The Unending Cycle of Violence in Kaduna 

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John Shiklam chronicles the root causes of the unending  cycle of violence in Kaduna State and also the measures put on ground by the present administration to ameliorate the situation 
For nearly 40 years, Kaduna State has been embroiled in multiple ethno-religious crisis that has pitted the southern part of the state against the northern part. In those 40 years, it’s been from one attack to another with alarming casualties and destruction of properties worth millions of naira.
Same scenario played out on October 18, this year. In this recent attack, over 70 people were killed in the bloody ethno-religious clash, which started in Kasuwan Magani community, a few kilometers from Kaduna metropolis.
This is the second time the Kasuwan Magani community had suffered from bloodshed. In February 2018, Muslim and and Christian youths in the area,  clashed over allegations that Muslim youths were having love affairs with Christian girls and converting them to Islam and marrying them. In the February incident, about  20 people were said to have been killed with hundreds of shops and houses burnt during the incident.
Ethno-religious Segregation
Bloody clashes in the state had polarised the people along ethno-religious lines. In Kaduna, the state capital, Muslims and Christians live in segregated communities. The cities are divided by the Kaduna River, with Muslims predominantly in the northern part of the metropolis, while christians are predominantly in the southern part of the city.
This divide between the two groups has deepened the sense of exclusion as some of the settlements from both sides are considered “no areas”.
The state is also divided along the North and South. The northern part of the state is populated by Muslims while the southern part is populated by Christians.
Sadly, this gulf has continued to widen following the persistent violence and failure of past and present administrations to address the real causes of the conflicts.
Past Crisis
The first crisis in the state was said to have occurred in 1980, in the same Kasuwan Magani, Kajuru Local Government Area of the state following disagreements over farmlands between the indigenous Adara ethnic group and the Hausa Fulani. Since then, Kaduna has become an epi-centre of ethno religious clashes,  resulting in the destruction of hundreds of lives and properties worth billions of naira.
Among some of the most  bloody clashes, were the 1987 riots at the College of Education, Kafanchan; the Zangon Kataf riots of 1992; the 2000/ 20001 Sharia riots; the 2002 Miss World riot and the post Presidential election violence in 2011, among several others.
Recent Mayhem 
Indeed, Kaduna State is not new to ethno-religious crisis. For over 30 years, the state had witnessed many bloody crisis which has retarded its development. The recent clash was no different.
Normally, every Thursday is the market day in Kasuwan Magani community and on that October 18, this year, commercial activities resumed as usual without any premonition about what was about to happen. At about 4:30 pm, when they where just closing from the market, violence erupted.
It was pandemonium galore as some persons armed with dangerous weapons like knives, sticks, machetes and guns unleashed mayhem. After the situation was controlled, two versions of the cause of the clash emerged.  One was that a suspected thief was said to have been caught and was being beaten. He was said to have been shouting his religious slogan as he was being beaten and members of his religious faith, swiftly rose to his defence, thus giving the incident a religious colouration.
The second version of the story had it
that a wheelbarrow pusher, who was  trying to find a space to offload some goods, accidentally hit a middle-aged man in the process, but instead of  apologising  to the man, an argument ensued between the duo, resulting in fisticuffs that led to clashes between Muslims and the indigenous Adara ethnic group, who are mainly Christians.
By the time soldiers, the police and other  security personnel were deployed to the area, many lives had been lost with several houses set ablaze. According to the Kaduna State Police Commissioner, Ahmad  Abdul-Raman, 55 people lost their lives in the clashes.
The Kidnap
Just when the situation was brought under control by the security agencies, the abduction of the paramount ruler of the Adara ethnic group, the Agom Adara, Mr. Maiwada Rapheal Galadima on Friday October 19, ignited yet another fire as youths in parts of the metropolis took to the streets, burning tyres and attacking people who were not of their religious faith. News of this  attack spread like wildfire to other places, prompting the youths to also mobilise and attack those who are not of their faith.
The traditional ruler was said to be on his way from Kaduna back to his palace in Kachia, headquarters of Kachia Local Government Area, when armed gunmen abducted him, alongside his wife and driver. His orderly and four palace guards were said to have been killed on the spot.
Rumours started spreading that the traditional ruler was kidnapped as reprisal for the killings in Kasuwan Magani. On Sunday, October 21, 2018, at about 4:00pm, the state capital became very tense following rumours of the reprisal attacks in Kujama, another community on the way to Kasuwan Magani, as hoodlums exploited the situation and started attacking people.
The incident led to the killing of another 22 people, while many others were injured, according to the Ben Kure, the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency (SEMA). In all, a total of 77 people were killed.
Aftermath
Apart from deploying security agents to the troubled spots, the state government also imposed a 24-hour curfew to ensure that the crisis did not engulf the entire city. The police commissioner disclosed recently that
a total of 97 people suspected to have taken part in the violence in the affected areas, were arrested and charged to court.
The Presidential Visit
During his recent visit to Kaduna State after the last bloody violence that engulfed the city, President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book. At a meeting with traditional and religious leaders, which held at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Murtala Square, Kaduna, Buhari did not mince words for the perpetrators of the violence. Buhari, while addressing the traditional and religious leaders, said the federal government will not allowed perpetrators of such crimes to get way with it.
“The federal government will take strongest measures possible to punish perpetrators of these crimes. If in the past they got away scot free, we shall now hold everyone to account for these latest killings,” Buhari declared during the meeting. He said individuals and communities have obligations to comply with the law and uphold peace.
These obligations, he noted, “include respecting the rights of others to live wherever they choose, to worship freely and to pursue lawful livelihoods anywhere in this country”, stressing that  these are constitutional and human rights that “we as a government and people must uphold and depend.”

He said it was unacceptable that criminal elements can visit on citizens the wanton killings recorded in the Kasuwan Magani incident of October 18, 2018 and the unrest around Kaduna metropolis a few days later.
The Governor’s Panacea
The present administration has tried to find the solution to end the crisis. According to the state governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, the solution is the enforcement of law and prosecution of the perpetrators of violence. He noted that  from the Justice Benedict Okadigbo Tribunal on the Zango-Kataf Religious Crisis, past government had not prosecuted anybody involved in various crises.
In his address during the president’s visit, the governor said: “What we are battling in Kaduna State is the legacy of nearly 40 years of violence and impunity”. He however assured that his administration was determined to  overcome the tragic legacy of strife that has become synonymous with the state.
Advocating for a strong presence of the instruments of state power and security in communities in the state he said:  “Kaduna State is not the only diverse place on this planet, and the people who live in it must not remain trapped in a whirl of hate and division. We need more military, police and paramilitary forces on the ground to affirm the prerogatives of the state, reassure and secure our people, and deter and arrest criminals.
Adding that there are new police divisions being  proposed in Narayi, Sabon Tasha and other identified locations, the governor commended the president for the approval to establish two army formations in Southern Kaduna Senatorial District. He further appealed to Buhari for additional formations in Kasuwan Magani in Kajuru Local Government to complement the presence of the Nigerian Army School of Artillery and the Nigerian Navy School of Armament Technology in Kachia.
He said: “Our society needs to see criminals being prosecuted and convicted for taking lives and destroying property. This signal of the inevitability of sanction will comfort the law-abiding and lawfully punish felons. Therefore, we need the justice sector to ramp up justice delivery. By boosting security assets, improving the pace of prosecutions and strengthening the justice delivery system, the Kaduna State Government will surely be making the state safer.
“But our communities have to enlist in the coalition for peace. Beyond boots on the ground, a phalanx of security agents, and expeditious delivery of justice, the ultimate guarantee of peaceful coexistence is the willingness of individuals and our communities to exercise mutual tolerance and live in peace.”
Enforcing Riots Damage Law
The governor said the state government intends to introduce civic spirit and community responsibility by vigorously enforcing the various provisions of the Riots Damage Law of 1958, the Collective Punishment Law of 1915 and the Peace Preservation Law of 1917.
According to him, these laws impose costs on communities that permit violence in their midst, obliging community members to be charged and levied monies for the cost of repairing damage done during episodes of violence.
CAN, JNI React
Commenting on the issue, the Secretary of Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Sunday Ibrahim and his Jamatu Nasril Islam (JNI) counterpart, Alhaji Ibrahim Kufena, maintained that injustice and unfair distribution of resources are the main causes  the conflicts. They posited that in order to ensure lasting peace and harmony among the various groups, every section must be treated fairly and justly.
“There can hardly be peace where there is no justice, fairness and equity.
If the government is sincere, the problem would be addressed. Fairness in terms of distribution of resources and development of all parts of the state as well as appointments and  employment opportunities for all sections without discrimination on the basis of tribe or religion” the CAN Secretary said.
On his part, Kufena said: “First and foremost, there should be justice in appointment, provision of amenities and so on. Let there be justice. There should be tolerance and people should adhere strictly to the tenets of their religious teachings. Islam and Christianity prohibits the killing of people.”
Peace Commission’s Stategic Plan 
Also in its strategic plan for 2018 to 2022, the Kaduna State Peace Commission noted enumerated several causes of conflicts in the state.
The commission noted that historically, several conflicts have been fueled by mobilisations of ethnic and religious groups.
“In fact, the state recorded at least 35 crises between 1980 and 2017 religious  and ethnic cleavages are reinforced by perceived economic disparities between communities. These include concerns among groups over perceived inequitable access to social mobility and economic opportunities, as well as provision of social amenities and
infrastructure, like schools, health centres, water and electricity supply, location of industries and scholarship awards” the commission stated.

It further expressed expressed on the issue of indigene-ship in the Nigerian Constitution without a clear definition, noting that this might have had some unintended consequences, such as cementing divisions among Nigerians along indigene/settler basis rather than on the basis of their being Nigerian citizens.
“Indigenes are perceived to enjoy preferential access to land, schools, deepening the social inequalities to the detriment in context,” the commission noted. It also attributed the problem to access to land, which is also tied to socio-cultural identities. It is therefore not surprising that it is one of the drivers of conflicts in Kaduna State.
According to the commission, “inequality is another major driver of conflict in Kaduna State. Kaduna has a huge youth population with over 54 per cent of its 6.1million people aged between 15-64 years. The youths are central actors in conflict either as causes, victims or actual perpetrators of conflict”.
Furthermore the commission also pointed out the high rate of unemployment among the youths, limited economic opportunities and easy access to drugs, exposes them to criminal tendencies. The commission also noted that given the  partisan nature of politics in Kaduna, political leaders and successive administrations have been viewed as representing specific political, ethnic or community interests rather than common interest of all people in Kaduna.
It pointed out that based on this partisan nature of political leaders, policies, are therefore also perceived as being skewed in favour of those communities, thereby creating room for politicians to mobilise group identities to achieve personal political ends, which includes engagement in violent conflict.
According to the commission, ethnic groups in the state align with specific parties and individual political actors, adding that the politicisation of ethnicity serves to deepen already existing ethnic divides and makes consensus building on matters of mutual interest between groups difficult. Until political leaders muster the courage to tackle these deeply rooted problems, Kaduna, may continue in this circle of brutality.
However, observers argued that finding a lasting solution to the problem goes beyond law enforcement and prosecution of the perpetrators.
They maintained that addressing root causes of the conflicts is the only permanent solution to ending the violence and the growing animosity among Muslims and Christians in the state.