The Director, Media and Publicity of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Kaduna branch, Ibrahim Bayero Zango says Southern Kaduna does not belong to a particular ethnic group. The spokesman in an interview with the Assistant Editor LEKE SALAUDEEN says all ethnic groups, including Hausa/Fulani, are being killed in Southern Kaduna.
What is responsible for the incessant killing in Southern Kaduna?
The people of Southern Kaduna are divided along religious and political lines.
The Kataf and other tribes in Southern Kaduna are supporters of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). Most of the Hausa/Fulani population in Southern Kaduna has sympathy for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
That is why people look at issues from a political or religious point of view. The Kataf don’t see anything good in the administration of Governor Nasir el-Rufai, simply because he is a Fulani man.
They believe it is Hausa/Fulani that made them lose power. They just attack our people for what I will describe as a transfer of aggression.
Again, these people are mostly Christians, while we are Muslims. They don’t want to have anything to do with Muslims. I don’t know why we should allow religion to divide us.
There is no religion that preaches discrimination. We should live together peacefully for the progress and development of society. We should not see ourselves as enemies because of religious differences.
What is your comment to the accusation of those who claim to be indigenes of Southern Kaduna that the Hausa/Fulani are invading and occupying their land and communities?
Which land? There is no land in Southern Kaduna that belongs to a particular tribe, group or religion.
The entire land of the area belongs to the people of Southern Kaduna of which we are part of. No one can deny the fact that Hausa/Fulani are among the indigenous tribes of the Southern Kaduna.
All the tribes in Southern Kaduna are immigrants. They were not there before us. Our forefathers had lived in Kaduna for more than three centuries.
They were there before the jihad. It is wrong for any tribe to claim that the area belongs solely to them. The earlier we face this reality the better for us in Southern Kaduna.
They have always been accusing Fulanis of invading and occupying their lands. They should please come and tell the whole world which of their lands have been taken over by Hausa/Fulani.
Can you mention towns and communities in the area that belong to Hausa/Fulani?
Let me tell you that most of the historical towns or communities in Southern Kaduna belong to the Hausa and Fulani people.
We are not strangers or settlers as the Kataf and other tribes will want people to believe. For instance, the oldest towns or communities like Kajuru, Kaceccere, Zango Town, Matsirga, Kafanchan belong to the Hausa/Fulani.
Even communities like Tashan Daji, Dutsen Bako, Zankuwa, Kagarko, Jere, Janjala, Tafa, Walijo, Maraban Walijo, Gumel, Ungwan Rimi among others occupied by the Christians today initially belonged to Hausa/Fulani.
As a result of sectarian crises, the Hausa/Fulani were forced out of these communities and they have been taken over by the Christians.
After taking over the communities, they have renamed them. For example, they have renamed Tashan Daji as KamuruIkulu and Ungwan Rimi is now called Ungwan Rimi Bajju. To prove to you that the Hausa/Fulani are indigenes, the oldest traditional institution in the area which is Jama’a Emirate belongs to the Hausa/Fulani.
That is why we have the Emir of Jama’a as the oldest traditional title in Southern Kaduna. The emirate belongs to Hausa/Fulani. Besides, the Chief of Tsam chiefdom is a Muslim, the Chief of Kauru is a Muslim, the Chief of Ayu is a Muslim, the Chief of Kagarko is a Muslim and the Chief of Jere is a Muslim.
The Emir of Kajuru is a Muslim. So, there are some many communities and towns and emirates that belong to Hausas and Fulanis Muslims in Southern Kaduna.
Are the bandits killing people from within or outside Southern Kaduna?
Those that perpetrate the initial killing are the ones responsible for the ongoing killings. The Hausa/Fulani Muslims were killed in June by Kataf religious fanatics, following a dispute on a piece of land between the Hausas of Zango town and Kataf community.
We lost many Muslims in the attack. I can show you pictures of their corpses and where they were buried. Up till now, they have not told us the reason for killing innocent Fulani nomads.
Why then are the Fulani being accused of killing people? After all, our people were attacked and forced out of the area. If they can fight and kill why did they run away?
Some of our people ran away and left their cows in the area. Up till now, some of the cows are there wondering in the bush of the affected places.
Some of the cows are being slaughtered by the Kataf for consumption. If not for the curfew they would have sold the cows.
Do you agree with the classification of Fulanis as settlers in Southern Kaduna?
The Fulani of Southern Kaduna are indigenes of the region. No single tribe in Southern Kaduna is more indigenous than us.
It is those tribal and religious fanatics that are describing the Hausa/Fulani of Southern Kaduna as settlers.
The politicians who lost out in power struggle are the ones promoting this wrong impression of describing us as invaders. All these insinuations by the mischief-makers have created the impression that Southern Kaduna is not safe and the habitants cannot live together in peace.
How many Fulanis had been killed by the gunmen?
The killings in Southern Kaduna have affected the Fulanis more than any other tribe in the area. People don’t know this because we live in remote areas.
We don’t have access to the media, and the killings of Fulanis are largely unreported, unlike the other people. Maybe this is because we don’t have many people with Western education. Going by the records, the Fulanis have recorded the highest number of casualties in the recent attacks by the bandits.
Our people have lost over two thousand cows apart from our properties that were burned down to ashes. As a result of the persistent attacks, our people have abandoned the Ladugga grain reserves.
Some of them have fled to Lere Local Government for safety. So, the Fulanis are the worse affected tribe in Southern Kaduna crises.
We have lost 99 lives in Zangokataf Local Government Area alone. We lost 43 lives in Kajuru Local Government Area. We have also lost 15 lives in Kaura Local Government Area and another 11 people have been killed in Jama’a Local Government Area.
All these happened between March and August this year.
What plans do you have to protect your people?
We don’t have any plan to save our people. We rely on the police and other government security agencies. We remain law-abiding and go about our business.
What would you suggest as a lasting solution to the killings in Southern Kaduna?
There will be peace if both the Christians and Muslims are committed to genuine reconciliation; if all of us can see ourselves as brothers and sisters; if we are ready to put behind us religious and ethnic differences. The religious leaders should stop inciting members of their congregation against other religious adherents.