Fresh Threats to Peace in Kaduna
Security agencies in Kaduna State are investigating fresh calls by a group to cause mayhem in protest against results of the recent elections in the state
The peace achieved after the post election violence that claimed the lives of hundreds of people and properties worth billions of Naira in some parts of the North is still threatened. Last week, an audio record of one Islamic cleric in Zaria, Kaduna State, laden with hate messages and a call to arms against non Muslims and some chieftains of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, who are resident in Kaduna State, was discovered being circulated. In the recording, the Islamic cleric claimed that he and his comrades were determined to avenge the injustices done them in the elections. He claimed that the crisis in Kafanchan and the return of Patrick Yakowa as the state governor were injustices against Muslims.
The circulation of the CD, in the state has left many people feeling unsafe, especially as the last crisis took the security operatives more than three days to quell. Some prominent indigenes of the state have spoken against the danger of allowing another bloodletting.
Emmanuel Kure, a prominent pastor and founder of the Throne Room Trust Ministry, who listened to the tape, is one of such persons. He said religious violence was capable of destabilising not only the north, but the entire country. Kure, who witnessed the violence in Kafanchan where he comes from, said he was disturbed after listening to the tape. The tape was produced in Zaria between April 29 and 30, this year with the intention of mobilising Islamic fundamentalists to unleash another round of violence on the state.
He advised security agencies not to dismiss its content as an empty threat because the producers of the tape were determined to actualise everything they said in it. The tape was specific on individuals and groups whose lives were at stake. Even students of some higher institutions were also mentioned as targets. The group also pronounced Fatwa (a sanction for killing) on some prominent politicians in the state.
Kure revealed that apart from the recent Kaduna mayhem, he has survived so many of such violence, which claimed the lives of some members of his close family. “Having experienced this latest violence in Kafanchan, my fear that another plan was being hatched to destabilise the state should not be dismissed as crying wolf.” He said the failure of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, to win the presidential election was just answered prayers for some Muslim fundamentalists who were anxiously waiting for any opportunity to settle old scores.
Christians and Muslims in Kafanchan have had a long history of adversarial relationship over the leaderships of Jema’a Emirate. The problem started during the colonial era when the Emir of Jema’a was banished from Gidan Waya to Madakiya and then to Kafanchan for an undisclosed sin he committed against the colonial authorities. Kafanchan, where he was banished to, was not part of the conquered territory of the Hausa/Fulani jihadists. After independence in 1960, the Sardauna of Sokoto restored the banished emir to his position but failed to return him to Gidan Waya where he belonged, thereby making him king over other chiefs and tribes in a place where he was supposed to just serve his punishment. So, the question of who controls Kafanchan politically and who is minority or majority ethnic group has now become the fallout of that decision.
But Kure believes it is not a problem that has defied logical solution as long as both sides would agree to tell the truth. He said a meeting of stakeholders should be constituted to address the situation in order to find a solution to the problem.
Abdulhamid Umar, an Islamic lecturer with the Jigawa State College of Education, believes in that strategy also. He said bringing both Christian and Muslim clerics to the roundtable would help achieve and sustain peace and cohesion between the two followers of these religions.
He said though he has not listened to the contents of the audio CD, he was sure that no true Muslim could engage in such an act because calling people to arms against other innocent people was un-Islamic. Even the use of vulgar language completely disqualifies one from being called a Muslim, he noted and blamed the incessant crises in the north to charlatans who assume knowledge which they don’t have.
Reuben Buhari, senior special adviser to the governor of Kaduna State on media, told Newswatch that the state government had also seen the CD and passed it to the police who were already trying to unmask those behind the recording.
But when Newswatch contacted Olusola Amore, force public relations officer, last Tuesday, he feigned ignorance about the existence of such an audio recording. He, however, requested Newswatch reporter to call back to enable him establish the veracity of such information from the Kaduna State police command. But after putting several calls to his phone, he neither picked nor returned the call