…Atyap community says, “Governor has ulterior motives.”
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
KADUNA STATE – The age-long crises rocking Zangon-Kataf local government area of southern Kaduna in Kaduna state has taken a new dimension, following the acrimony and outright rejection, by the Atyap community, of the current white paper set up by the administration of Governor Nasir el-Rufai.
Addressing journalists in Kaduna on Thursday, Atyap Community Development Association, ACDA, kicked against the rationale for setting up another white paper committee on crises, which had been resolved by committees set up in 1992 and 1995 by the previous administration.
Presenting the speech, ACDA’s national Secretary-General, Sule Tinat Bodam, said Muyiwa Adekeye, the Special Adviser on Media and Communications to Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rurai, issued a statement, on 29th June 2020, informing the public that the Kaduna State Government had set up a White Paper Committee on 1992 Zangon-Kataf Crisis.
ACDA said “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.
“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,’” they said, adding that “the statement is calculated to misinform the public, as it is quite false.”
The government, according to ACDA, 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.”
The association lamented that 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 benefit 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.
“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 youths demanding an investigation into the gruesome murder of a young teacher the previous day.
“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.
“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 the recommendations of the Justice Rahila Cudjoe Commission have been fully implemented.”