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The blood of Southern Kaduna people from the prism of El-Rufai and NBA | Festus Adedayo

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The social media quaked recently when the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) extended an invitation to the Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai as a participant in its forthcoming annual general election. All of a sudden, vociferous voices rose alleging that the governor was either one of the traducers of the people or abetted this seeming carnage.

Of a truth, the ceaseless killing of innocent
people in his Kaduna enclave has become a huge bother. Gory figures of horrendously murdered people are displayed on social media under what appears like a deafening silence from both the federal and state governments.
As at the last count, thousands have lost their lives to these mindless killings. Southern Kaduna people claim, supported with hard-to-rebut evidence, that their traducers were ethnic ilk of the governor, Fulani, who storm their homes with machetes, guns and other dangerous weapons to wreck these colossal havocs. In a release they issued a few hours ago, they claimed that in the last eight months, 104 communities in Southern Kaduna have been attacked and 400 lives have been lost.

Of a truth, the Southern Kaduna imbroglio is
about 40 years old now. It even nearly cost the life of their icon and founder of Southern Kaduna Elders Forum, General Zamani Lekwot during the Zango Kataf uprising in 1992. Under the duo of Buhari and el-Rufai however, there has been an upswing in the carnage, with Southern Kaduna being visited with an adjudged worst form of carnage in recent history. Hundreds of residents of the area were cruelly murdered by bandits and their corpses litter their homes. Apparently helpless, leaders of Southern Kaduna, which included a lawmaker representing Zagon Kataf/Jaba Federal Constituency, Amos Magaji, have unequivocally claimed that el-Rufai, ostensibly due to his ethnic affiliation to the alleged aggressors, the Fulani, had been abetting the genocide, as well as in the various ethnic and religious clashes bedeviling the area.

While security has generally gone to the dogs
under Muhammadu Buhari, Governor el-Rufai’s comments about the killings in his domain leave much to be desired. To exculpate self from the killings, he once claimed that he had paid huge sums of money to the alleged Fulani killers of the people of Southern Kaduna to secure armistice. In an interview with some
select journalists in his office, the governor claimed that his government traced some aggrieved and decidedly violent Fulani bandits, foreigners he claimed, to their countries and paid them to stop the carnage in Southern Kaduna.

“Some of them were from Niger, Cameroun, Chad, Mali and Senegal… So many of these people were killed, cattle lost and they organized themselves and came back to revenge… We got a group of people that were going round trying to trace some of these people in Cameroun, Niger Republic and so on to tell them that there is a new governor who is Fulani like them and has no problem paying compensations for lives lost and… we paid some,” el-Rufai said. A few days ago, the same governor told the world that the din over the killings by the victims – Southern Kaduna leaders – was due to his refusal to appease the leadership by oiling their palms.

“I have no time for nonsense. I will not appease criminals. I will not appease idle people who have nothing to do but to raise a spectre of genocide. They do that to get money into their bank accounts and get donations from abroad instead of standing up,” el-Rufai announced in an interview on Channels Television’s political programme, Sunday Politics.

To confirm that el-Rufai’s mind is steeped in
divisiveness and culpable abetment, by this comment, it is irrebutable that he had already criminalized Southern Kaduna elders, even without a cogent and verifiable reason. The “new governor who is Fulani like them and has no problem paying compensations” was ready to appease his established genocidal Fulani kinsmen for peace to reign but “had no time for nonsense” and indeed loathed “to appease criminals,” people who are decidedly victims of this carnage.

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The social media-propelled uproar over the nomination of a governor with such a biased mindset on a ceaseless carnage against his people was so high that the NBA, in a resolution at its council meeting, had to withdraw the invitation to the governor. This isn’t actually the news. The news is that, thereafter, Nigeria and her manacles which have prevented an upward mobility began to set in. Some social media apologists demanded that Nyesom Wike, Rivers governor, alleged to be notorious for exhibition of brute brawns rather than his brains, be de-invited as well. Then, Yobe State NBA and some northern lawyers also expressed their intention not to attend the meeting. A group which called itself the Muslim Lawyers’ Association of Nigeria also joined the fray, taking the argument to a very obtuse and ridiculous level. It asked that ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo should be included in the list of those to be barred from speaking at the conference. As I write this, many northern and Islamic-propelled groups have expressed intention not to attend the congress.

On a television programme last week, I was asked that, if Nigeria and Mali people’s situations are not dissimilar as I said, Malians came out en-masse to demand the resignation of Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta as President and the crowd of #RevolutionNow protesters in Nigeria were far between. I told the audience that it was due to the 1914 Lord Lugardian false contraption which has led to very fractious internal contradictions in the country. Nigerians are not and can never be united in calls for stoppage of their oppression as they did last week in Mali. For reasons of ethnicity, religion, political affiliation and many other primordial sentiments, there can never be unanimity of opinion to rout the oppressor. The June 12 uprising was basically a Southern or Western, if you like, embarrassment of the Nigerian state into surrender as against a unanimously
prosecuted national umbrage against injustice.

While it is a new vista in Nigerians’ quest to
use social media uproar to hold people accountable, the sad thing about it is that the Lugardian contradictions will ensure that it is done to appease the god of our primordial sentiments. It is this calamitous feature that has kept on recycling our maggots in government and political offices for decades.

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