By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kajuru Local Government chapter of the Adara Development Association (ADA), Kaduna State, has said that it will require about N50 million to rebuild homes destroyed by gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.
The chairman of the chapter, Mumini Madugu, in an interview on Sunday in Kaduna, said 545 houses were destroyed in the attacks, adding that thousands of the Adara people were rendered homeless.
He said Adara communities came under attack days after Governor Nasir el-Rufai announced that 131 Fulani were killed.
Trouble started on February 11, 2019 when gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen invaded Anguwan Barde, an Adara community at about midnight, killing 11 people and burning houses.
The following day, the indigenous Adara natives were alleged to have embarked on reprisals, killing and destroying some Fulani settlements in the locality.
El-Rufai, who visited the Fulani settlements following the reprisals on them, had on February 15, announced that 66 Fulani were killed. He later said 131 Fulani were killed.
Madugu said 128 people have been killed, while 545 houses were destroyed in the series of attacks launched on Adara communities by suspected herdsmen since February 10 to March 11, 2019.
He said: “The attackers in their hundreds first invaded Unguwan Barde, killed 35 people and destroyed 90 houses and proceeded to Karamai village on February 2, killed 42 people and destroyed 196 houses.
“On March 11, Dogon Noma community was also attacked, 71 people were killed, and 259 houses destroyed, making a total of 148 people killed and 545 houses destroyed.
“In all the attacks, 65 people were seriously injured and currently in hospitals receiving treatment, while about N28 million worth of grains and other food stuff were also burnt.
“These attacks have displaced thousands of our people including 2,000 children who are currently taking shelter in eight camps located in Chikun, Kajuru and Kachia Local Government Areas of the state.”
Madugu appealed to governments at all levels and well-meaning Nigerians to come to the aid of the victims by helping them to rebuild their houses so that they can return home.
He thanked government agencies, non-governmental organisations, community organisations and civil society organisations for supporting them with relief materials.
Also speaking on the attacks, an Adara elder and a retired teacher, Mr. Usman Stingo, noted that Kajuru has a history of peaceful coexistence with settlers including the Hausa and Fulani people.
He said the relationship between the Adara people is symbiotic, dating to the days of their fore fathers.
He however lamented that over the years, the relationship began to deteriorate especially in 2017 over a relationship between a Hausa boy and an Adara girl which led to a communal clash resulting in loss of lives and property.
He recalled further that on October 18, 2018, another misunderstanding occurred at Kasuwan Magani and escalated into serious crises that claimed many lives.
“A day after that, the Chief of Adara was kidnapped and murdered. And since then, Kajuru LGA and the Adara people have always been on the news for the wrong reasons,” he said.
Stingo blamed the government for failing to stop the frequent attacks on the community.
“Hardly will anyone convince us that local Fulani in Kajuru are responsible for these attacks, because the accent of the attackers was completely different from that of the Fulani people who live with us.
“We do not believe that the Fulani that we lived with for ages can suddenly have a change of attitude and turned brutal.
“We are of the view that the attackers might have been hired mercenaries, but who hired them is a question we do not have answers to,” Stingo said.
He called the Adara and Fulani elders to close ranks and work together for lasting peace.
“But leaving one group to go searching for who attacked only gives room for suspicions and mistrust which if not properly managed could escalate into a serious crisis with unimaginable consequences.
”The state government must also ensure justice and fairness to all and be a government for all by particularly improving security in the state and bringing the assailants to book,” he said.