How Northern Riot Was Planned- Cleric

2011-06-12
SUN Newspaper- Dennis Mernyi

Apostle Emmanuel Nuhu Kure shepherds the Throne Room Trust Ministry based in Kafanchan, Kaduna State. He is also one of the leading Christian leaders in Nigeria and a representative of the Southern Kaduna Christian Leadership Council. Known for his damning prophecies, no matter whose ox is gored, he had taken on the former administration of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, warning of dire consequences if he failed to address the tension in the country at the time occasioned by the restive armed youths in the Niger Delta region as well as the wave of religious and ethno-cultural uprising in the northern part of the country.

In this encounter, he alerts President Goodluck Jonathan to those he describes as “vultures” around him, warning that they do not mean well for his administration. He speaks on this and the April violent post-election crisis in some northern states. Excerpts…

State of the nation vis-ŕ-vis crisis in some parts of the North
Let me first of all make a comment about controversy. I thought that by now the press will not join those who call me controversial, because it does not make sense. You just called me a prophet. A prophet re-echoes what he sees or what his master tells him, and you do not blame me if it comes to past. Who do you blame? The master, of course. So I do not know why I should be called a controversial person. Can you call God controversial?

But like you rightly said, God told me exactly the programme for the late President (Umaru) Yar’Adua for whom I have great respect because he was very principled individual. The Lord said he had done well in other things but there were two things he needed to deal with, which included the Niger Delta crisis that he succeeded to a great level and laid a good foundation for what is there now. The second was the religious crises. That he was not able to curb it properly will make God to re-write his covenant of life with him because Nigeria is under programming even in heaven.

I am going spiritually again. Nigeria is under a divine mandate for Africa. The reason some of us have not added our voices to the happenings in Nigeria is because of the visions we saw. Without a united Nigeria, there will be no dignity for Africa; there will be no decency for Africa, and there will be no future for Africa. I can tell you that for sure. It is God’s will that Nigeria remains one and becomes a super-power both in industrial development and other sectors. I am telling you what God’s future plan for Nigeria is. So, God chooses Presidents that will carry out and fulfil these functions.

Before President Goodluck Jonathan, former President Obasanjo came, played politics, started some programmes and left. Then Yar’Adua came, he started with crises all over and then became ill. So God is using Jonathan to finish the work that both Obasanjo and Yar’Adua could not finish.

I know that as a reporter you want to know how he will end as President. I don’t want to go into that but I can release a few things from time to time. One is that if President Jonathan does not do away with the vultures around him, they will eat up the interest of this country and end up eating his glory. I repeat that they will eat up the interest of this country and end up eating his own glory so much that by the time he finishes his own tenure, he will be irrelevant and forgotten too quickly.

That is in my vision but depending on how he performs, I didn’t see him anywhere after his four-year term. That means, I didn’t see whether he died or is alive or just became a common man after that, because there are many now doing everything to ensure he does not achieve anything. So, he needs to become a man of his own and deal with the vultures or neutralize them.

Kafanchan crisis
I have brought a cross-section of those who were affected by the crisis, including the dislocated and those who were treated with bullet wounds and their testimonies, after which you can feel free to go into town and do your balanced investigative journalism. We just want the truth to be told and a permanent and lasting solution to these problems found. We are tired of crisis in Kafanchan. We pray the Federal Government will seize this opportunity and find the boldness to resolve these matters once and for all because they can be resolved.

We have found it necessary as a people to respond to the many false impressions being put out in the media by different groups and individuals. The AIT reported that of the Emir’s palace and BBC along with other print media reported the others. They all point to the same source carrying the same story of Christians terrorizing Muslims. The Emir’s palace claim on AIT was that they were having a “peaceful gathering” when the Christians or the community attacked them. The BBC report from one Abubakar elevated it to a “peaceful demonstration” when they were attacked. It is clear from this that while the pogrom may not have been planned in the palace, it gave it its cover and blessing.

We would want to put the facts straight for the public and everyone to investigate for them. First of all, it is clear that the whole crisis was thoroughly pre-planned with logistics set out and lines of action and operation spelt out clearly. Otherwise, how would you explain a spontaneous call to prayer on most of the loudspeakers in the mosques across the city at the same time at 9pm or thereabout with a shout of Allah Akbar. Muslims began to troop toward the mosques and designated areas to be followed at 10pm with another call on loudspeakers. This time with a spontaneous shout of Allah Akbar from the mosques and most of the streets occupied by Muslims and the burst of gunfire sound that shook the whole city. This was repeated a few times and the killings and burnings began.

How come the fighters on that night wore black dresses or dark pants like a coloured uniform and surrounded the walls of the Anglican Cathedral and the Yoruba Baptist pastor’s house and setting them on fire while shooting, without any resistance if it was not premeditated and planned? Is this what is referred to as “peaceful demonstration and gathering?”

In the history of this great nation, I am not aware of any demonstration at night by 9 to 10pm except they were clandestine. How come during their operation, they seemed to have reinforcement centres where they went to for either arms/ammunition or some form of coordination? Places around 48 Ibadan Street, 40 Zaria Street or the houses around the mosque in Rumada, opposite the timber shed. Some reports even mentioned some coordination and movement from the Emir’s palace. This led to some of these locations being attacked after the attackers became short on arms and could not sustain the movement anymore. One of the houses of my Muslim neighbour that was set on fire had bullet shells and other things exploding from it.

Thirdly, the kind of heavy guns and weapons used have never been heard of in the history of unrest in Kaduna State. This was why they overran almost the whole city before the youths, by the next day, could muster courage to push them back. Danhaya Street is a summary of what happened. It is the Berlin Wall from which the Muslims attacked the Christians before the Christians gained composure. No Christian building is standing there except by a strange miracle.

Crisis well planned
The attackers evacuated their families before the call to prayer began to either “safe zones” or out of the city. Why was this if it was not premeditated? We want to make it clear that as far as the Kafanchan crisis is concerned, what started in other parts of the country as a political crisis, as a result of Buhari not being elected president was taken advantage of by Islamic extremists and mediocre politicians in Kafanchan to settle old scores and expand boundaries and spheres of political influence. It has always been through crisis that they have gained grounds both politically and economically in places where they are minority in the North. Besides looting property of Christians before they burn or destroy their houses, the negotiations and sympathy that always follow work in their favour. So the reasoning of a few misguided leaders is that from experience a little bloodshed has always opened doors for them.

In recent times, there seems to be a new face being added to the meaning of Jihad – that of the acquisition of land and political power through violence. There is no other way to explain the mindless suicidal attempt at attacking people in a place where you know they are ten times more in number just because you have an advantage of arms except if there is a gain beyond the fight. Since the time of the Sardauna, they have fought to control these lands economically, politically and spiritually and failed. Years after, their sons still fight the same fight instead of respecting the natural boundaries and creation of the Almighty God. There will always be Christians in the North. The earlier all the sides accepted this the better.

There is the need to sit together and work out the modalities of co-existing. There is the need also to respect each other’s boundaries in beliefs and civic rights without the rights of those who originally owned the place being overridden or redefined through violence. Basic rights of all men must be defended always. One side must not be treated as sacred cows while the others punished for being majority. Let the truth dictate punishment and justice. People are afraid to speak up from this part of the country because of fear of retribution and victimization and the many years of deprivation.

Jema’a Emirate as genesis of the problem
The federal government must investigate this crisis and isolate it from the others because of its religious tone and not just write it off as another political crisis from the elections. I agree absolutely with chairman of the Hausa/Fulani Community in Southern Kaduna, Alhaji Abdullahi Jibrin, in the Weekly Trust cover story of April 30, 2011 that the leaders of the various tribes and their own enter a treaty with original indigenous tribes to spell out some realities of the present day constitutional Nigeria and be bound by its code otherwise the government should find other solutions that will avert crisis no matter how radical they may sound or look.

The land on which the Emir of Jema’a lives and rules from, for example, is on lease and had always been a silent reason for this crisis. It is time for them to return it to the Bajju (Kaje) people or write a new agreement on the terms of tenancy. The Makarfi government, despite all the good things that they did for Southern Kaduna, also laid the foundation for the present crisis when he raised an emirate without subjects and a clear-cut territory. I am aware that tension has been brewing since last year over land and territory, especially around the General Hospital in Kafanchan and surrounding lands.

This controversy almost led to blows last year. The state government is still dealing with that even now. The Emir of Zazzau (Zaria), for example, knows that he rules a clear-cut ancient and well respected emirate with defined subjects who are themselves kinsmen with same roots and history as his and cover a geographical territory that is well defined. Due to this lineal affinity, I do not expect the Emirs of Daura or Katsina or Kano, who also have defined subject and territories, to go to war with him on this because they have been always clearly defined and they are joined and backed by history.

In Makarfi’s case, he took subjects in Kafanchan in a modern day Lord Lugard style and made them subjects to an emir whose status in Kafanchan was not properly defined by the colonial masters that brought him there and without properly educating the new subjects that were subjugated to the emirate. The original emirate that came as a result of the Hausa/Fulani conquest covered from Sanga to Gidan Waya. The administrative headquarters of the emirate was then in Gidan Waya. Everybody in Nigeria knows that Gidan Waya is not the same as Kafanchan. Let this be noted for posterity.

We do not have the facts of what deals were made or what transpired between the colonial rulers and the grandfather or great grandfather of the present Emir of Jema’a. But we know that he was resettled in the village of Madakiya and later moved by the same powers under some form of arrangement to Katsit in Kafanchan, which both belong to the Bajjus, who were never conquered or ruled by the Hausa or Fulani. If he was there under some kind of exile or banishment, it would be improper to declare the land to which he was banished as part of his (Emir’s) domain…

The territories carved for the emirate, whether legally or not by the Makarfi administration, is so tight that the fight over who controls Kafanchan politically and economically and who is minority and majority will always be there…Makarfi made a mistake in trying to correct history’s twist whether rightly or not, by creating a Hausa/Fulani emirate with headquarters in Kafanchan instead of relocating its headquarters. The real problem is in Kafanchan. Correct this problem of history and we will become another normal city with normal problems.


Way forward for Kafanchan
The Federal Government must look into the emirate issue and correct this major abnormality by calling all the stakeholders to a roundtable that would resolve these matters with a proper law backing it.
The Federal Government should as a matter of urgency order for a house-to-house search of arms or what the military would refer to as “cordon and search” in all the houses in Kafanchan as we have cause to believe that there are heavy arms still left in the houses, which could quicken another conflict.

The federal governments will do well to investigate how these arms found their way to the city and property and their means of livelihood and resettle them. It should also investigate how foreigners from either Niger or Chad and other countries found their way into Kafanchan and settled in Matsirga by Madakiya in the last one year and overnight gained the kind of arms they used in the crisis, which accounted for a lot of people being killed in that axis.

Interrogating who brought them to Matsirga-Kafanchan and who bought them motorcycles to use for kabu-kabu will lead you to their sponsors. This is one of the immediate things the government can do to convince the ordinary man, whether Muslim or Christian, that this crisis will not reoccur or continue in the near future.


 

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