By Emmanuel Nduka
The President of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) Hon. Jonathan Asake has fingered the Kaduna State Government’s complicity in the unending bandits/herdsmen attacks on communities in the southern part the state, stressing that it is a forced demography change under the guise of insecurity.
Asake made the claims on Monday night when he appeared on Channels Television’s NewsNight to speak on causes of the violence that has been witnessed in the old northern state.
The Union President in the program monitored by Heritage Times, accused the current state government under the leadership of Governor Nasir El-Rufai, of seizing lands from indigenes and allocating them off to Fulanis.
While raising alarm of massive influx of ‘foreign Fulanis’ into a new settlement renamed ‘Laduga’, he lamented that all efforts made by youths to identify and rout criminal elements in the communities have been met with stiff resistance from security operatives who fail to engage the bandits/herdsmen during the attacks.
“To tell you why we believe that government is part of this conspiracy, they take over lands from local farmers and give it to Fulanis.
“We have a place in the 90s where the government earmarked 32,000 hectares of land as grazing reserves. But today with the present government, it was increased to 73,000 hectares, and it is strictly for Fulani settlers. When we visited most of our displaced persons, they told us that most of the attacks comes from that particular Fulani settlement. The name of that settlement has been changed to ‘Laduga’ which is a Fulani word.
“Fulanis all over West Africa are moving into that place and are settling there, they are calling that place their national headquarters. The native owners cannot access that place anymore. If you go there, you are killed. 67 natives of that land have been killed while trying to access that land. The government has not brought any of these Fulanis to book. So we have no option than to conclude that while the Fulanis are taking over lands, the state government is using institutions to cover them,” he posited.
He further noted that governments at both state and federal levels have not provided any platform for dialogue with a view to resolving issues of concern to Southern Kaduna communities.
Asake hitherto, renewed the call for the creation of a separate and independent Southern Kaduna State as a viable and economically sustainable option.
“Who do we dialogue with? Are you going to talk with the President that whenever anything happens in this nation, you hear Garba Shehu bringing up a statement and saying it is the Presidency? Now go back to the state, when you talk about the Governor of the state, he has viral videos where he has stated that he would have nothing to do with the Southern Kaduna socio-cultural group,” Asake said.
He added that: “When you talk about conditions for viability of a state, the land mass of Southern Kaduna is 26,000 square kilometres. It is more that Kano State which is only 20,000 square kilometres.
“If you talk about population, the 2006 Census put Southern Kaduna at 3.8 million. If you factor 3% annual growth rate, Southern Kaduna would today have a population of over 5.1 million.
“In terms of agricultural and natural resources we are heavily endowed. The quality of people in Southern Kaduna can provide leadership that can be the envy of the entire nation”.