Gonin-Gora is a semi urban community in Kaduna State, situated about 10 kilometers from the Kaduna metropolis, along Kaduna–Abuja expressway. It is located in Chikun local government area of the state.
Inhabitants of this community, comprising of people from different ethnic and religious groups, hitherto enjoyed a peaceful co-existence.
Citizens had taken advantage of the strategic location of the community to enjoy somewhat uninterrupted and oftentimes lucrative business activities as it is a link of sorts to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and virtually all the states in the North-Central, North-East and North-West, to the southern part of the country.
However, with the religious, tribal and political crises that have bedevilled the North, including Kaduna and Plateau states, peace has eluded the community, thus affecting its socio-economic stability. Some have even nicknamed the area ‘Bermuda Triangle’ or ‘Point of no return’
The once very peaceful Gonin-Gora has suddenly become a volatile area and nightmare to travellers along the Kaduna–Abuja expressway.
Gonin-Gora is fast gaining notoriety as a slaughter kingdom. It is on record that whenever there is crisis in Kaduna or the neighbouring Plateau State, innocent lives are lost and property destroyed by angry youths who usually mount roadblocks at various strategic locations in the community, using the opportunity to cause mayhem.
But what is actually responsible for this unacceptable behaviour of the youths? Going by the history of the community, investigation has revealed that most of its inhabitants, who are 99 per cent Christians, cut across different states and backgrounds.
According to our findings, residents of this community were displaced from certain areas in Kaduna metropolis such as Badarawa, Abakpa, Tudun Wada, Rigasa, to mention a few, during one form of crisis or the other.
However, speaking to LEADERSHIP WEEKEND, one of the village heads of the community, Mallam Yusuf B. Uban Doma (Walin Gbagyi-Dakachin Gonin-Gora), who spoke on behalf of the community and traditional rulers, said that negative stories and claims against Gonin-Gora by interested parties were only a calculated attempt to tarnish the image of the community and give it a satanic posture.
“Obviously, the ultimate objective of those behind this campaign is to set Gonin-Gora up as a target for official and unofficial annihilation. Our attention has been drawn to a news story with the caption, “Dismantle Gonin-Gora Village,” published on page 7 of Daily Trust on Tuesday, July 10, 2012, purportedly written by Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumini Kabir Usman.
The Emir is also reported as claiming that people of a particular tribe in Gonin-Gora engage in wanton killings whenever there is a crisis in Kaduna State. He claimed that it had happened thrice in the recent past, insisting that something must be done by the government to prevent future occurrence.
The emir also suggested that the only way to stop killings in the area was for the federal government to “dismantle the village,’’ Doma said.
The Walin Gbagyi-Dakachin Gonin-Gora wondered why highly respected Nigerians, including people in the caliber of the emir would join this campaign of calumny against Gonin-Gora and Nigerian citizens therein, adding that the first-class emir and his group are peddling with untruths, thereby misinforming the people and sowing seeds of inter-communal distrust and strife.
He revealed that Gonin-Gora is a veritable cosmopolitan community which draws its residents from virtually all ethnic groups, not only in Kaduna State but in the entire Nigerian federation, including tribes such as Igala, Tiv, Ebira, Idoma, Yoruba, and even few Igbos who are also Muslims.
It has been alleged that it is these aggrieved people from different tribes that always take advantage of any upheaval for vengeance.
It was also discovered that this alleged violent disposition of the youths of this community may not be unconnected with poverty, unemployment and lack of educational opportunities.
But another source who did not want his name in print said that Gonin-Gora had been very peaceful after the post-election crisis, saying that “not even a fly has been hurt in the community.’’ He, however, confirmed that some people were actually killed in areas like Sabo, Romi, and Ungwar Bajju (Ungwar BJ), but not in Gonin-Gora.
Speaking further, the Walin Gbagyi-Dakachin Gonin-Gora said that contrary to unpalatable stories about the community, it has served as a refugee camp for people in distress.”
“When the Zango Kataf riot broke out in 1992 and many people were displaced from Rigasa, Tudun Wada and Kabala South and its environs, it was the traditional ruler of Gonin-Gora that offered succour to them,’’ Doma said.
Also speaking to LEADERSHIP WEEKEND, the chairman, Interim Management Committee of Chikun local government area, Mr. Auta Mamman Busa said that the story making the rounds that many people were killed in Gonin-Gora, including a soldier after the Zaria and Kaduna suicide bombing of Churches was grossly exaggerated.
Busa said that he personally monitored developments in the community during the period in question, explaining that he even slept with the police who were sent to keep peace.
“As the chief security officer of Chikun local government, I was physically on ground, and I must tell you that Gonin-Gora did not partake in the reprisal attack that engulfed Kaduna. I was able to speak with the youths,’’ he said, adding that the community was the most peaceful during the reprisal attack.
He added, “In reality, the person killed was killed by a soldier near the Mosque, and honestly, the youth of Gonin-Gora were peaceful and under control. I went personally to speak with the youth, so nobody can tell me stories about my own local government area. I went round from Kujama to Gonin-Gora, as well as Trikania, where it all happened. I also went to Sabon Tasha, including Narayi.’’
A resident of the community, who is also a staff of Conoil, simply identified as Abdul, said that the authorities did not allow any opportunity for a reprisal battle in the community as soldiers were brought in as soon as bomb blasts occurred.
Also speaking to LEADERSHIP WEEKEND, a retired Squadron leader of the Nigerian army and chairman of the Federal Housing Authority in Gonin-Gora, Henry Okinare, who was displaced from Kawo since 1999, condemned the utterances of the Emir of Katsina---that the entire Gonin-Gora be demolished.
“The comment of the emir is most unfortunate. I did not expect that kind of outburst from a man of his calibre,” Okinare said, adding that anywhere there is crisis, there will be killings.
It must be said that whether Gonin-Gora and its environs are a bunch of slaughter region should not occupy the minds of those in positions of authority in the North, the most important thing is how to solve the almost intractable insecurity riddle in the region.