Kaduna Govt sets up White Paper Committee on Zangon-Kataf crisis

June 29, 2020
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The Kaduna State Government has set up a White Paper drafting committee in its efforts to find a permanent solution to the perennial crises in Zagon-Kataf Local  Government Area.

The government said this in a statement issued by Mr Muyiwa Adekeye, the Special Adviser on Media and Communication to Gov. Nasir El-Rufa’i, on Monday in Kaduna.

Adekeye explained that the committee was set 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.

According to him, the 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 June 11, 2020, between the 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 had 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 retired Col. Lawal Jafaru Isa administration 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 inflicted on 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 riot spread,’’ Adekeye reminded.

The special adviser noted that the Federal Military Government of retired Gen. 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 30th November 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 recalled.

Adekeye said that 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 June 11.

‘’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 comprised 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.

Other members of the committee include Habiba Shekarau, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development; Ibrahim Jere, Permanent Secretary, Public Service Office; and    Phoebe Yayi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education.

Aisha Mohammed, Permanent Secretary, Civil Service Commission; and Bulus Audu, Senior Special Assistant at the Kaduna Geographic Information Service (KADGIS) would also serve on the committee.

According to Adakeye, the committee has six weeks to submit the draft.

He however stated that events of June 11 and 12, 2020, in Zangon-Kataf and Kauru local governments offered compelling evidence that the persistent contentions over farmlands ”is a conflict trigger that has to be boldly addressed, rather than wished away’’.

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