Abuja- The plan by Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna to abrogate the settler/indigene dichotomy is being met with stiff resistance by some powerful groups within the state that view the plan as a deliberate attempt to wipe out, eliminate, exterminate and eradicate thousands of years of history, languages, cultures and diverse distinct identities.
The groups said the deliberate isolation and targeted dehumanisation of Kaduna indigenes by Governor el-Rufai must be resisted by all people of goodwill within and outside Nigeria.
The group on the aegis of ‘Coalition Against the Abrogation of Indigenous Rights’ (CAAIR), pointedly said that the move by Governor el-Rufai is a plot to undermine the indigenes of the state just to satisfy his personal, selfish agenda and inordinate ambition.
The CAAIR asked rhetorically if people from other states and countries like Chad and Niger can come to Kaduna and be given same rights as the (abolished) indigenes, will indigenes from Kaduna be given same rights as indigenes in Katsina, Oyo, Anambra, Borno or Plateau States?
Convener of the coalition, Barrister Habila Bege Akut, who led other members of the groups, told journalists at a briefing in Abuja on Thursday that there is no way a well-intentioned government can contemplate eliminating indigenous rights anywhere in Nigeria or Africa.
Barrister Akut further said; “This attack on Kaduna State indigenes is exclusive and targeted and this is what Governor Nasiru el-Rufai is attempting to effect. He wants everyone else to leave their ancestral homelands where they retain ‘indigeneship’, and come to Kaduna where there will no longer be indigenes, if he has his way.
“History has shown that the worst genocides, killing entire members of indigenous communities, have been carried out by seeking to declare the ancestral territories of the people ‘vacant lands’, ‘No man’s land’, Terra Nullius in Latin, or territories empty of aboriginal, indigenous inhabitants.”
The Coalition further said that the decision to annul the rights of indigenous people in Kaduna state “amounts to an attempt to erase our existence as indigenous communities whose ancestral lands host Kaduna State today.
“Today, members of the Adara Nation in Kaduna State for instance, are subjected to genocidal killings. Their homeland has been balkanised into ‘Kajuru Emirate’ and ‘Kachia Chiefdom’ in August 2018 via a Gazette of the state government.
“Their Chief, Agom Adara, His Royal Highness Dr Maiwada Raphael Galadima, a First Class Royal Father, was assassinated in October 2018, and several villages have been destroyed with thousands of refugees, with Adara elders detained.
“British citizen Faye Mooney, who returned to the UK in a body bag recently, is a victim caught up in attacks on Adara people, the front-line victims today. The Adara Nation is victim today, tomorrow other Kaduna indigenes, and later, it will be Kanuris, Yorubas, Igalas, Ngas, Chibok, Igbos, Efiks, etc, on their homeland with progressively no ‘indigeneship’. We have no place else to go or call ancestral homeland!”
Insisting that indigenous identities are far older than Nigeria or any order that may succeed ‘Nigeria’, the Coalition alleged that the Kaduna state governor was seeking means of exterminating indigenous communities in the state.
The Groups further said; “When the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in September 2007 in favour of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), it was passing a verdict against attacks on and ‘abolition’ of indigenous peoples. We join with the global community in defence of indigenous peoples on this May Day 2019.
“Accordingly, we hereby state that the indigenous people of Kaduna state reject, condemn, abhor, impugn, despise and comprehensively say a resounding NO to Governor Nasiru Ahmed el-Rufai’s attempt to eliminate Kaduna Indigenes.
“We call upon all citizens and people of Nigeria to reject and abhor the ‘residency policy’ and attempts to abolish indigenous peoples and their rights. We call upon the United Nations (UN), Forum on Indigenous Peoples, United States of America, the Russian Federation, Peoples Republic of China, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Federal Republic of Germany, France, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Bolivia and other South American States, African Union, Japan, India, Asian States, Island States, the ICRC and all members of the International and humanitarian Community to speak out against the attacks on indigenous people of Kaduna by Governor Nasiru el-Rufai.
“We also call upon all indigenes, non-indigenes and other residents of Kaduna state to totally reject the deadly policy masked as ‘residency card policy’, reject the Residency Registration Agency as a tool for genocidal undertakings, stand with Kaduna indigenes to defend human dignity and rights.”
The Kaduna state Governor on April 11, 2019, abrogated the settler/indigene dichotomy and set up an agency called ‘Kaduna Residents Registration Agency’ to execute this policy.