President Muhammadu Buhari has recently assented to the CAMA bill. What is your view and the stand of the Church?
The truth is that, CAMA bill is not practicable with the Church now, not that we don’t have confidence in the government. Buhari regime may mean well but there might be interpreters who will use that to witch-hunt of the Church or any group of people, that’s what we fear, especially a nation that is still unstable like Nigeria, where people selfishly use the law to carry out selfish agendas, we cannot trust this law as it is now and we cannot entrust our future into it. So, we’ll call upon the President to review it or send it back to the parliament and get it redone because the Church normally pray before the se-lection of board of trustees, the Church will think for the long-run before it appoint any one. If anyone or a member of the board of trustees offends the Government or have a problem and the Govern-ment decides to remove the person that will destabilize the Church. There are a lot of scenario that can be built around that and it does not portray well for the Church and the future security, the Gov-ernment must know this and that’s why the Church cannot accept it whether the government change it or not. Kaduna State government has finally opened worship places for normal activities with adher-ence to Covid -19 protocols.
How did you receive such news?
I received the news with great joy I think that is one of the best things Governor el-Rufai has done for us, let me explain why I said so, because he did not restrict us to a particular number as long as we keep the Covid-19 rules and have enough space to do the social distancing.
In your opinion, did you think Nigerians have learnt a lesson particularly the Government towards promoting the health sector as a result of the Covid-19 experiences?
That’s where I have a little problem. I think our leadership system in Nigeria, I am not talking about this government alone, we need to be more strategic in our thinking and planning for crises. For ex-ample, why won’t the government pick a few brains, we have many intelligent people in this country, make them bring our own domestic solutions to the challenge of Covid-19.
Why can’t it be said that the first initiative came from Africa? Bringing solutions which made it easier for people to survive Covid-19?
Why can’t we have original African programmes that would bring genuine African solutions to our problems?
Why can’t we domesticate the problems, own it and bring solution?
Southern Kaduna has been under series of attacks by suspected Fulani militia, as the new chairman board of trustees of the Southern Kaduna Christians Elders Forum, what physical or spiritual measures are you putting in place to bring the blood letting to an end? You see, the herdsmen crises has not al-ways been there the problem has always been between the Indigenous people more and the Hausas. We use to call them Hausa Fulani all together, the thing is that in those days it was more of the Hau-sas. This particular one is very peculiar in the sense that the recent one in Zango Kataf local govern-ment was between an Atyap man and a Hausa man initially and then as the devil would have it a Fula-ni Village was affected because of the over reaction of the youth to their own death, they were the ones that were wounded first but you see the world does not tell that side of the story. But in their humanity without consulting with the elders of the Community or the Chief they went to take venge-ance on their own in that Fulani Community then the elders and the Chiefs intervened, the Fulani were already on a war path and they would not be appeased no matter how many people they killed as vengeance for those who were killed in that particular settlement.
So, that open the gate for waves of killings from village to village and the question I asked at a particu-lar time was that how many death would be enough to appease the Fulani’s death? Or until the whole of Southern Kaduna is wiped-out before they would be happy that they’ve taken a full vengeance. If the leaders have lost control over their people then we are in trouble in this country and I still hold the leadership responsible for this bloodletting. Even if they don’t like the indigenous tribes in Southern Kaduna we are begging for peace.
The vengeance continued, but at what point would an offended person say he has been appeased?
And that is why I still hold this peace treaty suspicious. Yes the Atyap traditional Council just initiated a peace meeting which is good and in the right direction but the peace itself is it from the root? Has the ordinary man been appeased or only leaders who have lost contact with the ordinary people who are not even in control of the ordinary people are busy speaking on behalf of the people that did not send them.
How many of those aggrieved, when I say aggrieved I don’t mean a community, am talking about in-dividual families that were affected, were they included in this peace treaty? How many of them sign the peace pact along side Generals and the Agwatyap?
Am just asking questions, did the father of the boy that was initially killed, the Reverend, did he sign that peace treaty with them? Or they use his mouth to eat Cola depicting he has forgiven the killers.
The Fulanis that their families were killed did their relations sign the peace treaty with them?
Often times what we do in Nigeria is that we don’t really get the victims and appease them we ap-pease other people on behalf of the victims, that is wrong. Am alive if my uncle was killed I have the right to be part of that meeting otherwise tomorrow I will tell you, you did it for yourself. So, they need to look at this thing holistically, anybody who wants to make input into this he has to be holistic in his approach, the Fulani victims must be involved, other tribes that were affected must be involved in the peace process also.
Then another angle I want to bring up here is that they did that of Atyap what about that of Kajuru, that of the Adara people?
What about the Zikpak the Fantswuan people, the Kukum Daji people, has anybody fully gone ahead to appease all of them? Lastly, I would tell you the truth because I live on the ground. We don’t have a problem with our fellow Fulanis I still have them we relate we talk, sincerely I drink their (Fura da No-no) every two days and I have not been afraid of poisoning because I don’t have a problem with them. Recently, Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai alleged that the Southern Kaduna elites are the ones organizing the killings so that government can appease them with “ Brown Envelope.”
As the chairman of the Christian elders from Southern Kaduna, what is your reaction to such allega-tion?
Let him name them.
The question is who give them money?
If it is the government, why would the government gave them money and turn around and accused them? He has been giving them money that is why, he knows them and he should name them that’s our stand. Some of us who are at home in Southern Kaduna, let them name the bad eggs amongst us so that we can settle this matter even within us, we are that matured, I repeat we are that matured. We have our own institutions that we can deal with our bad eggs. Maybe is because of what the Ka-duna State governor said that the Islamic group rose up and requested that General Zamani Lekwot should be killed and we will hold the Kaduna State government responsible if anything happens to him, because if they say it is the elites, Lekwot is an elite and I am also an elite.
So, if they say it is the elites, the question is who organized it?
I don’t understand in the sense that it is our Villages that are being invaded and being burnt down. Is it the Southern Kaduna elites that are organizing the Fulanis to kill their own people?
The government needs to give us an educated answer or explain it themselves or apologize to us. Since you as a Journalist said the Government said I am not the one who said the Government said. So, I am telling you to tell the Government to apologize to our people or they should name the elites and punish them not trump up charges on innocent people they have failed to protect.
But which elites?
We are even blaming our elites for inaction, have you not noticed that since the crises started it is only the SOKAPU Union that has been speaking? Don’t insult us we have far bigger brains than the SOKAPU leadership, how many of them have spoken? The only one who dare to speak that I may call elite now is Dr. Obadiah Mailafiya. Can you see how he has been hunted? Is because we don’t have proper law-yers in Southern Kaduna they would have taken the government to court. I am a clergy but sometimes I wish I can remove that rope and take them to court. A group under the auspices of Sharia Supreme Council of Nigeria recently called for the execution of General Zamani Lekwot over the 1992 Zangon Kataf Crises.
As someone with deep knowledge of what happened, during and after the crisis, what is your reac-tion to this? What group did you call?
Sharia Supreme Council? Did they go to school? Are they educated people? Do they know how the laws of government work? If they are the voice of Islam in Nigeria we are in trouble, there is no future for peace in this nation. I want to repeat if they are the standard for Islam in Nigeria then I am ashamed of this country, and since they spoke has another voice tried to correct them from within the Muslim Umma? If no voice has tried to correct them then maybe that is the best leadership they have.
Now I understand why the Boko Haram crisis is still going on. Its because there are not even Muslims who have enough understanding and maturity to know how to approach the Boko Haram people, did you hear what I just said, its this kind of poor leadership that is creating all this factions of militants and lastly; what did the government do to them?
If it were Christians, the man who said that would have slept in DSS office or if I say that now even in this interview the IG himself will send his own special squad to come and take me out here by force, how many of them have reported in Abuja? So how can we feel a sense of justice in a nation that serves justice with two different hands and two different measures I still want to repeat, people that have done lesser things ended up in DSS or CID or Nigerian police. Where are the Junaid Mohammeds who normally condemn those who talk freely why have they not spoken in this matter? The Shehu Sanis, I am calling this people because the Muslims will condemn Christians who speak, they will say they are speaking because they are Christians
A lot of people within and outside the country believed that in the past five years Christians and the Church have been under persecution, do you agree with that?
Why will you say five years? Christians in the North have never had a fair deal since after the first rul-ers at independence.
The present Islamic North keep on talking about the glory of the Sardauna how many of them have lived up to the principles of the Sardauna?
After all they are the ones that have created this problems today, by this mutual suspicion they have broken every everlasting covenant that God has put to sustain humanity. I have Muslim elders who protected me when I was in the University in Bayero, people like Professor Muzali Jubril, then he was a Doctor. Muzali Jubril were our mentor, where are their types now? Why do I not feel as safe any-more? Why do I have to keep quite and be careful to what I say when am in the presence of a Muslim? There seems to be a mutual fear, so look if you say the last five years then the younger generation does not have things in perspective and that is my fear.
There is a generation that is coming that is losing perspective and that is why if we must settle this matter we must settle it now with those who know the roots of this issue not leave it to your genera-tion. Your generation is still naïve and your generation is just crying for peace, they don’t care about what happened and I agree with them but who will implement that peace when those manipulating the process belong to that older generation that created it in the first place. Those spearheading the peace now belong to the generation that created the problem now. Only God can intervene and some wise radical rulers that God will raise for us whether they are Muslims or Christians to bring solution. We need matured leadership, we need leadership that has proper perspective and are willing to make sacrifices to completely restore the sanity and sanctity of this nation. Every report, I mean reports of different conferences recommended creation of Gurara state.
In your observation, what is the problem behind the realization of a state for the Southern Kaduna people?
I won’t say you should ask the Zazzau people because at a point they also wanted a state, so it is not only the Southern Kaduna or Gurara related tribes that wanted a state. My feeling is that some people are afraid that one segment of the society might overtake them in development, because Southern Kaduna are not lazy people. We may have our differences but give us our State and see what happens, Katsina will come and borrow money. All this things they’re saying some States have been going bank-rupt it won’t happen in Southern Kaduna, and I mean it. We have a lot of minerals, our farms, we have the richest lands in the middle-belt and we have people with high IQ . Let me make a comment here because I also made the comment during my preaching. There is so much bad blood between the North and the South of Kaduna State.