Daily Trust

Se­crets of three Kaduna com­mu­ni­ties iso­lated from cri­sis

- From Maryam Ah­madu-Suka, Kaduna Religion · Society · Kaduna State · Niger

Three com­mu­ni­ties in Kaduna State have distin­guished them­selves by strength­en­ing Chris­tian-Mus­lim re­la­tions among res­i­dents in ar­eas where ten­sions between the two groups have be­come com­mon.

Many com­mu­ni­ties in the state have been di­vided along re­li­gious and tribal lines for years and there have been con­sis­tent fears of at­tack from the op­po­site group.

Our cor­re­spon­dent re­ports that the divi­sion fol­lowed the 2011 Zonkwa and Kafan­chan cri­sis, which saw a mas­sive mi­gra­tion of Mus­lims from Chris­tian com­mu­ni­ties and Chris­tians from Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties.

In the wake of the 2011 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Zonkwa and Kafan­chan wit­nessed the burn­ing of churches, mosques, homes and the Kafan­chan mar­ket, which led to at least 13 sep­a­rate re­ports of eth­nore­li­gious clashes in the state.

But com­mu­ni­ties com­pris­ing of Barakallah­u, Down Quar­ters and Kur­min Mashi are go­ing against all odds to en­sure peace among Mus­lims and Chris­tians.

Through their ef­forts, the com­mu­ni­ties have staved off the eth­nore­li­gious cri­sis and earned them­selves recog­ni­tion from a hu­man­i­tar­ian or­ga­ni­za­tion, the Peace Re­vival and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Foun­da­tion.

“In my com­mu­nity, all the tribes have rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the palace so that they can guide us on how we can carry ev­ery­one along,” Dis­trict head of Kur­min Mashi, Al­haji Ab­dul­lahi Rabo said.

“Barakallah­u, in ex­is­tence for over 70 years, has never ex­pe­ri­enced eth­nore­li­gious cri­sis be­cause of the cor­dial re­la­tion­ship between Chris­tians and Mus­lims,” Dis­trict Head of Barakallah­u, Al­haji Muham­mad Ab­dul­lahi con­firmed.

“Down Quar­ters is over 150 years old be­cause it was al­ready in ex­is­tence when the white man brought the rail sys­tem in 1900 and the com­mu­nity has been peace­ful ever since,” the Dis­trict Head of Down Quar­ters, Al­haji Dan­juma Musa said.

Our cor­re­spon­dent re­ports that there are many mixed fam­i­lies in th­ese com­mu­ni­ties, with Mus­lims and Chris­tians be­long­ing to the same fam­ily, thereby strength­en­ing the bonds in the com­mu­nity.

“The representa­tion of the var­i­ous tribes in the palace has fur­ther helped the com­mu­nity in at­tain­ing peace be­cause we are aware of what is hap­pen­ing in ev­ery nook and cranny of Kur­min Mashi and in the event some­thing hap­pens, we quickly jump into ac­tion be­fore it gets out of hand,” Rabo said.

“As our holy books tell us, we have to live in peace with Chris­tians for us to be true Mus­lims, so we the Mus­lims, we al­ways re­spect the Chris­tians and al­low them to prac­tice their re­li­gion and vice versa. Even me, be­ing a tra­di­tional ruler, I go to the church, es­pe­cially when I am in­vited for a wed­ding or nam­ing cer­e­mony and like­wise, the Chris­tians come for our gath­er­ings.

“This is one of the things that have helped us live in peace with one another. There have been many in­stances when com­mu­ni­ties will be in cri­sis but by the grace of God, we have been able to con­trol such cri­sis and be­cause of the re­la­tions we have with one another, you will find a Chris­tian work­ing in a com­pany owned by a Mus­lim and a Mus­lim work­ing in a place owned by a Chris­tian,” he said.

Dis­trict Head of Barakallah­u, Al­haji Muham­mad Ab­dul­lahi con­firmed this claim.

“Among my blood sis­ters, there are Chris­tians. We are Gbaji by tribe, so we are mixed Mus­lims and Chris­tians. That is why im­me­di­ately some­thing hap­pens, a meeting is called to ad­dress the is­sue be­fore it gets out of hand and spoils the peace we have been en­joy­ing with our neigh­bours.

“We have no prob­lems with one another and we are liv­ing in peace that is why any meeting I call, I must en­sure that rep­re­sen­ta­tives of all tribes and re­li­gions are present so that the peo­ple are ad­e­quately rep­re­sented and th­ese is­sues are heard and dealt with,” he said.

He hinted that be­cause of the peace be­ing en­joyed in the com­mu­nity, there has been de­vel­op­ment say­ing, “We are about to flag-off the con­struc­tion of a 1-kilo­me­tre road do­nated to the com­mu­nity by its mem­bers, if there was no peace, this project will not have come to us.”

“Also, be­cause of the peace we have been en­joy­ing, it has brought in a mass in­flux of peo­ple of dif­fer­ent tribes,” he said.

On his part, the dis­trict head of Kur­min Mashi, Alh. Rabo said the com­mu­nity has ben­e­fit­ted from the peace­ful co­ex­is­tence and called on the gov­ern­ment to en­cour­age such com­mu­ni­ties that are striv­ing to live in peace by pro­vid­ing ba­sic so­cial ameni­ties like roads, wa­ter, schools, hos­pi­tals and a skills ac­qui­si­tion cen­tre, which he said will fur­ther en­hance peace in the so­ci­ety.

Giv­ing a brief his­tory about the com­mu­nity, Al­haji Muham­mad Ab­dul­lahi of Barakallah­u said, “My fa­ther, Ab­dul­lahi Gosoro, founded the com­mu­nity when he left Niger State over 70 years ago and set­tled in the com­mu­nity. At that time, there were about three to four houses in the com­mu­nity com­pris­ing my fa­ther’s house, Ab­dul­lahi Gosoro, Mai An­guwa Tanko, Un­guwan Sarkin Noma and Barakallah­u Bakin Titi, founded by late Ma­jor Lawal Bazza.”

The Dis­trict Head of Down Quar­ters, Al­haji Dan­juma-Musa said the name ‘Down Quar­ters’ was coined be­cause that was where labour­ers work­ing on the rail line stayed.

At that time, the houses of the rail­way work­ers started from the Bar­nawa Bridge un­til present day Down Quar­ters and housed Hausa, Igbo Yoruba and many other tribes. In those days, when they sent a labourer on an er­rand, they would say ‘go down the quar­ters or down quar­ters’, hence, the name stuck.

He noted that at the time, there were mostly Fu­lani and Gwari peo­ple at Down Quar­ters, but to­day, there are many other tribes be­cause, “there is no dis­crim­i­na­tion of who you are, or

“As our holy books tell us, we have to live in peace with Chris­tians for us to be true Mus­lims, so we the Mus­lims, we al­ways re­spect the Chris­tians and al­low them to prac­tice their re­li­gion and vice versa’’

where you come from be­cause we see each other as one big fam­ily.”

Pres­i­dent of the Peace Re­vival and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Foun­da­tion, Pas­tor Yo­hanna Buru said, “The com­mu­ni­ties have been able to sus­tain peace and unity between Mus­lims and Chris­tian say­ing, “They are the best and most peace­ful com­mu­ni­ties in the state as there has not been any kind of cri­sis in the ar­eas.

“De­spite the eth­nore­li­gious po­lit­i­cal cri­sis that has af­fected peace sta­bil­ity in the state, Kur­min Mashi, Barakallah­u and Down Quar­ters re­main united as one.

“Th­ese com­mu­ni­ties de­served more than awards for the com­mit­ment and ded­i­ca­tion to­ward pro­mot­ing peace­ful co­ex­is­tence between Mus­lims and Chris­tians in the com­mu­ni­ties,” he said.

Buru called on other com­mu­ni­ties to em­u­late the ges­ture adding, “If all Kaduna com­mu­ni­ties could be like Kur­min Mashi, Barakallu and Down Quar­ters, there would be peace and de­vel­op­ment.”

Tak­ing a cue from th­ese com­mu­ni­ties, one can say there is still hope for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion in Kaduna State.

If three com­mu­ni­ties com­pris­ing of Chris­tians and Mus­lims and var­i­ous tribes in the state can put their dif­fer­ences aside and live in peace, then oth­ers need to look for ways to rec­on­cile their dif­fer­ences.

 ??  ?? Mem­bers of Kur­min-Mashi, Down Quar­ters and Barakallah­u com­mu­ni­ties af­ter re­ceiv­ing awards from the Peace Re­vival and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Foun­da­tion for their roles in strength­en­ing Mus­lim-Chris­tian re­la­tions.
Mem­bers of Kur­min-Mashi, Down Quar­ters and Barakallah­u com­mu­ni­ties af­ter re­ceiv­ing awards from the Peace Re­vival and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Foun­da­tion for their roles in strength­en­ing Mus­lim-Chris­tian re­la­tions.
 ??  ?? Al­haji Muham­mad Ab­dul­lahi. Dis­trict Head of Barakallah­u,
Al­haji Muham­mad Ab­dul­lahi. Dis­trict Head of Barakallah­u,

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