Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai has challenged traditional rulers in the state to show any piece of land that has been forcibly acquired or illegally occupied in their domains.
He was reacting to the allegation by southern Kaduna leaders that their land had been annexed to Fulani herdsmen as grazing reserves.
Leaders of southern Kaduna had decried attacks by armed herdsmen who invaded their communities, destroyed homes and took over lands for grazing.
The governor, however, charged the monarchs to support security agencies in restoring peace in their communities, and to offer inclusive leadership to their subjects.
During a meeting of the state’s council of chiefs, el-Rufai pointed out that his administration’s principle of citizenship was based on residency.
According to him, the misinformation about the situation in southern Kaduna would not distract him from ending the four-decade-long violent conflict in the state.
He regretted that “false claims” about land grabbing were made without any evidence in 2016 and 2017 and were being repeated in the current crisis.
El-Rufai recalled that his first official assignment as governor was to preside over an emergency security council meeting he convened on May 30, 2015, following reports of killings in Sanga Council on May 29, 2015.
Said he: “The outcome of that meeting was the setting up of a committee chaired by Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (now retired Chief of Army Staff) to study and proffer solutions to the incessant killings in southern Kaduna, which had intensified since the violent aftermath of the 2011 elections.”