The assistant national secretary general of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, Ibrahim Abdullahi, has said that the solution to the lingering crisis in southern part of Kaduna state lies outside Nigeria.
Southern Kaduna has been experiencing violent crisis for years now. The latest spell of violence has claimed hundreds of lives.
Killings have continued deployment of security forces to the area.
The latest killings occurred on February 20 when unknown gunmen invaded communities in two local governments Jema’a and Kauru, killing at least 14 people.
The attacks have largely been blamed on Fulani herdsmen, said to be carrying out reprisal killings following the alleged killing of herdsmen and their livestock in the area during the 2011 post-election violence.
Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES in Kaduna recently, Mr. Abdullahi said most of the Fulani people involved in the killings were not Nigerians. Similar claim by the state government sparked outrage.
“It has to do with foreign nomads coming into the country. There are three or four international grazing routes, most of which passed through Kaduna state,” he said.
“Two of the routes are from Cameroun down through Lere and Kauru local governments, another one is from Chad Republic that came through southern part of Plateau state down to Zangon-Kataf and there is another one from Niger Republic through Kano/ Katsina down to Kaduna,” he said.
Mr. Abdullahi said it so happened that herders who were moving their cattle for greener pasture got caught up in the post-election violence.
“Many of them were killed including their cows and some of the cows were taken away. Those of them who survived returned to their homes and reported what happened.
“We got to know that most of them spread across Cameroon and Chad swore to come back for revenge. We therefore, advised the governor at the time, the Late Yakowa, to take urgent action.
“The governor agreed with us and formed a committee to go and meet with the Fulani leaders wherever they are and reconcile with them,” he said.
Mr. Abdullahi said the late governor also agreed with the advice given to him to compensate all those who experienced losses in the attacks, and he agreed.
“As a result, we started meeting with all those we know have been affected. I was mandated to go to Cameroon and Chad Republic.
“My first port of call is to a Fulani leader I know that lost over 200 cows and about six boys. I arrived his house in the evening and told him I was an emissary of the governor of Kaduna state over the unfortunate killing of his boys and cows.
“He asked me to go and rest since I came from a far place and that he would talk to me in the morning. Early in the morning, he invited me for breakfast and I narrated to him my mission.
“He said he was shocked that the governor had the guts to send someone to him after ordering the killing of his boys because they are Muslims and I told him that his information was wrong.
“I said I am a Muslim and truly the governor is a Christian, but, I also told him that most Muslims like me in Kaduna are willing to take the risk I took for Yakowa because he was a good man and would never order the killing of anyone.
“The man said he agreed with me and if anything, the fact that the governor agreed something was wrong and took the step he was taking showed that he was a good leader of his people. Tell him I have forgiven him, I don’t need any compensation and that he has a new emissary in me as far as Cameroon is concerned.
“I will make sure I reach out to all the other affected families in Cameroon on behalf of your governor,” he said.
Mr. Abdullahi added that his host took him to a warehouse within the man’s estate and what he saw shocked him.
“I saw all sorts of sophisticated weapons and I was told they were kept in readiness for a revenge attack in Southern Kaduna,” he said.
He also said the man invited him for a “short trip” into the forest and he saw a large camp and several young men receiving all forms of training on warfare.
“Shockingly, these boys were being trained by white men,” he said.
Mr. Abdullahi said he bid the man farewell but could not proceed to Chad Republic as arranged because he was running short of money.
“I decided to return to Kaduna and I met the governor the next day and gave him my report.
“The governor told me that he was travelling the next day to the South South and would remobilise us to go to Chad for the second part of our assignment, unfortunately, Governor Yakowa died in a helicopter crash,” he said.
Mr. Abdullahi said when former Governor Ramalan Yero took over, they met with him and gave him the report of what had been done so far and the need to complete the task.
“Our fear is that any other family affected in the attacks would have known that we were in Cameroon to appeal, especially those in Chad Republic.
“Our failure to go and meet them as far as they are concerned is because they do not matter. I expressed that fear to the former governor. He simply collected the report and said he would get in touch; he never did,” he said.
The Fulani leader said it is good that Governor El-Rufai has continued from where the late Yakowa stopped.
Mr. El-Rufai admitted at the peak of the crisis that he sent payments to the suspected killers outside of Nigeria, as compensation for their losses.
The governor defended his action as being in continuation of what Mr. Yakowa died.