Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Whenever and wherever the name of Kasuwan Magani is mentioned, many would quickly remember the grave unrest that erupted in Kajuru Local Government, Kaduna State, leading to loss of many innocent lives and set the ball rolling for an enduring conflict.
The confrontation, not only led to avoidable loss of property worth millions of Naira, it erected walls of hatred and distrust among the different tribal and religious groups in the community. The clashes over the years displaced over10,000 Adara and Fulani families, including children, pregnant women and old people, leaving nothing but pains behind in the community.
In February 2019, when the crisis erupted once again in the area, it blazed along new pathways, festering along such communities like Ungwan Barde, Maro and Iri. It all looked like the fire would never be quenched. However, it did and peace has returned to the area while the residents are excited over this new dawn.
However, the relative peace enjoyed in the community today did not come cheap or easy, according to local respondents who spoke to Daily Sun. They were unanimous that the restored peace was the result of the commitment of several individuals and groups, including the state government, non-governmental organizations, professional bodies, media and a host of others.
In a bid to promote this peace, the authorities of the local government took the bull by the horn. It inaugurated a reconciliation committee, which engaged the people of the council and invited all to dialogue. They discussed what went wrong and how to avert its re-occurrence.
While the healing process was slowly being engineered, the security agencies were not left out. Their personnel held their sway in the area all through and were stationed permanently in the troubled Kasuwan Magani in a bid to avert any breakdown of law and order.
The state government initiated a couple of policy measures to help heal the old wounds. One of such policies was the flagging-off of the reconstruction of Kasuwan Magani itself. Besides, government relocated the local market to a nearby community called Kujama
Chairman, Kajuru Relief Materials Committee, Mr John Sokoto, said that there are good tidings in the air as a good number of the members of their communities, who had hitherto fled to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps, had returned home to resume their normal lives: “Many of them had returned to their farms. On the part of the government, government gave us 400 bundles of zink and 1,600 bags of cement. The money was taken from Kajuru Local Government Area’s treasury, but the items were brought by the state emergency management agency.
“We still need additional building materials to properly put ourselves together. We need building materials, food items and fertilizer for our farms. The truth is that, many of us who went back home do not have money to buy bags of fertilizer. These are the priorities we need now.
“Kajuru Local Government had set up a truce and reconciliation committee, saddled with the responsibility of reconciling the warring parties. The committee has recorded some positive results. So we believe that as the dialogue continues, peace will return once again to Kajuru
“I am calling on all residents of Kajuru, whether you are Adara, Gbagyi, Hausa or Fulani to shield their swords and give peace a chance. Let us continue to talk… so we want to keep talking within ourselves and with our neighbours.”
Meanwhile, the state government inaugurated a 12-member Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the incessant communal crises in Kajuru, Kachia and Chikun local government areas. The committee has Justice Isa Aliyu of Kaduna State High Court as chairman, while M.I. Aliyu, Director, Citizens Rights in the Ministry of Justice will serve as the counsel.
The commission is to inquire into the crises starting from 2017 to date. It has three months to complete its task, namely to fish out the perpetrators of the various disturbances, identify the immediate and remote causes of the crises, proffer solutions as well as guard against future occurrence.
The commission is expected to interact with the members of the community, the traditional and religious institutions as well as associations in the community just as it is mandated to establish the extent of loss of lives and property and other forms of damage on account of the clashes.