By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
The Kaduna State Executive Council has resolved to find a permanent solution to the perennial crises that keep erupting in Zangon Kataf local government area.
A statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye on Monday, said that the State Government set up a committee to draft a White Paper on the two reports of the Justice Rahila Cudjoe Commission of Inquiry into the Zangon-Kataf riots of February and May 1992.
The statement further said that the White Paper drafting committee ‘’will also consider the 1995 report of the Zangon-Kataf Reconciliation Committee, chaired by Air Vice Marshall Usman Muazu.’’
Adekeye recalled that ‘’violent clashes broke out in Zangon-Kataf LGA on 11th June 2020, between two communities that were reportedly disputing over ownership of farmlands whose place in the conflict is mentioned in the 1992 and 1995 reports.’’
The Special Adviser said that recommendations in both the Justice Cudjoe Commission of Inquiry and the Air Vice Marshall Mu’azu reports have not received comprehensive response or attention.
According to him, ‘’no White Paper was drafted or adopted by the Dabo Lere government that established the Justice Cudjoe Commission and the Colonel Lawal Jafar Isa government that appointed the AVM Muazu Reconciliation Committee.’’
The statement recalled that the February 1992 riots in Zangon-Kataf LGA led to 95 deaths and injuries to 233 persons.
‘’In the May 1992 riots, the death toll increased, with 1,528 persons killed in Zangon-Kataf and 305 others in Zaria, Ikara and other parts of the state to which the rioting spread,’’ Adekeye reminded.
The Special Adviser noted that the Federal Government of General Ibrahim Babangida detained and prosecuted some persons.
‘’But the elected government of Kaduna State, led by Alhaji Dabo Lere, did not produce a White Paper to set out its official position on the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry.
‘’On 30thNovember 1994, the military administrator of Kaduna State, Colonel Lawal Jafar Isa, appointed the Committee for Reconciliation and Search for Peace in Zangon-Kataf community, under the chairmanship of AVM Usman Muazu, himself a former governor of the state, with equal representation from the Atyap and Hausa communities,’’ he added.
The AVM Muazu Reconciliation Committee could not resolve three burning issues, including ‘’ownership of disputed farmlands, release of White Paper on the report of the Cudjoe Commission of Inquiry and the release of detainees.’’
‘’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.
‘’This compelled the State Government to impose a 24-hour curfew on the two LGAs, to contain the crisis and enable the return of law and order,’’ the statement added.
According to Adekeye, ‘’it is unacceptable that one of the factors identified by the Justice Cudjoe Commission as an immediate cause of the 1992 carnage in Zangon-Kataf is still a trigger for murder and unlawful conduct, 28 years after that tragedy. ‘’
‘’Therefore, the Kaduna State Government considers it vital for the promotion of peace and harmony and the rule of law that a comprehensive position be taken on the recommendations of the Justice Cudjoe Commission and the AVM Muazu Reconciliation Committee,’’ he added.
The Special Adviser said that ‘’the first step in this process is the constitution of a committee to draft a White Paper on the reports for the consideration of the Kaduna State Executive Council.’’
The eight-member committee comprises Adamu Mansur, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Human Services; Chris Umar Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice and Abdullahi Sani, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs.
The rest members of the committee are Habiba Shekarau, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing & Urban Development; Ibrahim Jere Permanent Secretary, Public Service Office and Phoebe Yayi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education as well as Aisha K. Mohammed, Permanent Secretary, Civil Service Commission and Bulus Audu Senior Special Assistant at the Kaduna Geographic Information Service(KADGIS)
The statement which said that the committee has six weeks to submit its report, argued that ‘’events of 11thand 12th June 2020 in Zangon-Kataf and Kauru local governments offer compelling evidence that these persistent contentions over farmlands is a conflict trigger that has to be boldly addressed, rather than wished away.’’