The persecution of indigenous people in Kaduna State

How El Rufai seized our land, handed over to Hausa settlers

By Samuel T. Achie
Atyyap Community Development Association,(ACDA)

I am with you today in response to the purported proscription notice by the former governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, on the Atyap Community Development Association (ACDA) issued on the 28th May, 2023 and backdated to 24th May 2023. We want to put it on record that the backdating of the purported proscription order is illegal, but typically in tune with the hostile and vindictive posture of Malam Nasir El-Rufai to the Atyap ethnic nationality throughout his tenure as Governor of Kaduna State. On the 24th May, 2023, ACDA delivered a letter to the former governor in response to proceedings of a meeting held with the Governor of Kaduna State on 11th May, 2023.

At that meeting, held at Government House at the instance of the Kaduna State Government, Malam Nasir El-Rufai who poured insults, abuses and invectives against some of the prominent and respected Atyap sons and daughters. A copy of the ACDA letter will be made available to the Press immediately after this press briefing, so that the Nigerian public and the world could figure out whether that could be the reason for the proscription of our association. Governor Nasir El-Rufai chose to proscribe ACDA as his last public function as Governor of Kaduna State, on Sunday 28th May, 2023, after leveling some unfounded allegations which the ACDA had not previously been informed about.

The allegations against the ACDA, and the issues and threats on our people by His Excellency, as well as the proscription of our association have vindicated us, as we have maintained that the government apparently has been complicit in the killings of our people and the crisis in the land over the watchful eyes of the former governor who was the chief security officer of the state left more questions than answers. It was during the meeting of 11th May 2023 that one of the representatives of the Hausa community of Zangon Kataf town stated that for the killings and destruction in Atyap land to end the Hausas of Zangon Kataf should be given land; and the same Hausa representative thereafter requested His Excellency, Governor Nasir El-Rufai to use executive fiat to collect Atyap ancestral lands and give them to the Hausas.

The Governor asked whether one week would suffice to carve out the land and grant a Right of Occupancy to the Hausa Community.

The Hausa representatives urged the Governor to use his executive fiat to take the land belonging to the Atyap and hand over to the Hausa within 24 hours. The Atyap at that meeting vehemently protested and rejected such a move, and will continue to resist any show of power on our ancestral heritage.
Gentlemen of the press, let me categorically bring to your notice that Atyap Community Development Association was first registered with the corporate Affairs Commission as the Kataf Youth Development Association (KYDA) on 4th October, 1989.

The name was later changed to Atyap Community Development Association (ACDA) and registered again with the CAC on 27th January, 2010, with branches all over the 36 states and the FCT Abuja and in the Diaspora. All these years the KYDA and ACDA have been law abiding corporate entities, and have remained so. The Atyap, as members of ACDA have been peaceful and law abiding citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Governor El-Rufai resorted to illegality in purporting to proscribe the ACDA because neither he nor his agents and privies could produce an Order by a Federal High Court that granted the governor the right to proscribe the association as demanded by law. ACDA, as a duly registered organization with the Federal Government of Nigeria has not been served with any process initiated by the government on the allegations contained on the public statement on the purported proscription of our association.

The members of ACDA have the fundamental human right to associate, and such a right cannot be proscribed by any authority without the due process prescribed by law. The ACDA therefore wishes to state that until the Kaduna State Government complies with the letter and spirit of the law, we shall not be bound by the proscription order.

We also demand that until the former governor writes and communicates to ACDA the actual `reasons for the proscription notice, we demand a public apology from him and the Kaduna State Government for calling us all kind of names and his claims of our association being a problem to the society. Our right to freedom of speech, association which is under threats by his action will not be accepted. Within a month from the date of his proscription notice, if there is no action from the government we will be left with no option than to take the necessary legal recourse to redeem the good name of the Atyap Community Development Association, to challenge the encroachment on our fundamental human rights as enshrine in the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
I call on all sons and daughters of Atyap land to be calm and law abiding as we remain resolute in our resolve to protect our land and people from anybody who thinks they can come from nowhere and take our land. To our Hausa Brothers in Zango Urban, we urge you to reject those agents provocateurs based in Kaduna and Abuja who are always trying to knock our heads while they remain safely behind their walled mansions in the cities. We have always engaged in dialogue to solve our challenges, until such divisive forces interfere to use force or government fiat to disrupt our peaceful relations. We urge the peace loving people in Zangon Kataf town to embrace dialogue and eschew violence. We urge the Hausa community of Zangon Kataf town to join the peace-loving Atyap to remove all the criminal elements from our land in order to return to the peace that we had enjoyed before the violent groups with the complicity of government set out to destroy the peace we have all worked so hard to build and sustain all the years.
I want to at this juncture congratulate His Excellency Senator Uba Sani on taking over the mantle of leadership in our State, and also hope he will do the needful to put an end to the incessant killings and crises in Atyap land and Southern Kaduna.
In conclusion, I say a big congratulation to our people for sailing through eight years of dictatorship, tribalism, religious bigotry and sheer hatred on our people by the immediate past government of the state. Let us continue to pray and watch as the struggle for our freedom and emancipation seems to just be starting. We will not give up, as surely we shall celebrate our freedom one day.

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