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Suspicion as Adara People Reject el-Rufai’s Planned Traditional Institutions Reform Agenda

…Says, “It’s Gov el-Rufai’s special hidden agenda against Adara nation.”

 by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

The Adara nation, the second largest ethnic nationality in Kaduna State, which claims a population of 1 million, and occupies Kachia and Kajuru local government areas (LGAs) in southern part of the state, has rejected with suspicion, a proposed legislation by Kaduna State Government seeking to make drastic changes in the traditional institutions in the state.

In a statement issued in Kaduna on Sunday after its congress and signed by the National President of Adara Development Association (ADA), Mr. Dio Awemi Maisamari, accused Governor Nasir el-Rufai of “harbouring a hidden agenda” against the Adara nation and majority Christian domains of Kaduna State under the guise of ‘reform bill.’ 

The statement reads in part: “The Kaduna State Government circulated a draft bill with a covering letter, dated 19th March, 2021, signed by the Commissioner of Local Government Affairs marked ‘top secret.’

“The bill is titled ‘A bill for a law for the traditional institution in Kaduna State, 2021,’ ” the ADA said.

According to ADA, “The state government claims that the bill is intended to ‘restore the fading glory of traditional institutions’ and to make them serve the people better.

That statement averred that, ADA totally rejects the law on ground that it’s a continuation and intensification of the unjust and unpopular restructuring of the institutions El-Rufai started earlier, specifically targeting traditional institutions in Southern Kaduna. 

“It is a continuation and intensification of the unjust and unpopular restructuring of traditional institutions, which started in 2017, and targeted traditional institutions in Southern Kaduna.

“Going by previous experience, government will not listen to the opinions and wishes of non-Muslim communities in this process as it did in the past.

“We cannot find any provisions in the law that will restore the glory of traditional institutions or make them serve the people better. Rather, there are sections that will alienate, cage and stifle them. They will be exposed to excessive politicization, manipulation and intimidation,” the ADA claimed.

“The appointment of traditional rulers will virtually be taken over by politicians as customary due processes are not recognized and respected in the bill,” the ADA further observed.

The law, it maintained, “is seeking to enforce uniformity in Muslim and non-Muslim traditional institutions, which are fundamentally different,” adding that “the law will also subordinate, suppress and relegate non-Muslim traditional rulers to a permanent weak and inferior position.

“Finally, we oppose the new law, because it has finally revealed Governor el-Rufai’s special hidden agenda against Adara nation and Adaraland. 

“The new law will legalize the unjust scrapping of our 1st Class Traditional Institution, legalize the balkanization of our community, legalize the suppression of our identity, history, culture and religion and also legalize the degrading, humiliation and marginalization of Adara being the second largest nationality in the state. 

“Furthermore, it will facilitate the implanting of other peoples to rule over Adara people and take over Adaraland,” the ADA added.

ADA insisted that, “In view of the above, we are totally opposed to the draft bill as it will heighten social injustice, communal frictions, social disharmony and retarded development. We also fear that present democratic structures will be compromised to rubber-stamp the new law.”

The association, therefore, called on Kaduna State Government to widen consultation with all relevant stakeholders in the state with the view of seeking for acceptable reforms in the traditional institutions in the state, not via an executive bill, which it said served the best interest of only one section of the state.

Findings revealed that, “The ADA and el-Rufai have been at loggerheads for years now. Recall that the slain paramount ruler of Adaraland, the Agom Adara, Dr. Maiwada Galadima, was ambushed in October, 2018, on the Kaduna-Kachia expressway, abducted and killed after a ransom was paid for his release. Shortly after his death, the Adara Traditional Council and the Adara Chiefdom were abolished and, instead, a Kajuru Emirate created, even when Muslims make less than 5% of the population of  Kajuru LGA,” as ADA claimed. 

“In December, 2018, the ADA addressed a press conference and rejected the new developments. ADA also insisted that Kaduna State Government could not be absolved from complicity in the murder of their Royal Father, an allegation that Kaduna State Government refuted. 

“In 2019, the Wazirin Adara, Engr. Bawa Magaji, who the Adara officially regard as the Acting Traditional Leader of Adara nation, the President of ADA, Mr Awemi Dio Maisamari, and seven other most respectable leaders of Adaraland were arrested and detained in Kaduna Prison for 120 days. Police investigation later cleared them against allegations of any wrongdoing.”

Efforts to clarify facts from Ibrahim Musa, who is media aide to Governor El-Rufai failed, as he could not respond till press time.

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