18 June 2002

Nigeria: Crisis Brews in Kaduna Over New LGs

Kaduna — Kaduna State appears set to witness another round of crises, as sections of its communities have continued to protest the recent creation of new local governments in the state.

Folowing a bill which government had sponsored, the Kaduna State House of Assembly last week announced the approval for the creation of 26 new local councils, bringing the total number to 49, from 23.

The Bajju Development Association (BADA) of Southern Kaduna State and the Southern Kaduna indigenes resident in Kaduna, yesterday demanded a halt to the creation of the local councils.

They said that the process was capable of causing chaos, as, according to them, it was being done bereft of justice and equity, and contrary to the results of a referendum conducted in 2001.

BADA, at a press conference addressed by its President, Mr Agwaza Bakimi, said that, "it is, therefore, the demand of the Bajju community that the Kaduna State House of Assembly retraces its steps and adhere strictly to the desire of the people as expressed in the result of the referendum, and as submitted by the executive governor of Kaduna State.

"The Bajju community will employ all constitutional means to redress this problem should the Kaduna State House of Assembly fail to redress the issue, in the interest of fairness, justice and equity."

On their part, the Southern Kaduna people resident in the Kaduna South Local Government, in the Kaduna metropolis, said they are opposed to the creation of the proposed Tudun Wada local government area.

Led by Mr Francis Danladi Kozah, the protesters at a press conference yesterday, asked the House of Assembly to tread the path of local government creation with caution and justice.

According to Kozah, "we wish to restate our total suport for the creation of a new Kaduna South local government area, with headquarters at Makera, to comprise Makera Ward, Kakuri Hausa, Kakuri Gwari, Television and Barnawa wards only, in the present Kaduna South local government area, with River Kaduna as its natural boundary."

The Kaduna State House of Assembly had initiated other processes which had culminated in the February 2000 bloody religious riots in Kaduna.

The House then began a debate which sought to introduce Sharia in the state which has a very large population of Christians.

The constitution of some wards in some of the new local governments may remain a veritable instrument of crisis.

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