dignity restored to them through equity, and for discrimination against the Atyap and punishment of their leaders stopped. They pledged that the Atyap would abide by the Peace Agreement. The three Hausa Community Elders led by Alhaji Mato Zango asked for a Zango Urban District for the Hausa/Fulani; freedom to practice their religion; right to their farmlands and their own Zango Ward and Councillor separate from Zonzon Ward. They also pledged to abide by the Peace Agreement.
f) The Military Administrator repeated each statement in the Agreement, which were affirmed by the participants. The then District Head, Mallam Bala Dauke Ade undertook to ensure that the two communities would do their part to implement the letter and observe the spirit of the Agreement. An Islamic Cleric, the Imam of the NNPC Mosque Kaduna, stood, repeated the contents of the agreement and prayed for its successful implementation. The Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kaduna, also restated the contents of the Agreement, prayed over and blessed the two communities to ensure its peaceful implementation. The proceedings were video-taped by the Government House crew, and the video tapes are available.
g) Col. Lawal Ja’afar Isa’s administration approved the sum of Four Million Naira (N4,000,000.00) as compensation for the irrigation land, which was subsequently increased to Forty Million Naira (N40,000,000.00) by the Arc Mohammed Namadi Sambo administration. The two communities met and agreed to accept the compensation, but some Hausa individuals came from Kaduna and insisted that the Zango Hausa community must not accept the payment.
- In 2015, Gov Nasir El Rufai set up the Committee to Stamp Out Attacks on Southern Kaduna Communities (the General Martin Luther Agwai Committee). The report states inter alia:
“LAND AND BOUNDARY ISSUES
“The attention of the Committee was drawn to a number of land and boundary disputes in the State and their role in generating violent conflict in the state.
“7. The Demarcation of Zango Urban District
- The post-1992 Zangon Kataf Crisis Peace Committee agreed that the Zango Urban community should not own land beyond the stream before entering the town from Samaru-Kataf.
- The then government decided to pay the sum of N4 million as compensation to the affected people. This was not done.
- The government of Namadi Sambo reviewed the compensation sum upward to N40 million. It still has not been paid.
- The land has since its excision been used as community land for irrigation farming by both Hausa and Atyap people.
“Government should pay the N40 million compensation to put the matter to rest.”
Kaduna State of Nigeria, White Paper on the Report of the Committee to Stamp Out Attacks on Southern Kaduna Communities, 1st February, 2016, Chapter 6, Land And Boundary Issues
S/No. COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION GOVERNMENT DECISION
7.35 Government should pay the N40 million compensation to put the matter to rest. Government accepts the recommendation
The Government has not implemented its decision as contained in the White Paper it published in 2016.
- In paragraph 7 of their Statement, the Kaduna State government said that:
“Following skirmishes a week earlier, disputes over the same farmlands again led to an outbreak of violence and killings in Zangon-Kataf and Kauru LGAs on Thursday, 11th June 2020.”
Contrary to the above claim, Yusuf Magaji was killed not over a disputed farmland. Yusuf was killed on land his father had purchased from a Hausa family of Zango Urban in 2009 at the cost of N400,000.00 and the transaction was duly documented with witnesses. There was also no dispute over farmland in Kauru LGA. The events of 11th June 2020 had nothing to do with the skirmish of 5th June 2020. The skirmish of 5th June 2020 was over the uprooting of crops by some Hausa people from Zangon Kataf town at Gidan Zaki, about two (2) kilometres away from the boundary of Zangon Kataf Urban District. The skirmish of 5th June at Unguwan Zaki was amicably settled on the spot by the Atyap Traditional Council, Zango Urban Elders and Security Agents. The peaceful demonstration of 11 June 2020 was over the brutal murder of Yusuf Musa Magaji. The statement that there was “an outbreak of violence” over farmlands is a repeat of a fallacy.
- Muyiwa Adekeye in paragraph 8 insists on repeating the falsehood that “one of the factors identified by the Justice Cudjoe Commission as an immediate cause of the 1992 carnage in Zangon-Kataf is still a trigger for murder and unlawful conduct, 28 years after that tragedy”. It has already been shown that paras. 20, 21 and 22 of Vol. 1 of the Cudjoe report states that disputes over farmland were not the causes of the February 1992 disturbances. While at para. 23 of Vol. 2 of Cudjoe’s report the uprooting of crops was given as the trigger of the May 1992 riots, at para. 24 Cudjoe rejected the report of the Department of State Service that the uprooting of crops by Hausas on the farm of Mallam Ishaku at Ungwan Tabo sparked the riots simply because the Commission had already judged and sentenced only the Atyap over the unfortunate riots. The following facts must be stated:
a) Ungwan Tabo is two kilometres from the boundary of Zango Urban District, and Hausas owned no farmland there, a fact Cudjoe ignored 28 years ago.
b) Gidan Zaki, where the Hausa uprooted crops on 5th June 2020, is two kilometres away from the boundary of Zango Urban District, which the Kaduna State government does not want to hear about.
c) That Elders from Zango Urban, Atyap Elders and the security agents settled the skirmish of June 5, 2020, and it was not violent, but Mr. Adekeye’s statement mischievously says it was “a trigger for murder and unlawful conduct” six (6) days later.
d) The “murder and unlawful conduct” was the murder of Yusuf Magaji, whose perpetrators, although reported to the Police and the Kaduna State government, are still going about free.
- The Kaduna State government says in its statement that it has set up the White Paper Committee to achieve peace and harmony in the State. It has been shown above that the Cudjoe Commission report was vacuous, tendentious, biased and calculated to judiciously murder all the leading Atyap personalities. That was why it was rejected by the Government of Kaduna State and the Atyap people 28 years ago. Revisiting that violently biased report today will not and cannot foster peace. The military dictatorship of General Babangida promulgated a Special Decree to set up a tribunal that was given powers above the Supreme Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to try and sentence Atyap leaders to death. Muyiwa Adekeye and his government cannot pretend not to know that subsequent federal administrations pardoned the unjustly convicted Atyap leaders and set them free. What “peace” does the Kaduna State Government want to achieve today, except they have some predetermined motives they want to serve. Why has the Kaduna State Government not investigated the murder of Yusuf Magaji and the 11 other Atyap cold bloodedly murdered by Fulanis under this administration since 2017?
- Muyiwa Adekeye carries falsehood to ridiculous levels by claiming in paragraph 11 of his statement that “The events of 11th and 12th June 2020 in Zangon-Kataf and Kauru LGAs offer compelling evidence that these persistent contentions over farmlands is a conflict trigger”. Since 1992, and especially following the AVM Usman Muazu Reconciliation Committee, and the Peace Agreement brokered by Governor Lawal Ja’afar Isa in 1995, there has been peace in Atyap Chiefdom. In furtherance of peace in the land the Atyap chiefdom authorities took several steps, some of which have been enumerated above. In addition:
a) The Atyap Traditional Council in 1996 set up a 14-member committee made up of 7 Hausa and 7 Atyap representatives to identify owners of farmlands in and around Zangon Kataf Urban District. All the Hausa claimants took over their farmlands. Over the years the Hausas have sold more than 80% of their farmlands to private individuals, and all the transactions were witnessed by Hausa Village Heads and District Heads of Zangon Kataf Urban District, and the transactions were documented. The farmland on which Yusuf Magaji was killed was purchased by Reverend Musa Magaji at the sum of N400,000.00, when he was residing inside Zango town, and was duly receipted and documented. Those who threatened to kill Yusuf Magaji if he did not stop cultivating his father’s piece of land were not the previous owners of the farmland. When the death threats were reported by Reverend Magaji and his son to the Zango Village Head who officially witnessed the sale of the land, he dismissed the threats as coming from “rascals”. These facts are known to the Police.
b) A committee set up by the Kaduna State Government chaired by His Royal Highness the Chief of Moro’a, Malam Tagwai Sambo, recommended the accelerated development of the marshland for irrigated farming, but the government did not implemented it.
- On February 18, 2016, and November 28, 2016, Zango Urban Development Association wrote petitions to Governor Nasir El Rufai on alleged “Unlawful Relocation of Atyap Chiefdom Headquarters and Refusal of Atyap Chiefdom to Vacate Our Farmlands in Breach of the Reconciliation Agreement in 1995”. In the petitions Zango Urban Development Association made several false claims:
(i) That “Zango Urban District was created in 1996 from the old Zango District under Zazzau Emirate even before the creation of Atyap Chiefdom”, and then they attached the Kaduna State Creation of Chiefdoms Edict No. 7 of 30th November, 1995. For the record, Zangon Kataf Urban District was created in 1996 along with other Districts of the Atyap Chiefdom. Their statement that “Ikulu and Atyap Chiefdoms were created thereafter from the old Zango Urban district” is obviously false.
(ii) Their claim that Kaduna State government failed to create a Zango Urban chiefdom exclusively for Hausa/Fulani has no basis, as the contents of the AVM Usman Muazu Committee Report and the Video Tapes of the proceedings of the Parley of 11th August 1995, show that the Hausa/Fulani community asked only for a Zangon Kataf Urban District, and it was created for them.
(iii) Some persons claiming to represent the Hausa/Fulani of Zangon Kataf Urban District kept on writing to ask for creation of a Hausa Chiefdom in Kataf land until the Kaduna State Government exposed their fraud in publications in 2001, and the Zango Urban District authorities denounced them.
(iv) On 3rd April 2012 at the Council Chamber of Zangon Kataf Local Government, Zonkwa, one Alhaji Mohammed Umar from Abuja asked the Kaduna State Peace and Reconciliation Committee to recommend the creation of a Zango Urban chiefdom, and the Hausa/Fulani elders of Zango Urban District at the meeting said that they did not know Alhaji Mohammed Umar.
(v) Between February and November 2016 the Zango Urban Development Association using the District Head’s office at Zango and BZ 22 Sardauna Crescent Kaduna as their addresses, wrote a “Petition on the Unlawful Relocation of Atyap Chiefdom Headquarters and the Refusal of Atyap Chiefdom to Vacate Our Farmlands in Breach of Reconciliation Agreement in 1995.” The petitioners asked the governor to demolish the Atyap Chiefdom palace and take it to Samaru Kataf, and force the Atyap to vacate their ancestral lands in Ungwan Gaiya District, which the Zango Urban Development Association falsely claimed to be located in Zangon Kataf Urban District. They also demanded for the creation of a Hausa/Fulani Chiefdom in Atyapland. The Governor of Kaduna State through the Commissioner of Local Government in letter Ref. No. MCA/BM/1/S.07, dated 6th December, 2016, asked the Atyap Council Secretary to investigate the matter and report to the government. In their response the Atyap Traditional Council stated that the so-called Zango Urban Development Association was not known in the Chiefdom, was spreading falsehoods over non-existent “land disputes” and that there was no agreement anywhere about creating a chiefdom for Hausas out of Atyapland.
- In April 2017 the District Head of Zango Urban District requested that His Royal Highness the Agwatyap should look into persistent complaints of some land allegedly being illegally held by some Atyap in Zango Urban District. The District Head said he wanted the matters of complaints to be settled permanently. Accordingly, the Agwatyap appointed a committee chaired by AVM Ishaya Shekarri (Rtd), on which the Zangon Kataf Urban District nominated eleven members, including the District Head and Professor Kabiru Mato. A Sub-Committee on land ownership identification was set up by the main committee. When Professor Kabir Mato saw the spurious names being submitted by some of the Hausas of Zango Urban who climed to own land outside Zangon Kataf Urban District, he advised that verification should be done. This led to the appointment of a Verification Sub-committee. Every claimant was asked to go and stand by his piece of land. The Verification Sub-committee had completed the exercise in Ungwan Gaiya District, and it was found that the Hausas had sold virtually all their farmlands. It was when the Sub-Committee was to move to Zonzon District that the uprooting of crops took place at Gidan Zaki, two kilometres outside the boundary of Zango Urban District. There had never previously been any contest over Gidan Zaki lands. In fact, there is no contiguity between Gidan Zaki District and Zango Urban District. It was clearly an attempt to abort the completion of the land verification exercise, which had hitherto been done peacefully and amicably. Hausas going to uproot crops at Gidan Zaki was calculated to start a confrontation, which fortunately, was nipped before it escalated.
- Since 2017 a pattern has been established, whereby whenever agreement has been reached over any issue and the agreement put in writing and signed by the Hausa living in Zangon Kataf town and the Atyap, some persons would later come from outside Zangon Kataf LGA and instigate the Hausa to repudiate the agreement. Also since 2017, there have been deliberate provocative killings including brutal cold-blooded slaughtering of Atyap to provoke reactions. Those killed were:
- Victor Daniel Bobai
- Constance Bulus
- Monday Tyokpat
- Simon Dariya
They were gunned down by Fulanis at Samaru Kataf market on Tuesday 17 January, 2017.
- Danladi Yunana, shot and killed at Kurmin Masara on 20th April, 2018.
- Bako Laah Khajiit, battered to death on his farm at Majuju, Ungwan Gaiya, on 6/10/2019.
- Jonathan Yahaya (Agwatyap’s younger brother), slaughtered on his farm at Magamiya on 10/11/2019.
- Tabat Mba Pama, slaughtered at Gan Gora by two Fulani men he had conveyed on his motor bike on 7/12/2019.
- Miss Priscilla Nicodemus, shot and killed at Gan Gora market on 17/1/2020.
- Miss Bridget Yashim, shot and killed at Gan Gora market on 17/1/2020
- Laraba Namiji, killed on her farm at Magamiya on 12/3/2020.
Not one of these murders was diligently investigated and prosecuted.
- The Atyap Traditional Council has always taken concrete steps to maintain the peace in the Chiefdom, despite several provocative, disloyal and disrespectful statements and actions targeted at the person of His Royal Highness the Agwatyap. His Royal Highness has bent over backward to engage personally with those attacking his person and desecrating the Atyap Traditional Institution. Even in the face of the various provocations and continued killing innocent people in Atyap Chiefdom, the paramount ruler of the Atyap has not relented in his efforts to maintain peace and harmonious relations in Atyap land.
- In continuation of their provocative actions, on 5th June 2020, there was a skirmish when some Hausa people from Zango town crossed over Zango Urban District and crossed Zonzon District, and went over to Gidan Zaki farmlands about two kilometres away from Zangon Urban District and began uprooting growing yams, cassava and maize from farmlands belonging to the Ma Zaki villagers. The Atyap Traditional Council and the Security Agencies in Zango quickly intervened and amicably settled the matter, which was reported to the Kaduna State government. No one was injured in that incident. Strangely, on 12 June 2020, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association Kaduna State branch issued a press release signed by Ibrahim Bayero Zango claiming that what happened on 11 June 2020 was a crisis over farmland. It is unfortunate for the Kaduna State Government, through Muyiwa Adekeye to repeat the claims by Miyetti Allah, in order to avoid investigating the murder of Yusuf Magagji, just as it had deliberately failed to investigate the eleven previous cold blooded shootings and slaughters of Atyap individuals between 2017 and 2019. It is also clear that by tying the events of 10 and 11 June 2020 to the Cudjoe Commission of 28 years ago, the government is creating an excuse to revisit the dead Cudjoe Commission report of 1992 for reasons best known to them.
- Following the events of 10th and 11th June 2020, Fulani organizations based in Kaduna metropolis, wrote a “History of Zangon Kataf” on 14th June 2020 in which they claimed that a British imposed Hausa/Fulani District Head of Zangon Kataf, posted from Zaria Emirate had “specified a boarder (sic) of 4 miles’ radius, approximately 6.4km for the Hausa Fulani Community of Zangon Kataf in 1927”, which they claim was supposedly documented in a “Zazzau emirate Gazette, (1956).”
- Within 24 hours of receiving this convoluted “history” written by Miyetti Allah containing such bogus land claims, the Kaduna State Government sent a team of officials from KADGIS, who went to Zango town and were met by a group of Hausa persons who took them far into Atyap villages, as far away as four kilometres beyond Zangon Urban delineated land, falsely claiming that all those Atyap villages were on Zango Hausa farmlands. Some Hausa Elders objected to those barefaced falsehoods and withdrew from the exercise. The leader of the team of “surveyors” was the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor in KADGIS, in charge of allocating lands, and now appointed a member of the White Paper drafting committee.
- The obvious intent of these actions by the El Rufai administration is to rubbish the Peace Agreement brokered by Col. Lawal Ja’afar Isa as Governor of Kaduna State in 1995, and find excuses to abrogate all the recommendations of that committee implemented and passed into law and gazetted by previous Governments of Kaduna State, by pretending that nothing has been done on the recommendations of the AVM Muazu Reconciliation Committee. We find it a curious coincidence that since Professor Kabiru Mato, from Zangon Kataf, became Commissioner of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, that the so-called Zango Urban Development Association based in Kaduna, resumed inundating the Kaduna State Government with petitions. The same Professor Kabiru Mato has the dubious distinction of supervising the dismantling of the Southern Kaduna Chieftaincies in 2018 and 2019. Is it a coincidence that Professor Kabiru Mato was in Zangon Kataf on the evening that Mr. Yusuf Magaji was callously slaughtered? It should also be asked whether the Kaduna State Government questioned Professor Kabiru Mato on why he took the COVID-19 palliatives meant for the entire Zangon Kataf Local Government Area to Zangon Kataf town, from where he distributed them, instead of to Zonkwa, the Local Government Headquarters, and why he denied the Atyap Wards the palliatives.
- Pretending that all the matters already addressed by previous governments and the resolutions reached and implemented by previous administrations in Kaduna state had not happened, the statement by Mr. Muyiwa Adekeye that the government will do its “utmost to bring to closure” to issues that had supposedly “lingered unresolved”, smacks of a grand scheme against the Atyap. Exhuming the dead letter of the 1992 Cudjoe report and invoking a White Paper on that jaundiced and unrepentantly biased report, makes our fears of sinister motives by the Kaduna State Government quite cogent. Why are they writing a White Paper on the Cudjoe commission report after all its recommendations had been implemented by previous administrations? Our fears are reinforced by the fact that Muyiwa Adekeye’s June 30, 2020 statement claims that there was no White Paper on the Usman Muazu Report, when in fact the Kaduna State Government had on July 4, 2000 publicly announced that it would faithfully implement the decisions in the Kaduna State Government White Paper on the AVM Usman Muazu Report. Why then are they writing another White Paper 25 years after the original White Paper was written?
From the foregoing it is manifestly clear that the El-Rufai Government of Kaduna State has no justifiable reason to set up another White Paper Drafting Committee when;
(i) The recommendations of the Justice Rahila Cudjoe Commission have been fully implemented.
(ii) The Government of Kaduna State had already produced a White Paper from the AVM Muazu Reconciliation Committee Report, which past Governments of Kaduna State have been implementing since 1995.
(iii) The only outstanding issues on this White Paper are:
a) The actualisation of the Buffer Zone
b) The actualisation of the Irrigation Project
c) Actualisation of the Atak Jei Residential Layout which was produced and approved on 12th April 2010 by the former Governor of Kaduna State which will foster integration in the Community as envisaged by the AVM Usman Muazu Committee.
SULE TINAT BODAM
Atyap Community Development Association
16TH JULY, 2020