Wednesday, 01 October 2014

The numerous Chiefdoms of Kaduna State

Fri, 08/31/2012 - 16:49 -- publisher
Written By: 
Rana BAYOK, Kaduna

For a little more than a decade, Southern Kaduna (known before as Southern Zaria) was embroiled in an unending series of conflicts. The tension in the area between the indigenous groups, and the Hausa/Fulani rulers had not really been attended to.

For a little more than a decade, Southern Kaduna (known before as Southern Zaria) was embroiled in an unending series of conflicts.  The tension in the area between the indigenous groups, and the Hausa/Fulani rulers had not really been attended to.
In 1989, at the College of Education in Kafanchan, Christian Students were holding a rally (or crusade).  The preacher had quoted from the Koran to the largely Christian audience.  A female Muslim student, who was passing thought that the Preacher was misquoting the Koran.  She ran up to the preacher and seized the microphone.
Hell broke loose.  The ensuing riots spread to Kaduna, Zaria, Bauchi and other northern cities.  Muslim fanatics went on revenge for the alleged killing of Muslims in Southern Zaria. 
Then in 1992 February, the first major riot broke out between the Hausa and Kataf people in Zango.  The situation seemed to have been brought under control – and for a few months, there was an uneasy peace.  Then the very big eruption of violence in June of that year which completely brought down Zango – a Hausa settlement, which served as the headquarters of Zangon Kataf district.
For about a week decomposing corpses could still be found.  Several prominent Kataf people, including General Lekwot Zamani were picked up and detained.  A military tribunal was set up to try the ring leaders.  They were convicted by the Okadigbo tribunal – but the sentences were commuted just before General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida was chased out of office.
In the year 2000, the Emir of Jemaa, (Kafanchan)died.  His son Muhammed was immediately appointed Emir.  The indigenous people of the area protested.  They said that the appointment was illegal – and asked the then military administrator, Colonel UF Ahmed to reorganize the chiefdom.  This was not done immediately.  By the year 2001, another very violent riot broke out.  Properties and lives were destroyed.
Why such violence
The area called Southern Kaduna is largely inhabited by minority ethnics – which had successfully resisted the Usman Dan Fodio Jihad. The emirates had established administrative systems which these ethnic minorities lacked – and so the colonial authorities decided to extend the rule of the emirates over these minority groups to facilitate the collection of taxes and other administrative duties.  District heads or rulers were posted from the seat of the Emirate in Zaria to the minority areas.  Effectively, by the time the colonial authorities were handing over power, Muslim traditional rulers were presiding over groups and areas which were largely Christian.  Demands for freedom, or if you like, independent chiefdoms were rebuffed by the immediate post colonial governments and the succeeding military governments.  Largely because majority of these ethnic groups had become Christians, and their rulers were Muslims, any disagreement between the rulers and the ruled automatically took on the colours of religion.The numerous conflicts, deaths and destructions led the military authorities in Kaduna state in the nineties to roll back the gains made by the Zaria emirate during the colonial era.  Colonel Lawal Isa Jaafaru, a Muslim from Kano state started the process of creating chiefdoms for the monitory groups, and effectively removing them from the rule of Zaria. 
The civilian government of Senator Makarfu continued the process of creating chiefdoms, At the last count, 29 chiefdoms have been created.  Each of the chiefdoms have created districts.  There are so many ‘dogorais’ who – prowl the streets welding horsewhips (koboko).
Since the year 2001, Southern Kaduna has been peaceful.  The Hotels in Kafanchan are booming again.  The disco halls have opened up and the issue is no longer Hausa Fulani domination. The various groups are struggling for supremacy and means of living together.
The greatest ‘victim’ of the peace that has pervaded Southern Kaduna Senatorial District in Kaduna State is Zangon Kataf.  Efforts to rebuild Zangon Kataf have not been completely successful.  A few of the displaced families have returned.  Those who returned, however, would have met new more modern buildings, new paved streets.  No more is the bustling market. The Hausa and Fulani people in the area do not live under the tension and pressure of yester years.


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