The Federated Kurama Association of Akurmi Chiefdom in Lere Local Government Area, Kaduna State, on Wednesday disagreed with ongoing plans by the state government to restructure existing chiefdoms and emirates.
The President of the association, Mr Dauda Barau, said at a press conference in Kaduna that the plan to restructure the traditional councils based on town or location would be counter productive.
Barau equally expressed fear that the move would likely spark protest and create serious security challenge in the state.
He said that the government had already set up a five-man committee on the matter, with the mandate to submit its report within six weeks.
According to him, the review could be used to either abolish or place chiefdoms like that of Akurmi under an arrangement that makes them subservient to another ethnic group.
“This is because the committee has not made any attempt to consult and engage extensively with stakeholders or call for memorandum to get citizens input.
“This leaves us with one conclusion, that the committee was set up just to fulfill formalities, but the aim and outcome of the review has been pre-determined.
“We equally observe that the composition of the six-man committee lacks the competence to adequately understand the diverse and complex historical antecedents, cultural affinities and other peculiarities of the Chiefdoms.
“Moreso, the ethnic and religious imbalance of the committee also robs it of the impartiality it requires to objectively and fairly advise the government on matters as complex as sensitive as this”.
Barau pointed out that the proposed action contravenes the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
He noted that Article 8 (1) states that: “Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture”.
“Section 8 (2) further requires the state to provide effective mechanism for prevention of any action that may deprive ethnic nationalities their integrity as distinct peoples or their cultural values or ethnic identities.
“In our case, unfortunately, the state is out to do the contrary.”
On the issue of boundary dispute, Barau pointed out that since the creation of Chiefdoms by the Ahmed Makarfi-led Government in 2001, there has been no major land dispute in any part of the state.
“We, therefore, call on the Government of Kaduna State to maintain the present status-quo of Chiefdoms and Emirates in the State, as they reflect our historical heritage and pride as distinct people,” he added.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a document obtained from the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs signed by Abdullahi Sani, Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Affairs and Special Service, has Ibrahim Hussain, Director General, Kaduna State Geographic Information Service as member of the committee.
Others include, Chris Umar, Solicitor General/Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice; Ibrahim Sambo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Rural and Community Development; Aisha Dikko, Special Adviser, Legal Matters and Stephen Joseph, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs. (NAN)