Sanga killings and the hidden agenda

March 21st, 2019

By Hassan Zaggi

Last weekend, Nigerians woke up with a heart­breaking story of the gruesome killing of 10 peo­ple in Nandu, a calm settle­ment in Sanga Local Gov­ernment Area of Kaduna State.

Nandu village is just few killometres away from Gwantu, the Sanga Local Government Headquarters. It is a purely a rural settle­ment. All residents of the area are peasant farmers.

The killing of the inno­cent villagers in the cool hours of the early morning of last Saturday was so bru­tal because the villagers were caught unawares. Innocent children were not left out as many of them were callously murdered and many people sustained injuries. Almost all houses in the village were torched. Those who sur­vived were left with nothing to start life with. Their farm produce, cloths and all other belongings were bunt down.

This is not the first time residents of Sanga Local Government Area are be­ing subjected to such bar­baric treatment by suspect­ed herdsmen.

It would be recalled that in June 2014, in one sweep, 32 people were killed by sus­pected Fulani herdsmen. This followed with several killings in different villag­es of the local government area leading to the displace­ment of hundreds of people from their ancestral homes. In fact, most villages across all the districts in Sanga lo­cal government area have one gory story or the oth­er to tell about their expe­rience with the dare-devil herdsmen.

As that is not enough, the Chairman, traditional coun­cil of Sanga Local Govern­ment, the Etum Numana, Dr. Gambo Makama, was murdered together with his pregnant wife and few others in his village- Tsau­ni Ayuba, on December 31, 2017.

His house and his official vehicle were not spared by the agents from hell as both were burnt down. Up till now, these killers are still at large.

It is worth noting that since 2014, residents of San­ga Local Government Area have not known peace. There have been silent at­tacks on innocent farm­ers by the suspected Fulani herdsmen in different villag­es across the local govern­ment. Most of the attacks could not attract the atten­tion of the media, hence, were not heard by many.

As it is now, the economy of the local government has been literarily paralysed be­cause of the serial attacks on farmers by herdsmen. This is because the economy of Sanga local government is largely driven by farmers. It is among the local govern­ments in the country where large quantities of yams, banana, soya beans, guin­ea corn are produced in the country.

Since the past five years, most farmers don’t have ac­cess to their farms. Most times, if they muscle the courage to go and plant their crops, the Fulani herdsmen will go with their cattle and destroy the farm lands. In some cases, the poor farm­ers are beaten to stupor, in­jured and in rare cases, killed.

The questions though are: What has the peace-lov­ing people of Sanga Local Government Area done to warrant such satanic treat­ment? What is the motive of the killers? Who is behind them? And whose script are they playing?

Discreet findings by The AUTHORITY showed that the recent killing at Nandu is allegedly a reprisal attack.

Sources in the area alleged that there was a squabble be­tween a Fulani man and a resident of Nandu few years back and that it was not re­solved. The source alleged that since Fulani people don’t easily forgive, the re­cent killing could be their own way of settling the dis­pute.

Another popular postu­lation making the rounds about the recent killings, in fact, including the other killings in the area, is that the suspected herdsmen are making frantic efforts to dis­place residents of the vari­ous villages in order take over both the villages and their farms for their pasto­ralist activities.
This is the suspicion many residents of the area are holding to.

According to them, most of the farm lands the people of the area could not have access to due to fear of being killed have since been tak­en over by the Fulani herds­men.

In facts, reports coming from communities living in areas close to the river banks revealed that the residents have become constant tar­gets of the herdsmen. They cannot access their farms for both the dry and rainy season farming activities as both their men and women are hounded on a daily basis by the suspected herdsmen.
The Way Forward

The Kaduna State govern­ment must up its game. The Kaduna State Government has a burden on its shoulder as far as the lives and prop­erty of the residents of San­ga Local Government Area are concerned.

It is a constitutional re­sponsibility of the Nasir el-Rufai-led government to ensure that the lives and property of the poor and peasant farmers residing in Sanga Local Government are adequately protected.

The primary responsibili­ty of any legitimate govern­ment across the world is the protection of lives and prop­erty of its citizens. Any gov­ernment that fails to delivery this primary responsibili­ty, it is a fact known inter­nationally that such govern­ment has failed. In fact, in sane climes, those at the helm of affairs in such gov­ernments always take the path of honour by resigning.

Even though the Kaduna State Police Command has dispatched some troupes to ensure that normalcy returns to the area, this, to many, is just temporary measure.
The government and in­deed, the security agencies must find a permanent so­lution to the recurrent kill­ings in Sanga Local Govern­ment Area.

One of the permanent solu­tions is to create a permanent Mobile Police base in Sanga local government.

Providing the local govern­ment with a well equipped military base will not be a bad idea since the area has become a notorious flash point over the years with attendant loss of lives and property.

It is important to call on the Kaduna state government to, as a matter of urgency, inter­vene and assist the residents of Nandu with food, cloth­ings and building materials to enable them start a new life.

On the other hand, the state government must also demonstrate high level sin­cerity in tackling the securi­ty challenges in Sanga local government.
*Zaggi is a Crime Editor at The AUTHORITY Newspa­pers.

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