Kaduna govt sets up ‘White Paper Committee’ on 1992 Zangon-Kataf crisis

Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai
Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai

The Kaduna State Government has set up a ‘White Paper Committee’ on the 1992 Zangon-Kataf crisis that led to the death of about 2,000 people.

This position was contained in a statement by the special adviser to Governor Nasir El-Rufai on media and communications, Muyiwa Adekeye.

“The February 1992 riots in Zangon-Kataf LGA led to 95 deaths and injuries to 233 persons. In the May 1992 riots, the death toll increased, with 1,528 persons killed in Zangon-Kataf and 305 others in Zaria, Ikara and other parts of the state to which the rioting spread,” Mr Adekeye wrote in the statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES.

Despite the setting up of a probe committee, previous Kaduna governments failed to act on the report.

However, a related violence occurred in the area earlier this month.

“It is unacceptable that one of the factors identified by the Justice Cudjoe Commission as an immediate cause of the 1992 carnage in Zangon-Kataf is still a trigger for murder and unlawful conduct, 28 years after that tragedy,” Mr Adekeye wrote.

Read the full statement by the Kaduna government below.

KDSG sets up White Paper Committee on 1992 Zangon-Kataf Crisis

The Kaduna State Executive Council has set up a committee to draft a White Paper on the two reports of the Justice Rahila Cudjoe Commission of Inquiry into the Zangon-Kataf riots of February and May 1992. The White Paper will also consider the 1995 report of the Zangon-Kataf Reconciliation Committee, chaired by Air Vice Marshall Usman Muazu.

Violent clashes broke out in Zangon-Kataf LGA on 11th June 2020 between two communities that were reportedly disputing ownership of farmlands whose place in the conflict is mentioned in the 1992 and 1995 reports. The recommendations in those reports have not received comprehensive response or attention. This is because no White Paper was drafted or adopted by the Dabo Lere government that established the Justice Cudjoe Commission and the Colonel Lawal Jafar Isa government that appointed the AVM Muazu Reconciliation Committee.

The February 1992 riots in Zangon-Kataf LGA led to 95 deaths and injuries to 233 persons. In the May 1992 riots, the death toll increased, with 1,528 persons killed in Zangon-Kataf and 305 others in Zaria, Ikara and other parts of the state to which the rioting spread.

Following the 1992 Zangon-Kataf riots, the Federal Government of General Ibrahim Babangida detained and prosecuted some persons. But the elected government of Kaduna State, led by Alhaji Dabo Lere, did not produce a White Paper to set out its official position on the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry.

On 30th November 1994, the military administrator of Kaduna State, Colonel Lawal Jafar Isa, appointed the Committee for Reconciliation and Search for Peace in Zangon-Kataf community, under the chairmanship of AVM Usman Muazu, himself a former governor of the state, with equal representation from the Atyap and Hausa communities.

In its 1995 report, the AVM Muazu reconciliation committee stated that it could not resolve three burning issues:

Ownership of disputed farmlands

Release of White Paper on the report of the Cudjoe Commission of Inquiry

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Release of detainees

Following skirmishes a week earlier, disputes over the same farmlands again led to an outbreak of violence and killings in Zangon-Kataf and Kauru LGAs on Thursday, 11th June 2020. This compelled the State Government to impose a 24-hour curfew on the two LGAs, to contain the crisis and enable the return of law and order.

It is unacceptable that one of the factors identified by the Justice Cudjoe Commission as an immediate cause of the 1992 carnage in Zangon-Kataf is still a trigger for murder and unlawful conduct, 28 years after that tragedy.

Therefore, the Kaduna State Government considers it vital for the promotion of peace and harmony and the rule of law that a comprehensive position be taken on the recommendations of the Justice Cudjoe Commission and the AVM Muazu Reconciliation Committee. The first step in this process is the constitution of a committee to draft a White Paper on the reports for the consideration of the Kaduna State Executive Council.

The following senior officials have been appointed as members of the White Paper Committee on the Zangon-Kataf crisis reports, and they have six weeks to submit their report:

Adamu Mansur Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Human Services

Chris Umar Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice

Abdullahi Sani Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Internal Security & Home Affairs

Habiba Shekarau Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing & Urban Devt

Ibrahim Jere Permanent Secretary, Public Service Office

Phoebe Yayi Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education

Aisha K. Mohammed Permanent Secretary, Civil Service Commission

Bulus Audu SSA, KADGIS

The events of 11th and 12th June 2020 in Zangon-Kataf and Kauru LGAs offer compelling evidence that these persistent contentions over farmlands is a conflict trigger that has to be boldly addressed, rather than wished away.

The Kaduna State Government assures that it will do its utmost to bring to closure issues that have lingered, unresolved, since the Zangon-Kataf crisis of 1992. All recommendations that may be accepted by the Kaduna State Executive Council when considering the draft White Paper will be robustly implemented.

Too much has been lost to violent conflict in Kaduna State. This is a moment to close a festering sore and enable the communities to live in peace and harmony.

Signed
Muyiwa Adekeye
Special Adviser to the Governor (Media & Communication)
29th June 2020


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