As of yesterday, both sides of Kaduna State have agreed to split the state into two new ones. The Southern part is predominantly Christian and inter-tribal will become Gurara State, while the Northern part of the state is predominantly made up of the Hausa and Fulani will be the New Kaduna State.
Why the split?
For many years now, there have been incessant inter-ethnic and religious clashes in Kaduna State. The split is an extreme measure to bring the violence to an end, after other unsuccessful attempts over the decades.
What went down?
Yesterday, both parties met at the Hassan Katsina House, Kawo, Kaduna. At the state house, both sides presented and defended their memos before the Senate Ad-hoc Committee and the House of Representatives Special Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution. The Governor of Kaduna State, Governor Nasir el-Rufai was there to give the opening remarks.
Representing the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), its president, Jonathan Asake, claimed that they had been demanding for a separate state for over 30 years. He also mentioned a proposal for the new state, Gurara State, was made during the 2014 national Confab. He gave several reasons why Southern Kaduna should be made into a new state, using Kano State to highlight the fact that there are smaller states in existence.
The Northern side, under the name, Kaduna Development Elders Initiative, also supported the motion by demanding for a New Kaduna State. They also submitted a memo which had been signed by Senators from Kaduna North and Central, and also by the Representatives and House of Assembly members of Kaduna North. They claimed that the southern part continued to complain about being marginalised despite being given half the Chiefdoms and occupying over 60% of the state’s workforce.
What demands were made?
Both sides demanded for an amendment to Section 8 of the constitution which makes it nearly impossible for new states to be created. After that amendment, they demanded that the new states be created. However, the Northern group said that though the New Kaduna State is to comprise of Kaduna North and Kaduna Central, a referendum should be carried out so that each section decides where it would like to be.
In addition to these, SOKAPU demanded that the Land Use Act be removed from the constitution so that the people would have more control over their ancestral lands.
What to expect?
The proceedings of the meeting ought to end today. However, yesterday, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Kabiru Gaiya, from Kano State, promised both sides that their memos would be taken up and looked into at the National Assembly.