A Statement By The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group; Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) On The Discriminatory Practices of The Kaduna State Government Under Mallam Nasir El’Rufai Against Southern Kaduna, Which Offends Section 42 of the Constitution of The Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
It is most disheartening that a governor of a multi-religious and multi-ethnic state like Kaduna would resort to discriminatory tendencies, evident from most of his policies that are against the Christian dominated southern kaduna region of the state.
For instance, the 19th Fulani Emir of Zazzau; Ambassador Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli, ascended the throne following the demise of Alhaji Dr. Shehu Idris. Though the Fulani Emir Shehu Idris met his maker on 20 September 2020 through natural causes, he has already been effectively replaced.
However, the Christian First Class Chief of Adara Kingdom was kidnapped on 19 October and assassinated on 26 October 2018. Two years down the line, he is yet to be replaced.
We, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) have it on good authority that on the 22 October 2018, three days after the kidnap of the Adara indigenous chief, Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State gave a state broadcast without mentioning it.
In contrast, just minutes after it was made public, the demise of the Emir of Zazzau, Governor El-Rufai declared a three days holiday, instructing that the national flag be flown at half-mast in honour of the deceased. The state media was awashed with the issues of his demise.
Again, following the killings of innocent citizens in Southern Kaduna and reports accusing governor El-rufai of taking sides, the governor, not too long ago faulted the report by accusing the leaders of Southern Kaduna of wanting him to appease them and describing them as criminals.
While we are yet to hear any policy targeted at re-settling and compensating Southern Kaduna People who are the victims of the heinous attacks, in the December 3, 2016 report by Vangurad Newspaper, Governor El’Rufai was quoted to have said that his government has traced some violent, aggrieved Fulani to their countries and paid them to stop the killings of Southern Kaduna natives.
Despite assurances from both the federal and Kaduna State governments to nip the crisis in the bud, the spiraling of the attacks indicates that the perpetrators were yet to sheathe their swords against communities in Southern Kaduna and yet not one killer is punished but rather El’Rufai turns back to accuse the leaders of Southern Kaduna for being lazy.
There is no doubt that the victims of these incessant assaults are indigenes of Southern Kaduna who are mostly Christians. Why is it the predominant Christian Southern Kaduna all the time? Don’t we have Northern Kaduna?
While the senseless murder is not desirable in any part of the state or Nigeria, the continuous assault of the Southern Kaduna people has become highly suspicious and alarming. Only a fool or somebody who is a party to this evil would not know that there is something fishy.
We were shocked when the Presidency described the current bloodshed in Southern Kaduna as politically motivated, coupled with banditry deployed along ethnic and religious lines.
Where is the statistical evidence for that? Who are the politicians sponsoring this inhuman and callous act? Why have the federal authorities failed to apprehend or name them? Do they have the right to be doing this scot-free if it is true?”
We were also shocked when the state Governor attributed the mass genocide of southern kaduna as communal crisis when in essence he has already admitted to have located and paid Fulani herdsmen perpetuating the killings. Why is the Governor talking from both sides of the mouth over an issue as sensitive as life?
OUR POSITION AND RECOMENDATIONS
The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has criminalised discrimination of any form, not even from a Chief Executive Officer. And given the issue raised herein, the Government of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai is clearly discriminating against the people of southern kaduna.
According to Gasiokwu M.O.U in his book; ‘Human Rights: History, Ideology and Law’, he noted, “discrimination is the most comprehensive, systematic and severe deprivation of human rights.’’
Thus a number of international and National instruments have been made which prohibits discrimination in one form or the other. These efforts have been duplicated in the provision of regional charters and conventions and national constitutions, which is very obvious in the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended and previous constitutions before that.
Section 42 of the amended 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria deals specifically with right to freedom from discrimination of the Nigerian citizens, that is, the right to equality of citizens which is one of the cornerstones of human rights not only in Nigeria but also everywhere in the world.
Looking at the preamble to the Universal declaration of human rights of 1948, words like “equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family’’, “inherent dignity’’, and “equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small’’ are evidently what makes it tick.
In article 1 of the same charter, it further provides: “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.’’
The Banjul charter also made clear Africa’s stance on discrimination as it provides, in chapter 1 (Human and people’s rights), article 1;
“every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in the present Charter without distinction of kind such as race, ethnic group, color, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status.’’
Therefore, we are by this statement calling on the Kaduna State Government to as a matter of urgency, revise the scrapping of the Adara chiefdom and initiate the process of selection of the next indigenous Adara chief.
This is not an appeal, because the indigenous Adara people are not lesser humans in the context of the Nigerian state. It is their rights as it is criminal to discriminate against them.
Again, the utterances of Mallam El’Rufai as the Chief Security Officer of the state have been distasteful. He has not acted like a leader desirous of bringing the crisis to an end. His rants directed at the critical stakeholders of Southern Kaduna have clearly betrayed lack of tolerance that has undermined a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
HURIWA is tasking the Federal Government under Muhammadu Buhari to wake up from its deep slumber to lead the charge and urgently arrest the security and discriminatory situation in Kaduna from deteriorating further.
The security agencies should be tasked to be professional in the discharge of their duties, and apprehend all those implicated in the murder of innocent people and destruction of properties, no matter how highly placed.
The Buhari led government should consider the convocation of a peace summit of all stakeholders in Southern Kaduna to resolve all lingering disputes pertaining to ownership of land and address issues of mutual suspicion. IMPORTANT TO THE COMPREHENSIVE SOLUTION OF THE CRISES IS THE ARREST, PROSECUTION AND JUDICIAL PENSLTIES EFFECTIVELY APPLIED AGAINST THE PERPETRATORS OF THE DASTARDLY ACTS OF TERRORISM AGAINST CHRISTIANS.
We urge that the Federal Government should take a second look at the reports of the different Commissions of Enquiry set up on the Southern Kaduna crisis, and summon the required political will to implement recommendations in the interest of peace. The people of Southern Kaduna deserve to live in peace. ENOUGH OF THE DISCRIMINATIONS, TEARS AND BLOOD.
COMRADE EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO:
Miss. Zainab Yusuf:
Director; National Media Affairs.
HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).
OCTOBER 9TH 2020.