In the first week of December 2016 ,Nigeria media space was decorated with headlines of the news that Governor Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai of Kaduna State admitted identifying, linking, and compensating killers of Southern Kaduna people in neighbouring countries of Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, and Senegal.
Vanguard of 3rd December 2016 reported Mr. El-Rufai stating: “We took certain steps. We got a group of people that were going round trying to trace some of these people in Cameroon, 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 he is begging them to stop killing”. Mr. El-Rufai stretched further by piquing:”In most of the communities, once that appeal was made to them, they said they have forgiven.There are one or two that asked for monetary compensation. They said they have forgiven the death of human beings, but want compensation for cattle. We said no problem, and we paid some” .
Reinforcing his earlier position, just before Christmas on 21st December of 2016 while addressing some pressmen after his altercation with nude women protesters in Southern Kaduna he reassured his willingness to soldier-on with his controversial and illegal scheme of paying foreign killers. To demonstrate his never say die intentions, he said, he can surrender the entire state treasury in his infamous project of compensating a genocidal cream executing their well orchestrated crime against humanity in Southern Kaduna.
On realizing that they goofed, Mr. El-Rufai’s dull-headed and baby propagandist fruitlessly attempted some damage control by postulating that he was misquoted and his scandalous statement taken out of context. Their effort couldn’t quench the storm of criticism by individuals and groups. Some newspapers hemmed highly critical editorials that condemned Mr. El-Rufai’s fraternity with foreign lives terminators and arsonists.
One of such commentaries was Sam Omatseyein’s weekly column “The Herdsman Of The Year” published in 2nd January, 2017. Mr. Omotseyein’s take was sharp like a surgical blade. People like Fani Fani-Kayode an outspoken evangelical Christian and former minister of aviation also scripted a series of articles that gave a novel inside of what is happening.
Mr. El-Rufa’i asserted that his action was guided by General Martins Agwai’s report of the committee to stamp out attacks on Southern Kaduna communities set up on 1st July 2015 and submitted its report in August of 2015. The governor of Kaduna State is dwelling on a statement in page 20 item number 3 which said “…..even though though transhumant Fulani from the neighbouring countries of Chad, Niger, and Cameroon, as well as Senegal and Mali engage in killings because they were caught in the April Post-Presidential election crisis in 2011, they also carry out unprovoked attacks on villages and engage in armed robbery”.
That sharply contradicted what Mr. El-Rufai told his viewers on Sunrise Daily of Channels TV of 6th April 2016. In that chat, he claimed that over 800 people were killed in 2011 Post Election crisis and most of the killings took place in Southern Kaduna. That was the day he commenced his inglorious journey of creating a phantom history of an annual horizontal and vertical movement of Fulanis from many neighbouring countries.
That the 2011 crisis caught up with them in Southern Kaduna and many of them lost cattle and relatives. This is an unintelligent attempt to create event that no history book has. Apart from studying history up to the university level,i have been living for my entire life in Southern Kaduna. And i have never seen such a massive movement in my entire life.
Before Gen. Agwai’s committee, Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa constituted a peace and reconciliation committee that submitted its report in January of 2013. The 114 page document had no record holding that the crisis caught up with foreign Fulanis on transit. While the committee was at work, victims appeared with their claims of loss lives and properties destroyed. This depth of work wasn’t exhibited in Gen. Agwai’s committee. One is still searching for the reason why the governor is only accepting unfounded statements in Agwai’s report as against a more serious and thorough work done by the Yakowa’s committee. There is more than meet the eye in his disposition on this matter.
Now, back to Agwai’s committee. Pages 22 to 28 had 19 recommendations. There is no where they recommended compensation for transhumance Fulanis living in Niger, Senegal, Chad, and Cameroon. Consequent to that,justifying compensation to trans-borders killers cum arsonists because of paragraph 3 of page 20 of the report is absurd and misleading.
The General Agwai committee is one reason for compensating his genocidal gang, the other was unveiled on 21st December 2016 night while addressing the press in Kaduna. The compensator of killers of Southern Kaduna said; compensation is concomitant in Islam and Christianity. The statements added another reason that triggered his illegal and immoral scheme. The pertinent question here is: are we practicing a democratic federal system or a mixed Christo-Islamic theocracy in Nigeria?
Lest we forget, the two religions cited are only in the majority but there are animist- especially in areas the genocide is glowing. He failed to tell us animists position in such and allied instances.
People have enumerated threats this action posed and immoralities attached,but little emphasis was devoted to understanding the looming danger of a lower layer of authority dabbling into areas set aside for the upper tier under our 1999 constitution( as amended).Mr. El-Rufai’s linking and talking with foreigners in their countries is a foreign policy action, and the country’s 1999 constitution placed foreign policy on exclusive list.
Now, what will be the fate of Nigeria’s federalism when affiliating clusters dabbled into functions constitutionally assigned to the uppermost tier of authority? His action is tantamount to a coup d’etat or felony that must not be accommodated because of its long and short term repercussions . Criminalities concomitant with his actions were multifaceted because they involved trans-borders movement of unrecorded and un-appropriated cash which is a financial crime.
At the height of the heat, Centrum Initiative For Development And Fundamental Rights Advocacy (CEDRA) drew the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari on this unnecessary misadventure by Mr. El-Rufai and called for a full investigation of his action. So far, the federal government’s end is quite like the Western Front. Reason for their muteness and shameless cold feet are not far fetched, they borders political party fraternity, ethnicity, and other mundane variables. Some of us are flabbergasted by the federal government’s disposition despite their puritanical and pontificative stance against corruption and other unethical behaviours by men in power. The adage that said if you want to know the true character of man give him power comes to play in this case.
Since the federal government consciously chose not to see nor hear this unprecedented criminality, it’s instructive for our honourable members of House of Representatives and distinguished senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to investigate this matter. Their delving into this matter will forestall further constitutional transgressions by either El-Rufai or any other overzealous governor from performing functions of placed under exclusive list of Nigeria Constitution. Failure to act will be catastrophic because pretty soon some of them will start opening foreign missions and issuing visas to nationals of other countries.
We are quite aware that Mr. El-Rufai presently has immunity. But that shouldn’t deter investigations because his immunity will expire on 29th May 2019. Let the findings be keep in view pending when it will be legal to arrest and prosecute him for felony.
John Danfulani, Ph.D., is a former university lecturer at Kaduna State University and human rights activist. He was victimised by the Kaduna State government following a Facebook post critical of the supporters of the All Progressives Congress. He resigned his appointment and can be reached by email HERE.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.