…“It has not been as bad as now,” – Ex Dep. Gov.
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Former governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Mukhtar Ramaran Yero, has revealed the reasons why no Christian would like to reside in Muslim predominant communities in Kaduna metropolis like Rigasa, Kawo and other areas today.
Earlier, in a paper titled, ‘The Kaduna of Our Dream,’ the presenter, Professor John La’ah, gave a holistic analysis of Kaduna of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
He made the revelation in a remark as a panelist at a symposium organized by Liturgical and Social Justice Mission Kaduna, Kaduna Archdiocese Social Communication Departments and Media Service Centre, to mark the International Day of Peace 2022 at the Catholic Centre, Kaduna, on Wednesday.
Dr. Yero, who was governor on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), attributed the current division among Muslims and Christians in the state to lack of continuity of good policies of previous government by the current administration.
Ramadan Yero, who became the governor of Kaduna State in December, 2012, following the death of Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa in a helicopter crash in Bayelsa State, traced the problem to serious ethno-religious crises, which occurred in year 2000 under the administration of Governor Ahamed Mohammed Makarfi.
He noted that, even though there were Zangon Kataf riots, Kafanchan crises, amongst other challenges, the year 2000 ethno-religious upheaval was the major crises that started the current separation in Kaduna main town.
According to him, “Immediately after the 2000 crises, Kaduna South became predominately Christians, beginning from Barnawa, after River Kaduna Bridge, while Kaduna North became predominantly Muslim in population.”
He recalled that, before the 2000 crises Christians and Muslims were leaving together, sighting example of the father of his banker friend, who was Christian, and was voted as Ward Head in Rigasa by the entire people of the area.
Yero lamented that, till date, each time he passed through his banker’s father’s friend house located in Rigasa, the bitter memory of the family always left him in tears, and made him to imagine how no Christian could afford to live in Rigasa anymore.
“It’s not possible for Christians to live in Rigasa now; same thing with Kawo and other places mentioned; why?” he said.
He noted that, when Igbos, Yoruba and all other tribes that are Christian began to move from Kaduna North to Kaduna South, the then Governor Makarfi created two communities to help dowse the tension. “At that time, Makarfi felt that there was need for him to create two committees, which help us resolved so many crises,” he said.
“One was a religious harmony community comprising all religious leaders in the state, which was sitting once in every three months, with the Governor himself always presiding.”
He said other successive administrations of Governor Namadi Sambo, late Ibrahim Patrick Yakowa and Ramaran Yero himself, inherited and continued with the committees when they assumed the mantle of leadership.
Yero disclosed that, Makarfi also created two Bureaus – for Christian and Muslim religious matters, adding that the two communities assisted a lot in solving so many crises until the time he left office for Governor Nasir el-Rufai in 2015 after election.
He, however, expressed dismay, if the current administration continued with the policies that had assisted in no small way in restoring and maintaining peace and harmony among the diverse ethnics and religious in the state, adding that, “It would have also helped greatly in the area of insecurity, if they had continued with it till date.”
Accordingly, he said the creation of chiefdoms at that time also assisted greatly in dowsing the tension and solving some of the problems. He also stressed that, even though there were, however, some challenges – including the aftermath of the 2011 presidential elections – but were not contained by setting up 70-man committee by Yakowa administration.
Earlier, the former Youth Development and Sports Commissioner, Dr. Shehu Adamu, who represented Governor Makarfi, said ignoring the traditional and religious institutions that were prioritized further denied the state of peace, adding that, “Majority of the previous religious crises were tackled through the creation of chiefdoms.”
He also lamented that, the current administration did not see the need to continue with the Operation Yaki security body created by the then Governor Namadi Sambo, which would have taken care of Kaduna-Abuja highway and Birnin Gwari Road security challenges, saying, the focus was on peace and security during Makarfi regime.
Also speaking, former Kaduna Deputy Governor, Mr. James Bawa Magaji, and his principal, Alhaji Dabo Lere, of NRC party, said they created a permanent peace committee during their time at state and all the LGAs, even though, there were no too much challenges of crises.
He, however, blamed to current government on the challenges, saying, everything centred on good LEADERSHIP, many did not understand. “Once you have good leadership, everything will fall in line. Transparency of leaders is the best,” pointing out that “Even though, every regime had its challenges, it was not as bad as now,” he said.
Several other personalities present include former Minister, Loretta Mallam, who blamed church and government’s taking over of mission schools and rubbished some.
She also lamented on the issue of the closing down of Christian Chapel in ABU, without seen much of the governor’s intervention and efforts in the matter, with a view to reopening it for Christian worshippers residing in the place.