Peace may have finally returned to violence-ravaged Kaninkon Chiefdom, Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State, as the people of the seven Native districts and the only Fulani district in the Chiefdom have agreed to end hostilities after a protracted peace process brokered by the Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria.
The Kaninkon chiefdom made sad, prominent headlines since December 2016 after series of violence in their communities.
The meeting was an enlarged one comprising all the eight District Heads of the Chiefdom, their religious, youths and women leaders, at the palace of TumNikyop (Chief of Kaninkon), MallamTankoTete, at Unguwan Fari, about 5km from Kafanchan.
Making clarification to our correspondent before the meeting, the Country Director of Global Peace Foundation Nigeria, Mr. John Oko said, “Perennial crises in Southern Kaduna over the past years have engulfed so many human lives, destroyed properties and brought untold hardship and misery to survivors.
“In 2016, precisely the night of December 24th, the most recent spate of violent conflicts spilled over to Kaninkon chiefdom.
“From accounts, the crisis in the chiefdom between Fulanis and Kaninkon Natives resulted in the actors ‘taking the law into their own hands’ as the problem took ethno-religious dimension.
“Both parties became aggressive and hostile towards one another to the point that farmers could no longer access their farms for farming due to persistent killings of natives in the area. On the other hand, Fulani herdsmen were also denied freedom of movement within the natives’ domain as they might also be killed in the name of vengeance.
Before now, we had several meeting spanning months with key stakeholders. We also had several consultation meetings in Kaninkon communities including Dangoma, Goska, BakinKogi and Anbam.
“We also met separately with key stakeholders such as Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Southern Kaduna Peoples’ Union (SOKAPU), Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Jama’atuNasril Islam (JNI), District Heads of Fulani Communities, the Paramount Ruler and the Eight District Heads of Kaninkon chiefdom, Youths of both Fulani and Natives of the Chiefdom, as well as Women.
“The impact of the aforementioned peace-making processes brought about many other dialogue meetings within the chiefdom and resulted in both parties agreeing to sheath their swords and come to this reconciliation meeting at UngwanFari, the Kaninkon Chiefdom Headquarters today, June 6.” he said.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Rev. Joseph Hayab, and Sheikh HaliruMaraya, Northern Co-coordinators of the GPF Nigeria, exhorted the gathering on the Christian and Islamic values of forgiveness, reconciliation and peace. They encouraged them to be open and frank and to reach a position of common agreement.
After hours of deliberations, the eight districts unanimously agreed to forgive each other and that all farmers and herdsmen should go about their normal activities. They also agreed to form very closed collaborations to attain pre-conflict relationship while encouraging all their critical stakeholders resident outside the chiefdom to honour the development.
The Country Director of Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria, Mr. John Oko, told our correspondent that he was happy with the outcome. He said: “GPF is happy with this outcome. We shall continue to monitor the progress and work with the communities to ensure sustainable peace returns. We believe that both parties are tired of the hostilities.
“We also hope to use this development as a template for engaging other affected communities in Southern Kaduna going forward.” he said.