Kajuru Accord; terror end in sight as Nigerians unite to fight.

By Bolaji O. Akinyemi.

The sustaining strength of terrorism against the sovereignty of our nation to which we all are potential victims is the costumes of tribe and religion. It is dressed in these lies that we seem to accept is the strength of the none state actors who are embarrassing our international image, insult our government and dividing us along the familiar lines of tribe and religion to kill and maim.

Criminals on rampage on the Plateau, in Benue and Southern Kaduna and Borno are called “Fulani” and the locals who fortunately are Christians unfortunately believe that all Fulanis are Muslims, So these expansionists are illegal miners of our Commonwealth and are getting away with their crimes while our nation burns under the deception of Muslims are Killing Christians. A murderer has no other name in a sane and just social structure; he or she, with or without religion is a murderer!

In Zamfara, Kastina and some parts of Sokoto the crime is the same but the narrative is different. The criminals in those states have no tribe or religion; they are called Bandits to hid their real identity as criminals and murderers!

But the veil has fallen in Kajuru, the breeze has blown and Nigerians across ethnic lines has seen the butt of the fowl!

Kajuru is a local government area in southern Kaduna, in Kaduna State North West Nigeria, with an estimated population of about 150,000 people of mixed ethnic settlements.

A group of about 50 heavily armed criminal gang invaded Kajuru with the mindset of business as usual, but were shocked at the confrontation that met them. They had stormed into the remote farming village of Gefe in the early hours of January 3rd, killing no fewer than 8 residents, including 2 local civilian guards, and kidnapping 50 others, the attack seemed like a rewritten script of the closing latest chapter of Nigeria’s long tragic book. Our battle with violent extremist groups seems to be in sight. For what happened next is the showing of light at the end of the dark tunnel we have traveled since Buhari became the President in 2015. Who under is leadership gave the accused tribal a whopping sum of ₦100 billion through the Meyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association to help end the kidnapping and killings over a period of two years. The violent activities of Fulani herdsmen are not hidden from global monitoring it has made the world dub the the fourth most dangerous and deadly rampaging terror group in the world. This group of men should be made to give account how the money was spent and what it was spent on between then and now. The victims are left to lick their their wound in IDP’S without a vote of ordinary ₦10 billion to them.

The inhabitants of Kajuru rather than retreating into their ethnic and religious cocoons, the area’s predominantly Christian farmers joined forces with their Hausa Muslim neighbors and Native Fulani herders to fight back the criminal invaders. Some members of the communities who spoke as reported by Truth Nigeria said; “We decided enough is enough,” said Yakubu Bala, a local rice farmer and vigilante member made up of villagers from Gefe. “The bandits think we are weak because they can divide us along religious lines. But now we have forged an alliance with our Hausa and Fulani brothers against these killers.”

The report went further; “Nigeria has long struggled to curb sectarian and gang violence within its borders. Kajuru—a remote, semi-arid local government area in the north easter state of Kaduna—has been especially hard hit. Since 2015, extremist militias, some purporting to be Fulani herdsmen seeking grazing land for their cattle, have terrorized the ethnically and religiously diverse region.

In brutal raids aimed at Christian farmers they accuse of taking their grazing land, these heavily-armed groups, which include mercenaries from nations in the Sahel, have killed more than 700 people and displaced tens of thousands more across Kajuru local government in 5 years ( 2015-2020) according to local officials.

With farming and herding communities often living side by side, the Kajuru area has literally become a frontline in the battle between extremist militias and government forces trying to contain them.

“It’s managed chaos here,” says Sgt. Nuhu Bappa, a soldier stationed at a small Nigerian army outpost just outside Kasuwan Magani, a large town in Kajuru. “The bandits strike quickly then disappear back into hills and forests.”

When the January 3rd attack came just after dawn, he says, the fighters struck with military precision—capturing and executing 8 male villagers in minutes, while kidnapping others including women and children to hold for ransom”.

“They specifically targeted young males and their father figures,” Sgt. Bappa says. “It seems they wanted to deliver a message to intimidate the rest of the villagers against resisting them.” but if that was their aim, it seems to have backfired.

Incensed over losing friends and loved ones from their close-knit farming hamlet, Gefe’s residents immediately reached out to their Muslim neighbors from the more predominantly Hausa nearby village of Sako.

After a long meeting over tea, these unlikely allies, joined by local Fulani tribal leaders, forged a pact to fight back against the bandits and protect each other going forward. Men from the area were deputized into joint patrol units, armed with pipe guns, machetes, bows and arrows.

“We decided from now on to trust the good nature of each other,” said Aliyu Ibrahim, an elder from Sako. “These killers come into our home as strangers with guns, speaking languages not our own. But we who live on this land share ties deeper than they can imagine.”

The newly unified local security forces set out in pursuit of the kidnappers soon after they left the ransacked village just after dawn. After tracking them over hilly brushland for nearly 4 miles, a firefight ensued. Though 2 members of the local civilian guard were killed, they succeeded in freeing 20 of the 50 kidnapped villagers, local authorities confirmed.

Unity Over Division
Heartened by this rare instance of communal cooperation against extremist violence, some leaders hope this alliance signals a turning point for the long troubled region.

“When communities stand united, there is power therein which guns cannot conquer,” says Rev. Matthew Abu, a pastor who has helped provide relief to displaced victims of past raids. “What divides us only makes us weaker before these killers.”

In recent months, some Christian leaders have accused the area’s Muslim communities, particularly Fulanis, of harbouring or actively aiding the bandits in carrying out attacks against farming villages. This has aggravated historic tensions stemming from religious differences and resource conflicts between largely Christian farmers and predominantly Muslim Fulani herders.

But Fulani leaders here say they are equally subjected to threats from the extremist militias, and hope this show of solidarity opens a more peaceful chapter of coexistence going forward.
“We have suffered their attacks just the same,” says Sani Umar, a member of the local Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, an umbrella Fulani sociocultural group. “Our cattles have been rustled, our people kidnapped and killed. So why would we not join with our brother villagers—whom we have lived and worked alongside for many years—to stand against these killers?”

If kajuru can do it, Kastina can do better. Community heads should take the lesson from Kajuru and organise themselves ready, bounded in love for life and the need to protect themselves and their neighbours to stop this criminals whatever their claim to religion and tribes are.

Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi, is an Apostle and Nation Builder.