Former Attorney General of Kaduna State, Jonathan Kish Adamu, in this interview says these are the worst of times for the Southern Kaduna people as he gives an insight into the crises that have bedeviled the region in recent times
What is your opinion on the Southern Kaduna Killings?
It is most worrisome and my worry did not start just today, I was part of a demonstration against the killings while the PDP was still in Power. In fact a government that I served in was still in authority at that time and I was part of the demonstration and I said in meetings that we should place more value in stopping the Killings and taking care of the people that God has placed under our authority.It is worrying what is happening, first of all,there have been attacks that have been going on in Southern Kaduna and the people have been under siege for a long time. It has affected everybody whether you are a native of Southern Kaduna,Hausa,Fulani,Muslim or Christian,it has affected everybody. So there have been concerns that that situation is resolved,but beyond that,the people of Southern Kaduna these are the worst of times for them I would say.
There have been allegations of the governor gagging those who speak out, is that true?
There are concerns and why it looks like there is a deliberate attempt to muscling voices in Southern Kaduna is that, we saw the situation where John Danfulani was harassed in the University, to the point where he had to resign, then Luka Binniyat who was charged to court, Audu Maikori which was the funniest one….
In his own case,he was said to have retracted his own allegation
Yes, so there was no basis to arrest him,he had shown that he was misled and everything he did was in the belief that the information was right,the moment he realised he was wrong,he took the driver to the police station himself where he was arrested,the man confessed that he supplied the pictures and the wrong information to his Boss, Audu Maikori. Who in turn made a public apology,retracting that statement.I think that showed he was a gentleman and that his write up was not in bad faith and I think that should have been enough but to go ahead and arrest him and charge him to court,for me looks like there is more to it than that.Then while we are still trying to get over Audu Maikori’s case there was a direct threat at Gloria Ballason when the NBA paid a visit to the Governor, he indirectly threatened her with arrest and then we have Andy Yakubu whose house was searched and some money was found, he claimed the money belonged to him. So far the government has not established any offence against him,a few people have spoken about money laundering here and there which to me is neither here nor there,you can always find reason to arrest somebody,if you want to mess them up,you can always find enough reason to do that. So we are dealing with that and then yesterday a hundred people went to lay siege on the house of Senator Danjumah Laah…
A hundred, who counted?
That is what he said. He said up to a hundred men, both in plain clothes and in uniform. He wasn’t there but he said that was the report that was given to him, and you can easily gauge the size of a crowd,that is not difficult to do. And then people were passing by and they noticed that happen and so if somebody is interested he can actually count. So for me it is not an issue but it’s not even the number but the fact that it’s part of a trend that we see. Now if those people had committed offences then fine, we are not saying that government should not do its job, but when you see a pattern emerging of voices being muscled then it begins to worry you.If you look at the comments claimed to have made been made by those I mentioned,none of them has said anything worse than the Governor , Nasir El- Rufai has said.Nobody has incited people to violence,nobody has made hate statements,nobody has blasphemed and yet he has not been arrested. So I do not know why he would adopt that approach dealing with a problem that is there.
In your legal opinion,what would be your recommendations towards checking some of these excesses whether that of the governor or those of the indigenes?
The governor, I think should realise that he is a governor of everybody and that force does not always solve problems. Also he has not been the only person who has been in power. I remember Late Patrick Yakowa when he was governor, we had a Judicial Commission of Inquiry,which found Gen.Muhammadu Buhari to have been one of the reasons why there was the post 2011 post presidential election violence, he was indicted clearly,so ordinarily we ought to have arrested him, I was the Attorney General of the state at that time,but what would have been the consequence of arresting him at that time, would that have helped the situation? Would that have brought the peace that we were looking for? Not only Gen. Buhari but several other people had made statements that would have been considered inciting and we had to find a way of dealing with the situation without aggravating it. What the Governor is doing right now is aggravating the situation and it is very sad that he would do that.If somebody breaks the law, apply the law fairly and not selectively.
What’s your view on Governor el- Rufai’s allegation that previous reports have never been implemented
That is a straight lie.I was Attorney General of Kaduna state and there are two reports here(shows the reporter)the white paper on the report of the committee to review Policy and structure of government, basically the blue print. Of the Yakowa administration and a major recommendation was that previous reports should be implemented. I was one of those charged with the responsibility and we started. We got all the previous white papers and set up a committee in my Ministry and started taking them one by one. And one of the things I found very interestingly is that lots of those reports are actually being implemented. Makarfi did a lot, the Chiefdoms,some of them came out of previous white papers, we had all kinds of Inter religious committee’s set up,they all came out of all those white papers. What we did was to basically tell all the Ministries to begin to implement their own part, so you don’t hear noise, or people saying they did his because of this white paper, you just go ahead and Implement them.Like the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the Post presidential election crises,we found out for instance that a lot of people that were mentioned to have been involved in the Killings there were no evidences against them. There were allegations against them,they were never indicted,so to some extent we can’t say crimes had been established against these people.Their names were written as those who started the crises,I wrote to the Commissioner of Police and said investigate and give us your report and I said if you find any crimes established against anybody,we would charge them to court. I sent another reminder but up to the time I left office I never would say that I got any report.Beyond that we had actually had people arrested and we’re in custody. I arranged a press conference about a year into the Yakowa’s administration where I spoke about over 300 hundred people that had been arrested,we had recommended that those of which offences had been established should be charged to court and those not established be reviewed and those that needed to be allowed to go were,it was an on going process until we left office so for the Governor to keep saying people were never changed to office is not correct.I have been out of office for four years I do not know what has been the outcome of those trials. The cases ranged from civil disturbances, arson and so on and they were not people from one part of the state but from all parts of the state.
There has also been an outcry against the creation of grazing reserves in that region, what is your view on that?
The Fulani herdsmen and others who rear cattle have a legitimate right like any other Nigerian to go about their business but like we all know,rearing cattle is a business,just like person who farms,Now the world is evolving and we cannot carry on that business the way it was before, we need to modernise the grazing of cattle and I think the model we have now is ranching. And in fact some of the cattle we see roaming around are not owned by the local Fulani man but by prominent people in society who just hire the Fulani people to keep the cattle, so this people should begin to think about getting their own land and rearing their cattle within confined spaces. Because having a grazing reserves is worrying as what you would tend to do is for a group of people to take a large track of land to graze,that is going to generate it’s own crises in due season.
I cannot say for instance that the Laduga grazing reserve is a perfect example of how it should be,being the most prominent, but people there are not grazing cattle from what I hear,they are building houses,markets and settled and living like city dwellers, so I do not think that was the intention of the grazing reserve.