El-Rufai under fire for abolishing settler/indigene divide

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A group, which identified itself as the Coalition Against the Abrogation of Indigenous Rights, CAAIR, has faulted the recent abolition of settler/indigene dichotomy by Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai of Kaduna state.

The group stated that it is a plot to undermine indigenes of the state.

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Speaking to the media in Abuja, the Convener of the coalition, Barrister Habila Bege Akut, said el-Rufai’s abrogation of the settler/indigene dichotomy amounts to a deliberate effort “to wipe out, eliminate, exterminate and eradicate thousands of years of history, languages, cultures and diverse distinct identities.”

He asked, “How can any well-intentioned government contemplate eliminating indigenous rights anywhere in Nigeria or Africa?

“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.

“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? This isolation and targeted dehumanisation must be resisted by all people of goodwill within and outside Nigeria.”

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According to CAAIR, the decision to annul the rights of indigenous people in Kaduna state amounts to an attempt to erase their 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!”

While insisting that indigenous identities are far older than Nigeria, the coalition alleged that the Kaduna state governor was seeking means of exterminating indigenous communities in the state.

According to the group, “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, U.N. 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.”

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The Kaduna state Governor had on Thursday April 11, 2019, abrogated the settler/indigene dichotomy and set up an agency known as ‘Kaduna Residents Registration Agency’ to execute the policy.

 

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