their heritage but remained amidst bullying and annihilations.
For want of proof, M. G. Smith’s Government in Zazzau: 1800 – 1950 (1960) conveys the accounts of how hundreds of able-bodied youth from the area of present-day Southern Kaduna were lined up in chains yearly to Zazzau as annual
tributes and further carried to Sakwatto, Kano, and the rest of the old Hausa states, with some reaching Sierra Leone and the Americas in the 1800s. Besides, when the British colonial rule compelled Africans to pay taxes, oral stories and history books have it that the feudal Fulbe (Fulani) and Hausa Chiefs would break open the food storehouse of the then Southern Zaria people to feed their
donkeys and horses with the hard to get grains in the guise of penalty for delayed or non-payment of taxes.
Given the above painful realities of the crackdown of the peoples of the current Southern Kaduna, the all-important question to ask is how do we walk the road to peace and reconciliation trying to hide the truth? While I give Elrufai’s government the benefit of doubt about its pursuit of a White Paper for ‘Zangon’ Atyap crisis, truth-
telling is critical for Southern Kaduna peoples to heal and to achieve a healthier and
reconciled society. Without an understanding of the excruciating past highlighted above, we cannot
profoundly move forward. And without truth, there can be no genuine peace. That is why the Elrufai led government’s decision not to work with the Southern Kaduna Peoples’ Union (SOKAPU) to follow a peace development plan since its inauguration has dealt a huge blow to the already existing peace in addition to the government’s open disdain towards the people of Southern Kaduna in terms of security, projects,
Without a doubt, the history of the about 64 different indigenous ethnic groups that make up the non-Hausa and non-Fulbe of Kaduna state extends back to time age-
old. Accordingly, it is on record that the arrival of the Hausa and Fulbe to settle in the area began, in earnest, at the start of Othman Dan Fodio’s Jihad (1804). Yet the
injustices perpetuated against ancestral owners of the land that is, today, Southern Kaduna in the past 200 years, are often suppressed from the public domain, except
for the colonial government’s archives.
The massacres, enslavements, deprivation, and denial of rights, lopsided policies and selective integration of other groups in preference to others have continued, but in a different form. For instance, while the town of Kafanchan was plausibly established by railway workers, mostly the Igbo, Yoruba, Idoma, Tiv, Igala, and other railway workers from the year 1923, Jama’a (the Hausa settlement), nevertheless,
was moved from Tadon (Madakiya) to its current location only in 1933.
If the Southern Kaduna people are not peace-loving, why have they not been engaged in conflicts with other groups such as the Igbo, the Yoruba, the Tiv, etcetera?
My analysis is that the problem in the Southern part of Kaduna is not
religious, but lies in the fact that the Hausa and Fulbe groups, for generations and ongoing, have always sought to short change the groups they met at the point of
arrival and one of the methods they have employed is to make false claims of being the landlords.
When a person dishonestly wants to take what belongs to another, such a move, invariably, instigates a crisis and that is the situation that Kaduna state has found itself. And while the injustices of the past cannot be undone, as we cannot reverse history, what we can do is not to try to distort records to favour the oppressor as that
is double injustice.
To me, as the Black Lives Matter movement challenges structural inequalities, the people groups of Southern Kaduna seek a truth-telling process about their being in
this locality for centuries before the arrival of the Fulbe and later the Hausa as a genuine commitment towards justice for the persecuted southern Kaduna people, allowing their stories, hardly ever told, to be heard. Even though the committee set up by Governor Elrufai to draft a White Paper is already working, if the state is truly committed to justice and equality for all,
promoting reconciliation in the state, truth-telling is essential to the attainment of the stated aim of the White Paper and other community actions. As the saying goes,
there cannot be peace without truth and there cannot be justice without truth.
Besides, the cheering news is that history has shown, the world over, that truth and reconciliation commissions have aided bruised societies to heal and recover from
ruptures and injuries, for example, South Africa after apartheid and recently the ‘justice’ the victims of the Kenyan Mau-Mau uprisings got when the United Kingdom’s government established a commission to look into the complaints of injustices
committed against the Kenyans, whose land dispute sparked off the Mau-Mau uprising in the 1950s.
As demonstrated by the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague’s statement on 6th June, 2013 that the UK government recognised Kenyans were
tortured and it “sincerely regrets” the abuses that took place following the deaths of
thousands of people killed during the Mau-Mau revolt against British rule in Kenya in the 1950s, my firm belief is that the Kaduna State government’s commitment to a
truth-telling process could forge an equitable society that embraces people irrespective of their origin, faith, or creed. As Truth is the property of being in harmony with fact or reality, I dare to speak the
truths of the past, the truths of present-day Kaduna state’s population as I strongly believe that now is the time for truth in Kaduna state as a solution to the continued wanton destruction of lives and properties in the state.
Copyright July 2020.