…Frowns at Atyap’s “quit notice” to Fulanis.
…Says, Fulanis are in Zango as refugees due to Atyap atrocities to them.
…Calls for full implementation of White Papers’ reports.
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Zango Urban Development Association (ZUDA), an Hausa community in Zangon-Kataf LG areas of southern part of Kaduna State, has opened up on reasons for the age long ethno-religious crises and killings in the area.
ZUDA also faulted Atyap Community Development Association (ACDA) on some statements it made in a recent press conference held in Kaduna State, otherwise referred to as “World Press Conference.”
The association, in a rejoinder against the press conference addressed by ACDA President, Comrade Samuel T. Achie, on 7th February, 2022, noted that there were certain allegations and mischief made against the Hausa Community of Zango Urban.
In particular, ZUDA faulted the ACDA Press Statement that, “The next will be an attack on their land by the Fulani terrorist militias, who subsequently vanish without any trace of their whereabouts.”
ZUDA argued that the statement appeared contradictory, wondering how someone, who could “vanish without any trace of their whereabouts” be pursued and be seen when they “ran into Zango Urban (Hausa Community) for safety.”
ZUDA emphasized ACDA’s statement, that, ‘The ability of the attacking terrorists to disappear without any trace’ “appears surprising,” even as the body also expressed displeasure over other comments made by ACDA during the press conference.
ZUDA quoted ACDA of saying during the press conference, that, “For peace to be achieved, the Fulanis in Zango Urban should be advised to leave, as it is strange that the Hausas and the Fulanis, who have never stayed together, as is the case now.”
The rejoinder, dated 11th February, 2022, and made available to journalists Friday night also stated that, “It’s very shocking and surprising to ZUDA and the entire Hausa community of Zango Urban that the World Press Conference by the ACDA President is coming at exactly 30 years after invasion and attack on Zango Urban Hausa Community by the Katafs.”
ZUDA maintained that it was an “event that started the genocide and total annihilation of the Hausas in Zango till today,” saying, “Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, the Zango Urban Development Association (ZUDA) would have issued a statement condemning the renewed attack on Atyapland and commiserating with them as well as praying for the repose of the dead and quick recovery of the injured, when our attention was drawn to a World Press Conference by the Atyap Community Development Association (ACDA), led by its National President, Comrade Samuel T. Achie; dated 7th February, 2022.
“It is unfortunate that the National President hosted the World Press Conference and said many things which, in our opinion, is their own side of the story.
“We could have ignored him and went ahead with our plan of the statement but, certain allegations and mischief against our community (Hausa Community of Zango Urban) made us to respond and state categorically our understanding of the entire conference and what it entails,” it stated.
ZUDA also quoted ACDA’s statement, thus: “All sons and daughters of Atyapland believed that the Fulanis are either recruited or served as guides to the perpetrators of these killings in their land. Whenever there is an attack and the attackers are pursued by our people, they ran into Zango for safety with the Hausas.
“One would wonder why the contradiction in these statements and also think how someone, who could ‘vanish without any trace of their whereabouts’ be pursued and be seen when they “ran into Zango for safety.” “Isn’t that laughable?”
While condemning the barbaric act, ZUDA prayed that the innocent souls of the departed rest in perfect peace, and also wished a quick recovery to all those who got injured.
“We also enjoin the government and the security agencies to do the needful and quickly look into this, and act fast on all the prayers and wishes contained in the text presented by the ACDA National President at the World Press Conference.”
On the attacks on the Atyap people, ZUDA stated that, the Hausas of Zango Urban were neither involved in, implicated nor alleged to have either carried out or participated in this dastardly act.
“We cannot speak for the Fulanis but our expectation was that the Atyap people should have used the medium to say exactly what led to their renewed attacks after some period of relative peace between them and their Fulani friends.
“We want to believe that ‘there is no smoke without fire.’ At this juncture, we want to call on the government and the security agencies (who were joined in the accusation of the attacks) to make public their own side of the story and what brought about the carnage after their fruitful effort to return peace to the area that would give way for further discussion and mediation for a lasting peace.
“We are not unmindful of the plan by the Atyap people to convince the security forces to withdraw their troops from Zango Urban Town through propaganda, allegations, misrepresentations and falsehoods.
“We are also aware of the effected withdrawal of the Strike Force of the Nigerian Air Force out of Zango to Gora Gan and the planned movement of the already redeployed unit of the Operation Safe Haven, who were recently redeployed back to Zango and stationed at the General Hospital for strategic and logistic reasons from the place to another location, all in an effort to make Zango to be without any security for them to achieve their planned action.
“It is pertinent to note that at the moment, all major villages and settlements in Atyap Chiefdom have some security forces attached to them. It is on record that even with those forces in Zango Urban Town, the Kataf militia planned and or attacked Zango Urban Town five times, which were either uncovered and or neutralized in 2021 alone. These include the most widely reported attack on our District Head’s residence and some parts of the town as well as that of the entire town, on the 22nd April and 7th August, 2021, respectively.
“In those attacks, lives were lost, some people were wounded, houses were razed and many properties were destroyed. Then, why the demand for the removal of the security forces out of Zango and, who can say what would happen, if their plans and desires were achieved and these troops were completely removed from the town? Could it be that the Atyap people want to do to Zango Urban Town like they did to the Hausa Community of Kachecchere?
“It is no longer news that some bodies of the neutralised attackers of the 7th August, 2021, in Zango Town that were recovered by the military and, whose names were given as Jacob Maye, Kinsley John from Unguwan Juju and Ezekiel Zamani from Kurmin Masara, all identified to be Atyap people; also, another attacker named Kauna Tonak from Kurmin Masara, some die in hospital.
“On another attack, the military forces also repelled them and arrested three of attackers identified as Avong, Bobai and Ellie and, coincidentally, all of them are Atyap youth from Magamiya. We wonder why ACDA, since then, instead of calling their youths to order, was trying to deny all these when both those that lost their lives and those that were arrested were from the Atyap extraction,” it stated.
ZUDA stated that, “It was also reported in a statement by government and the security forces that on 29th September, 2021, the entire village of Kachecchere in Zangon Kataf LGA, with a Muslim Hausa/Fulani population was sacked and displaced.
“Nine residents of the village, including the Village Head of the area, Malam Abu Mai Riga, were gruesomely killed by the militia. In the following day, the whole village was razed down by the Militia. As we speak at the moment, Kachecchere Village was completely sacked by the Kataf people, as the survivors are currently living as IDPs in Zango and Kafanchan.
“We also want to put on record that the aim of Atyap Militia and their sponsors is to rid the Atyap Chiefdom of Hausa and Fulani Muslims because their actions had said a lot about their hidden agenda and plans.
“Just recently, on Monday the 24th of January, 2022, the Atyap militia invaded, attacked and disrupted market activities at the Bakin Kogi, in Chawai Chiefdom of Kauru LGA. The reason given was they followed the Fulani attackers, who were being harboured there. They also invaded and attacked Doka Chawai on Sunday, 30th January, 2022, after the attack of Kurmin Masara, over the same allegations and reasons. One would then ask: whether these villages and settlements were around or close to Zango Urban Town, or even shared any border with it?
“On the settlement of Fulanis in Zango, we have said many times that it is true we are not used to staying together but, where were they before and why are they staying with us at the moment? The Fulanis were staying and used to stay with you (the Katafs).
“They are staying with us as refugees because of the Atyap atrocities to them and wish that they be allowed to go back to their respective settlements for our peace and even the health challenge their stay has brought,” they added.
ZUDA also revealed that, “On Wednesday, 8th of December, 2021, the Atyap Paramount Ruler invited their District Head and some selected people within the Hausa community of Zango Urban for a meeting with his Council and all the District Heads and their Scribes, including some selected Village Heads, and representatives of ACDA, and a host of others, without a single Fulani man or their representative at the meeting.
“The meeting discussed many issues relating to the crises in Atyap Chiefdom and the way forward. The meeting would have ended in deadlock, if not for the respect of the palace and the contributions of some elders and leaders.
“While we respect and appreciate the Paramount Ruler, the Agwatyap, on his efforts to restore peace and an enduring atmosphere for all, we also fault the way and manner he handled the meeting and some of his directives.
“The statement by the ACDA President further buttress the directives of the Agwatyap at the meeting; that the people of Zango Urban should go and drive away the Fulanis out of Zango without him telling the Hausas where to tell them to go. We see this as a calculated attempt to further compound issues and not a panacea for the challenge or a way for smooth mediation, reconciliation and peace process.
“It is our general belief that the Atyap people tend to forget what keeps us together and are generally selfish to now only remember what distinguishes us as a people.
“Their selfishness and attitude tend to make them forget their aggression and atrocities as well as their contribution to these crises that have now lasted 3 decades today.
“Instead of them to go the way of history of the past happenings, as it affects the present, to be able to find a truthful and earnest solution for a better tomorrow, they resorted to distortion of truth, changing of narratives and blame games. Too bad.
“Peace is sustained only through sincerity of purpose, justice and fairness and, these elements are not for only the word of mouth but in thoughts, plans and actions; only these would set the pace for peace process to be implementable and achievable.
“It’s high time we come back and face reality and call a spade a spade. It is enough of these bloodsheds, enough of these destructions and enough of this enmity, which is an ill-wind that blows all of us no good.
“We want to call on the ACDA and the Atyap people to face the truth and lie low to accept their mistakes, misgivings and earlier aggression, which culminated into these incessant attacks on their villages and settlements.
“They should also go back to the drawing-board and seek out their differences and reconcile with their Fulani closest neighbours; these would ease the tension and bring about faithful reconciliation,” ZUDA stated.
While thanking and appreciating the activities of the security forces in combating the crises and calling on them to do more without fair or favour, ZUDA enjoined them to investigate these claims and allegations with a view to fishing out the perpetrators wherever they hide, so that they can face the wrath of the law, saying, “We are of the firm belief that they have the capacity to do more than that.”
It also called on government to fast-track the full implementation of the already released White Papers on the Justice Rahila Cudjoe Reports of the 1992 Zangon Kataf Crises and the AVM Usman Mu’azu Reconciliation Committee Report, saying, “These, in no small measures, would solve and resolve many areas of conflict that kept on lingering these crises up to this time.
“We also pray and call on the Government to continue to support these security agencies with all it takes to bring these crises to an end, as peace-loving people, who are committed to sincere peace in their communities.”