Updated: Oct 27, 2021
COMMENTS, OBSERVATIONS AND RESOLUTIONS ON
“A BILL FOR A LAW FOR THE TRADITIONAL INSTITUTION IN KADUNA STATE, 2021”
PRESENTED TO THE KADUNA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY BY THE KADUNA STATE GOVERNMENT, 2021
SOUTHERN KADUNA AUTOCHTHONES
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATIONS FORUM
COMMENTS, OBSERVATIONS AND RESOLUTIONS ON
“A BILL FOR A LAW FOR THE TRADITIONAL INSTITUTION IN KADUNA STATE, 2021”
1. The Autochthones Community Development Associations of Southern Kaduna met to discuss “A Bill For A Law For The Traditional Institution In Kaduna State, 2021”, produced by the Kaduna State Government and circulated to Emirate and Traditional Councils by the Ministry of Local Government Affairs in March 2021. Since 2017, the administration of Malam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai in Kaduna State has been involved in what they describe as “restructuring” of the Traditional Institutions in Kaduna State, supposedly in order to make the traditional institutions “serve the people better as well as restore its fading glory”. In doing so the Kaduna State Government has introduced measures which have been published in various gazettes, and the current draft Bill seeks to back these measures with legislation to give legal effect to the government’s actions.
2. Several organizations, individuals and groups have challenged the measures by the Kaduna State Government as being arbitrary, divisive, ill-intentioned and reactionary, seeking to return the traditional institutions to the status under British colonial rule, under which the traditional institutions became purely an arm of the British administration, loyal to and accountable only to the colonialists, and serving the interests of the foreign powers. There have been court cases instituted against this “restructuring”, with the Kaduna State High Court passing several judgments against the actions of the government, or making orders and issuing injunctions restraining the government from its chosen path of destroying the Traditional Institutions, all of which the administration of Malam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai has ignored and violated.
3. The Draft Bill circulated by the Kaduna State Government requires the Traditional Councils to NOT consult their people in this legal process of making the traditional institutions an appendage of the political class, as it is treated as a “TOP SECRET” document, that will ironically be to “reposition” the traditional institutions to “serve the people better”, but the people will have no say in the matter.
4. In Southern Kaduna the Traditional Institutions take decisions through a consultative process. Where this consultation is restricted or absent there is always crisis between the Rulers and their Subjects. When participation in the affairs of the community is restricted the rulers invariably alienate their people. Governor El-Rufai’s restructuring is designed to cause maximum alienation between the rulers and the people, as will be seen in the analysis of the provisions of the draft Bill.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF LAW MAKING
Laws are made to improve institutions and their functioning. Therefore, certain principles are observed when laws are made, some of which include the following.
1. Laws are made based on deep reflection on the historical experiences of the community. Laws may be the codification of the preferences of the ruling class, but when laws are made to enable the State to centrally control institutions whose modus operandi is consultative, the inherent contradiction built into the excessive State control will alienate the people and drive them at loggerheads with the rulers. Not too long ago the obnoxious decrees passed by military regimes galvanized Nigerians into staunch opposition and resistance to their draconian intentions.
2. Laws of universal application are not made because of the personal interest of the law makers, or in order to because of your group or peculiar interest.
3. Laws of universal application are not made in order to bring down or humiliate some people or groups.
4. Law makers, as the wielders of state power, do not use their position to make laws that are repugnant to natural justice. Such laws and the systems they seek to perpetuate always come to grief, as the apartheid regime in South Africa, and the minority white rulers of Rhodesia found out when they made rules that were later turned against them.
5. Law makers do not set precedence that will bring chaos and instability, forcing back the clock of progress that has to be revisited, reversed by subsequent administrations, and that which will affect intergroup relations. In this instance the transfer of power from the Paramount Rulers to the District Heads, as contained in the current Traditional Institution Bill, contains inherent contradictions that will generate conflicts and cause instability in the communities.
6. Governor El-Rufai’s administration is setting the stage for internecine conflicts that his predecessors did everything to remove; simply because some people may be egging him on to “cow” Southern Kaduna. The Governor has repeatedly sworn on Radio and Television to deal with the Southern Kaduna elite that he has demonized as not wanting peace.
7. The proposed Traditional Institution law has set the stage for the humiliation of ALL the Royal Fathers by making the District Heads not answerable to the Paramount Rulers, but directly answerable to the Local Government Councils and the State Government. While this may be calculated to ensure that Hausa-Fulani District Heads in Southern Kaduna are not answerable to the Southern Kaduna indigenous traditional rulers, it will backfire against ALL the Paramount Rulers in the State without exception, as it will not spare the Graded Chiefs in the emirates. This proposed law will make the paramount chiefs merely ceremonial, with the real power residing with the District Heads who are by this law not traditional rulers but staff of the Local Government Service Board, and hence civil servants bound by Civil Service Rules.
8. One does not make laws in order to trap the office holders, and make them fearful, for the Bill uses language and makes provision for terms of imprisonment, deposition and exile, as if the Traditional Rulers are potential criminals. In declaring the paramount rulers as temporary public servants holding office “for the time being”, the new law, with its provisions for fines, imprisonment, deposition and exile of paramount rulers, will only bring fear and remove whatever dignity or glory the Traditional Institutions still have.
Apart from Traditional Rulers being circumscribed by booby traps in the Bill, the normal traditional process of discipline in the system will be run aground.
RT I: PRELIMINARY
This is the interpretation section of the law.
i. The draft law states that “Chief” or “Emir” “means any person who for the time being is appointed by the Governor …”. The import of this phrasing is to let the traditional rulers know that their appointments are not permanent or for life as has always been the case, but will become temporary public servants. The Bill will make the Traditional Rulers to be appointed and hold office at the pleasure or even whim of the State Governor.
ii. There is no definition of “Traditional Institution” in the law; it is assumed to be synonymous with Emirs, Chiefs and Traditional Councils. This erroneous assumption is based on poor understanding of especially the Traditional Institutions of the Southern Kaduna people, where Clans and Lineages are central to the traditional governance structures and processes; and where the Tribal Councils of Elders are crucial to holding the paramount chiefs and the titled chiefs and other office holders to account and ensuring that there is no abuse of power or abuse of privilege.
iii. “Kingmaker” means “a person appointed by the Chief or Emir subject to approval of the Governor”. By being the person who appoints the emirs and chiefs, and who approves the appointment of Kingmakers, the Governor will directly be appointing the kingmakers. This is one of the most negative changes to be made by the new law. Kingmakers are selected through widely different processes in the various Chiefdoms and Communities, and in all of them the Chief or Emir has no say in the process of the selection. Some Clans, Lineages, Houses or Families, or designated offices within the Community, are the recognized entities from which the Kingmakers are selected. Under the Bill the Chief, Emir and the Governor will appoint the Kingmakers. This is a direct violation of the traditions, customs and traditions of the various communities by the Kaduna State Government. The kingmakers will lose their independence and not be accountable to the people and their communities.
iv. “‘Ruling House’ means a patrilineal dynasty which has emerged through history, culture and custom of the Chiefdom or Emirate”. This definition is erroneous and not according to the history of our people because ruling houses are not dynasties where there is rotation of the Stool or Crown between Clans, Lineages or Families.
v. Therefore, by the provisions of this proposed law, the Governor
a) Will decide who becomes kingmaker and will ensure that certain favoured Houses or Families will perpetuate their children or members of their families as emirs and chiefs ad infinitum.
b) Under this law (Section 9) the Governor has abrogated the existing processes of selecting kingmakers, processes that have hitherto ensured balance, rationality and impartiality, and will now be replaced by the personal wishes of the Governor and his appointees. In ethnic groups or chiefdoms where some Clans produce the kingmakers, while others produce the Kings, under this new law the incumbent Chiefs will appropriate the process, especially as the Government is now describing some Ruling Houses as “dynasties”, something completely unknown and alien to Southern Kaduna. Is the Governor saying that he does not know that where the chieftaincy or kingship rotates between several or even two Ruling Houses, there can be no “dynasty”? Hence there can be no “Fulani dynasty” in Zazzau Emirate; it is even more strange to say that the Kagoro people have a “Kpashang dynasty” where the Chieftaincy rotates between clans; or that Moroa has a “Mallam dynasty”, when Mallam was never the chief of the Asholio nation.
c) It is even most strange to describe the Ruling Houses in Governor El-Rufai’s Kachia Chiefdom as Adara, Hausa, Bajju, Kuturmi, and Jaba, which are ethnic groups in the Adara Chiefdom that Malam El-Rufai abrogated. It should be recalled that Governor Nasir El-Rufai does not want to hear anything about ethnic groups of Southern Kaduna, but overlooks his contradiction when it involves making the Hausa ethnic group a “Ruling House” over the indigenous people of Kachia LGA. Perhaps Governor El-Rufai who says he is Fulani, wants to ensure that the Hausa people in Zaria do not aspire to be Emirs of Zazzau, by making the chieftaincy there a “Fulani dynasty”.
d) Governor El-Rufai wants to divide and conquer the indigenous ethnic groups in Adara Chiefdom possibly in order to prepare the grounds for appointing a Hausa man as the new Kachia chief, then declare it an emirate to exclude all the mostly Christian indigenous ethnic groups and return them to the colonial situation that prevailed before 2001. This is calculated to permanently divide the Adara and render them enemies of each other in order to allow Hausa people to rule over both the Ham and Adara. Having excluded the Hausa from the emirship of Zazzau, Governor El-Rufai would compensate the Hausa ethnic group by appointing them emirs in Southern Kaduna, as the situation was under the British, putting in place another colonial imposition which the Southern Kaduna people had thought they had successfully ended.
PART II: EMIRATE OR TRADITIONAL COUNCIL
1. There is no mention of ethnic nationality or ethnic group in the new Bill. This is not an oversight, as by the provisions of the new law anybody within the territory of a Traditional Council (applicable only in the Southern Kaduna Chiefdoms) can apply and be made the chief by the Governor. Hence, as the new law would, for instance, ensure in Kachia, that the Hausa and the Fulani will then become the “Chief of Kachia” (the title of “Agom Kachia” in the Kaduna State of Nigeria Gazette No. 21, Vol. 52, Kaduna – 16th August, 2018, has been abrogated by the new law) as in colonial times, by merely submitting applications to the Governor through the Commissioner of Local government Affairs, through the Secretary of the Traditional Council, as provided in Section 10 of the new law.
Section 4 (3) (c): The system that exists in Zaria has now been extended to the Chiefdoms, where the Local Government Council Chairmen sit as members of the Traditional Councils, to monitor the affairs of the Councils on behalf of the State Government. LGC Chairs will be able to determine decisions the Traditional Councils take, and will be bound by such decisions. However, there is no provision in the Bill that requires the LGC to fund the implementation of the decisions of the Traditional Councils. The new law does not provide that 8% of the Local Government statutory allocation from the Federation Account will go to the Traditional Councils in Southern Kaduna, as is the current practice by the LGCs covered by Zazzau Emirate.
Section 5: Establishment of Additional Chiefdoms or Emirates
i. By the provision of Section 5 of the Bill, the creation or establishment of Chiefdoms/Emirates will no longer be based on the wishes of the people or the ethnic groups, but solely on the wishes of sitting emirs, chiefs, the House of Assembly and the Governor. The people may no longer request the establishment of Traditional Councils/Chiefdoms. The history of struggles for the reinstatement of the chiefdoms and traditional governance institutions and structures that the British abrogated in Southern Kaduna before 1914 in order to impose Indirect Rule through the emirs, shows that no colonialist or ruler exercising authority over other ethnic groups will willingly allow them to reclaim their previous institutions.
ii. The Kaduna State Government has chosen to ignore the criteria for the creation of chiefdoms and emirates recommended by the Kaduna State Peace and Reconciliation Committee, recommendations that were made after thorough consultations with the communities, experts and the principles set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007).
iii. The skewed distribution of State Constituencies in Kaduna State, and the requirement of ¾ of the House of Assembly to create new chiefdoms will ensure that only the ruling elites, and their understanding of “history of tradition”, will determine the creation of chiefdoms. Sitting chiefs, being members of the State Council of Chiefs (SCC), will not be willing to create additional chiefdoms as they will jealously guard their “territories” even where they are holding down other groups in those territories by force.
iv. Colonialism abrogated most Southern Kaduna traditional institutions, some of which have been reclaimed through hard struggles, and the remainder may never be reclaimed based on the Bill, as the criteria are as difficult as those for the creation of new states in the Nigerian constitution.
v. Not all traditional institutions are Emirates and Chiefdoms or Traditional Councils. This proposed law excludes Councils of Elders of the various communities, which are recognized as Traditional Institutions.
vi. While deliberately balkanizing the Adara Chiefdom into Kufana and Kachia, Governor El-Rufai’s administration also dismembered the Jaba Chiefdom, but has not created two chiefdoms out of Jaba, in order to place both Adara and Ham under the Hausa in Kachia. It is also to cover for the Hausa imported into Southern Kaduna by the British between 1904 and 1914, by making the Hausa who were brought from Zaria to Kachia for the first time by the British after the colonial conquering army set up the Military Cantonment in Kachia in 1904 as the perpetual rulers over the indigenous people.
vii. Having already stated in the law that any applicant can be made chief by the Governor even when he is not included in the five recommended to the Commissioner of Local Government by the kingmakers, as long as the Governor wants him to be the chief, El-Rufai would make sure that his chosen Hausa man will apply for the chieftaincy of Kachia, and then the Governor will appoint him, as he did in the recent case of the Emir of Zazzau, whether the Kingmakers recommend him or not.
viii. Meanwhile, the Bajju, Kuturmi, Ham and Adara elites with ambition to become “Agom Kachia” will mobilize their ethnic groups against the Adara and Jaba on the grounds that they already have chiefs in Kufana and Kwoi, when the Governor ab initio has no intention of making any of them chief of his beloved Kachia chiefdom or emirate-in-waiting. The deviousness of this strategy of intrigues and scheming in favour of the Hausa and Fulani ethnic groups apparently has no moral or legal boundaries.
ix. If Governor Nasir El-Rufai had no ill intentions and motives in Kachia, why did he not actualize the Kuturmi Chiefdom pronounced by former Governor Ahmed Makarfi in 2006, just as he (Ahmed Makarfi) pronounced the Dnata Chiefdom out of Jere, without actualizing it, also in 2006? Why has Governor El-Rufai refused to create the chiefdoms recommended by the Kaduna State Peace and Reconciliation Committee, based on the criteria set out in that report, but instead has embarked on a negative course of dismembering existing chiefdoms and down grading the Southern Kaduna traditional institutions?
x. The independence of the votes of 2/3 of the Council of Chiefs is affected by the constitution of the Council of Chiefs. If members of the Council of Chiefs are appointed by the Governor as is the case, then what it means is that the 3/4 of the House of Assembly and 2/3 of the Council of Chiefs are automatically “yes men and women of the government.” See Section 5, where Governor would appoint the Chiefs without going through the legislative process. The person who appoints the chiefs will determine what they do, including appointing the Kingmakers.
xi. The establishment of additional chiefdoms should be in accordance with the recommendation of the Kaduna State Peace and reconciliation Committee, which is anchored on the rights of ethnic nationalities to self determination.
xii. Chiefdoms/Emirates should not be created by Executive Fiat but by the Act of the State House of Assembly after the people in the Emirates/Chiefdoms are fully engaged in the process.
xiii. We find it objectionable that this exercise of passing a new law on traditional institutions is being carried out as “Top Secret” by the Executive and under cover of secrecy by the Kaduna State House of Assembly.
Section 6: Names of Chiefdoms/Emirates
i. By the provision of Section 6 of the Bill, Chiefdoms and Emirates will be named after “ancestral towns, landmarks, or the dominant physical features” and not the name of ethnic nationalities as the practice is in all Middle Belt and Central Nigerian communities, to which the people of Southern Kaduna culturally and linguistically belong. Through numerous memoranda and communications, most Traditional Councils in Southern Kaduna and the Community Development Associations firmly informed the Governor of Kaduna State, and wrote protest letters to Governor El-Rufai, rejecting his unilateral changes of the names of their chiefdoms and the titles of their traditional institutions. Malam Nasir El-Rufai ignored all the appeals, petitions and protests, and instead, deliberately and knowingly using his position as Governor has set out to destroy the traditional heritage of the people of Southern Kaduna.
ii. This provision of the Bill amounts to making a law to abrogate ethnic groups and their traditional institutions in Kaduna State. Indeed, no ethnic nationality or group is recognized in the Bill, in violation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
iii. By the provision of this section, anybody within that territory can be appointed a territorial chief by the Governor. Hence, by naming the Atyap Chiefdom as “Zangon Kataf Chiefdom”, the Hausa and Fulani of Zangon Kataf town, which by Governor El-Rufai’s definition is an “ancestral town”, can then become chiefs of the newly named Zangon Kataf Chiefdom, just as in colonial times.
iv. Names of the Emirates or Chiefdom should be what the people deem them to be. The Law of Self Determination allows EVEN previously conquered territories to seek new identities that affirm their liberation. The Autochthonous Communities of Southern Kaduna stand by their earlier position that the names of the Chiefdoms as at 2015 should retained and not be tampered with by the Kaduna State government.
Functions of the Emirate or Traditional Council
i. By the provision of Section 7, Subsections (1) to (13) of the Bill, the Emirate and Traditional Councils will no longer be “traditional institutions”; they will become an arm of the State Civil Service, but without exercising executive functions in their territories.
ii. The functions of the Traditional Councils raise the question of Separation of Powers. If the job of the Traditional Council is to advise the Local Government Council and formulate general proposals, then the Local Government and not the State Government should be the Appointing Authority of Traditional Councils.
iii. Under this law Traditional Councils will now only give advice to the State and Local Governments, and will function under the direct control of the Local Government Chairmen, who will also be members of the Traditional Councils. How can Traditional Councils report to the LG Chairmen, and yet the LG Chairs will sit on TCs chaired by their subordinates?
iv. Apart from the statement at Section 7 (11) that Traditional Councils will be “Custodians of customary laws and practice and advise on all matters governed by customary laws including land tenure under customary law”, the real functions of traditional institutions as custodians of the traditions, cultures and customs of the ethnic nationalities are excluded from the functions of the traditional institutions. Government now co-opts traditional institutions to enforce “customary laws” which will be enacted by the government, and not evolved from the traditions and cultural practices of the people.
v. Section 7 Subsection (12) is mere window dressing as will be seen while discussing the appointments of District Heads, as another Section gives power to the “Governor to appoint and discipline District Heads”, thereby taking away that function from the paramount rulers. Traditional Rulers and Councils will lose the power to discipline District Heads, and this will create conditions for insubordination and sabotage by District Heads taking instructions from the Local and State governments.
vi. From information available the present administration of Kaduna State is already exercising powers to appoint District Heads without reference to the Traditional Councils, as has happened in Ikulu Chiefdom, and is happening in Atyap Chiefdom where the Traditional Council is apparently not involved in the selection of the successor to the late District Head of Gidan Zaki, who was gruesomely murdered in November 2020.
PART III: GRADING OF OFFICE OF EMIR OR CHIEF
i. Section 8 (1): The wording of this section is clear; the grading of emirs and chiefs is the absolute prerogative of the Governor, in spite of so called criteria for grading that are listed under Section 8 (3) of the Bill.
ii. By executive fiat, the grading of Chiefs that has taken over 100 years to evolve has been abrogated by Governor El-Rufai’s administration in Section 8 (2) and replaced with arbitrary grading in order to downgrade the Southern Kaduna Chiefs.
iii. The new grading has nothing to do with “scientific” or “rational” criteria, they are calculated to humiliate the affected chiefs who are all from Southern Kaduna, and to continue subjugating their peoples. This has nothing to do with restoring a so-called “lost glory” of traditional institutions, but will rather devalue, humiliate and destroy them.
iv. The new grading is a carry forward and reinforcement of historical injustices created, enforced and perpetrated by the British colonialists between 1904 and 1960, and continued by the subsequent governments of North Central and Kaduna States, until broken by the administration of Col. Lawal Jafaru Isa in 1995, and subsequently Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi in 2001 and subsequently by other democratic governors before 2017.
v. The creation of additional chiefdoms was for the purpose of promoting peace and harmony, mutual respect and understanding, but by this retrogressive “restructuring” the Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai administration has ignored the rational recommendations for creation of chiefdoms contained in the report of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee.
vi. According to the Bill at Section 8 (3) (I) (II) (III), grading of chiefs and emirs will be based on Historical Antecedents, Population and Landmass. It will also depend on “contribution to internally generated revenue” of the defined territory of the traditional rulers. The question is: who adopted these so-called “scientific criteria”? Who did the Governor discuss them with before they were put in the Bill? Governor El-Rufai cannot claim that he consulted the Traditional Rulers, because he has as usual, taken a decision and issued a circular to the thoroughly intimidated rulers to make comments only, and wrote “Top Secret” on the circular, so that the Traditional Rulers would NOT refer the matter to their communities for their collective inputs. What the Governor has decided to do is contained in his draft law.
vii. For “historical antecedents”, in Section 8 (3) I, the Governor took an arbitrary year of 1914, as if the kingdoms, chiefdoms, and political communities of Kaduna State began with colonial rule and amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria in 1914, which is obviously not true.
viii. Referring to the same British colonial antecedents, the very same colonialists distorted our history and made false claims, which they later said were not true, but failed to reverse the injustices they had imposed on the Southern Kaduna people groups. When Governor Donald Cameron attempted to reverse them by appointing an indigenous Chawai man from Zambina as the District Head of Chawai in 1934 in an experiment to see whether the “Pagans” could rule themselves, the resounding success of Res Tsam Kassa so alarmed the Zaria emirate rulers and the colonial government in Kaduna that Res Tsam Kassa was removed, and Chawai District was dissolved and merged with Zangon Kataf District in the same 1934. Thereafter, all efforts to have even indigenous district heads in Southern Kaduna were resisted until the Atyap, Bajju, Tsam, Ikulu and Anghan revolted in 1968.
ix. Even when between 1908 and 1914 the peoples of present Jema’a and Sanga LGAs waged war against the British for placing them under the rule of the Fulani of Jama’an Danroro near Gidan Waya, and it took the combined actions of the West African Frontier Force and the colonial Police Force to fight and subdue the peoples, the British, even after querying their officers for allowing the emir of Jama’an Danroro to go on tour over territories he never controlled before, still imposed Jama’a Danroro on the people of Southern Kaduna. The exception came after the war of 1913 in Kagoro, when the British tried to impose Jama’a Danroro on the Kagoro, Moroa and Jaba people on the same false claims of previous conquest, which led to a two week war that cost the British several casualties, and they had to shell several Kagoro villages with their maxim guns, following which Kagoro, Moroa and Jaba became Independent Districts in 1913.
x. These are the “historical antecedents” that Governor El-Rufai uses as the basis of his grading of the chiefs and emirs in 2021. Using such “historical antecedents” of convoluted pseudo histories, the Kaduna State Governor has downgraded most of the First Class Chiefdom in Southern Kaduna to Second Class, and the Second Class Chiefdoms to Third Class, while upgrading former zangos to Second Class emirates because the occupants of their chieftaincy stools are Hausa-Fulani.
xi. The purveying of false history is shown glaringly in the Bill’s categorization of some chiefdoms as “Vassals States of Emirates and Chiefdoms in existence before 1960”. Which were these vassal states? This allusion that under British rule there were “vassal states” is a gross distortion of history, as British conquest ended all vassal states in Nigeria. Hausa settlements of Kauru, Kajuru which were considered vassal states of Zazzau became districts and Jema’a Danroro became an emirate in 1904, and ceased to be vassals. The Southern Kaduna people were never conquered by either Zazzau or Jema’a, contrary to the claims contained in the Provincial Gazetteers and Professor M. G. Smith’s book Government in Zazzau.
xii. The Southern Kaduna people were conquered by the British between 1904 and 1914 in the south; and this conquest was never concluded in the Kurama and Lere Hills until 1918, and the colonial records are there to attest to these facts. In fact, colonial Zaria Emirate succeeded in controlling the entire region only in 1936 after the Gure Chief was deposed by the British on the insistence of the District Head of Lere, after which the Gure chieftaincy was banned and reduced to the status of a village head. Vassalage cannot be used as the basis for grading our chiefs in 2021 after it was ended by the British even for the Hausa settlements in Southern Kaduna in 1904. These “historical antecedents” serve no other purpose than to reverse the clock of history and return the Southern Kaduna people to the situation under British colonial rule, and the forceful subordination of the hitherto independent and sovereign ethnic groups to emirate rule, preceded by removal and abrogation of the governance structure of the ethnic nationalities.
xiii. It should be noted that when Governor El-Rufai’s other criteria of population and land size are applied only Zazzau Emirate will qualify as First Class. No Local Government Area has a population of one million people, and certainly no chiefdom or emirate has a population of over two hundred thousand people, except possibly the Adara Chiefdom which Malam Nasir El-Rufai abrogated and divided into three chiefdoms (for Kajuru is an integral part of Adrara land, formerly being an offshoot of the Ajure Clan of the Adara ethnic nationality).
xiv. Traditional Institutions do not collect revenue in Kaduna State. Since 1979, when Governor Balarabe Musa’s administration abrogated haraji and jangali taxes, traditional institutions have not collected revenue; that function has indeed been transferred to the Local Governments since the 1976 reforms. Therefore, revenue collection cannot be used for the purpose of grading chiefs. From the provision of Section 8 (1) of the Bill (“contribution to internally generated revenues”), it appears there is intention by the El-Rufai administration to re-introduce the haraji and jangali taxes on the poor farmers and pastoralists. Our advice to the Government is that the abolishment of these taxes should not be reversed.
xv. It is noted that the criteria for grading chiefdoms in the proposed Bill are the same criteria used for the creation and review of electoral constituencies, as contained in the Nigerian Constitution. Emirates and Chiefdoms are not political constituencies or electoral units, and such criteria cannot be applied to them. This is a clear intent to politicize the establishment, grading and operations of Chiefdoms and Emirates, and will have dire negative consequences.
xvi. It is ironic that in Section 9 Subsections (3), (4) and (5) and Section 10 of the Bill the government removed the grading and scoring of applicants for the position of Chief, but now proposes to have scoring and ranking for the purpose of grading chiefdoms and emirates. Previously the grading of Chiefs in the past was done taking into consideration several factors of actual historical significance, and the principle of territoriality as recognized by the United Nations has never been based on population size and land mass, otherwise many countries will not sit on the General Assembly.
xvii. Since the El-Rufai administration has decided to politicise the grading of Chiefdoms and Emirates, and thus dragging the traditional institutions into unnecessary controversy and acrimony, we recommend, in accordance with the United Nations principles, that the grading of traditional institutions should instead be abrogated and all emirs and chiefs be equal on the principle of equality of nations established by the UN. The Chairman of the State Council of Chiefs (SCC) would become primus inter pares with other members of the SCC, and as recommended by the Kachia session of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee, be ROTATED between the Chiefs and Emirs in the State.
Appointment of Kingmakers
i. Section 9 (1) of the Bill states that “The Emirate or Traditional Council shall recommend to the Governor suitable persons for appointment as Kingmakers”. TO THE BEST OF OUR KNOWLEDGE, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT ANY GOVERNMENT IN NIGERIA GIVES ITSELF POWER TO APPOINT KINGMAKERS. This very singular act by the administration of Governor Nasir El-Rufai takes away the power of the people to elect kingmakers for the purpose of selecting their traditional rulers in accordance with their customs and traditions.
a) By the Governor taking over and controlling the process of appointment of Kingmakers, the age old community process is abrogated by executive fiat, not only making the entire process undemocratic and non-consultative, but also politicking and making the process partisan.
b) By the Governor appointing the Kingmakers, the El-Rufai administration has subjugated the hitherto independent Kingmakers to government, and removes them from the traditional institutions and structures of governance.
ii. Historically and in current practice in some communities kingmakers sit on the Tribal Council of Elders, but NEVER on the Chief’s Council (now Traditional Cpouncil). In most communities in Southern Kaduna the Council of Elders and Notables had powers to regulate behaviours of Chiefs and their Councils, and could veto decisions of the Chiefs and or Council where they considered that such decisions were not in the interest of the nation. The Kingmakers were accountable to the Council of Elders and Notables, and not to the chiefs. The Council of Elders approved the choice of the Kingmakers and appointed the paramount ruler. The Chief’s Council had no say in the appointment of the paramount ruler, contrary to the provision of Section 10 of the Bill.
iii. The provision of Section 9 (5) (d) and (e) making the kingmakers members of the Emirate or Traditional Councils, and subordinates of the chiefs and emirs, completely robs the Kingmakers of their independence. Indeed, by appointing the Kingmakers the Governor will determine who will become the next emir or chief. Hence, the provision that kingmakers cannot come from the ruling houses is superfluous. It is also FACTUAL that some of the titleholders listed in the Third Schedule of the Bill, who are KNOWN MEMBERS OF EXISTING RULING HOUSES, are the Kingmakers already. This is contrary to the provision of Section 9 (3) of the Bill.
iv. Section 9 makes the appointment of kingmakers to become like any political appointment in the State, and goes further to centralise it around the governor, thus making them integral parts of the governmental structure or public service, and thereby cease to be traditional institutions.
v. The obvious purpose of expanding the membership of the Kingmakers (in the Third Schedule), starting with Zazzau Emirate, is to nullify the existing traditions, cultural practices and norms of selecting kingmakers established in the emirate since Fulani rule began in Zaria in the 19th Century.
vi. The only logical way out of this personalization of the law is to completely hand over the processes for appointment of Paramount Rulers and District Heads to the traditional governance structures of the people. The practice of submitting three names to the Governor has been expunged from the Bill and the Kingmakers will only submit a report containing evaluation of all applicants, from which the Governor will the person he wants. Apparently Governor El-Rufai has used what transpired in the recent appointment of the Emir of Zazzau whereby he nullified the decision of the Zazzau Kingmakers and imposed his own choice as Emir. In this instance, even the first three were not found “suitable”, and another was selected by the Governor. This is one case in which the State political executive decided to trample upon the traditions and cultural practices of the people
vii. To return to the true historical Traditions, Customs and Cultural Practices of the People, the Government of Kaduna State should in the case of Southern Kaduna people, receive only One nominee from the Tribal Council of Elders and Notables, which the government will be obliged to recognize.
viii. Government should not interfere with the process of appointment of Kingmakers, as the process is purely determined by the culture, traditions and customary laws and practices of the people.
APPOINTMENT AND DEPOSITION OF EMIR OR CHIEF
i. Section 10 (1) states that “the Governor may appoint…ANY PERSON screened and evaluated by the Kingmakers.”
ii. Section 10 (2) and (3) makes the appointment of the Traditional Rulers just like any political appointment in the State. According to Section 10 of the Bill, those desiring to be Emir or Chief will apply just like any job seekers, after the Commissioner of Chieftaincy Affairs has advertised for the post in the State Gazette. Government will now control what the kingmakers can and cannot do.
iii. Section 10 (3) states that “The Commissioner [of Local Government Affairs] shall in respect of each vacancy in a Chiefdom or emirate, issue qualification criteria, evaluation guidelines and scoring templates to the Kingmakers and published as an Order I the Gazette”. This means that all existing rules and regulations guiding the selection of emirs and chiefs are hereby abrogated, to be replaced by guidelines issued by the State Government whenever there is a vacancy in the Stool of any Emirate or Chiefdom. Such guidelines, as was demonstrated by the recent Zazzau Emirate “process” will be what will suit the Governor, and not the time-honoured traditions and cultural practices of the people.
iv. Section 10 (4) of the Bill stipulates that Staff of the Ministry of Local Government and the Local Government Council shall be participate in the screening and evaluation of candidates applying to be emir or chief, to ensure that the guidelines the government issues are complied with. Hence, the government will now dictate the process of screening, evaluation and interviewing of candidates and only those approved by government will become chief, not who the people want. This is not just a gross interference with the process of appointing traditional rulers; the Kaduna State Government has simply taken over the process.
v. To show how determined the El-Rufai government is to completely take over the appointment of chiefs and emirs, Section 10 (3) makes no provision for ranking the candidates during the screening, evaluation and interviews. The Secretary of the Traditional Council, now to be a Civil Servant posted by the Local Government Service Commission, WILL FORWARD ALL CANDIDATES to the Commissioner of Local Government.
vi. To make absolutely sure that the Governor’s choice becomes Emir or Chief, no matter how unpopular the person is, Section 10 (5) requires the Secretary of the Traditional Council to forward “a comprehensive profile of all the applicants” to the Governor.
vii. The Kingmakers’ screening report is just a report (to give the semblance of following some due process) they submit to the Commissioner of Local Government, who, after subjecting the recommended applicants to “screening and security clearance”; the “Commissioner [of Local Government] “shall forward his recommendations for appointment of any of the qualified applicants to the Governor for consideration and approval”.
viii. In fact, the Bill provides (Section 10 (9) that the Commissioner may declare that there is no “suitable candidate”, enabling the Governor to “declare the succession process aborted and appoint a Regent”. What criteria the Commissioner will use to arrive at the Regency are not stated.
ix. THE SOUTHERN KADUNA AUTOCHTHONES COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATIONS AND THE ENTIRE COMMUNITIES HOLD VERY STRONGLY THAT EVERY CHIEF/EMIR SHOULD BE APPOINTED ACCORDING TO THE TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS AND CULTURE OF THE PEOPLE, AND NOT BY IMPOSITION BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DAY, FOR THE GOVERNMENT’S IMPOSITION IS POLITICAL AND HENCE REPUGNANT TO NATURAL JUSTICE, EQUITY AND GOOD CONSCIENCE.
i. Southern Kaduna people groups never had “Ruling Houses” until Governor Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi introduced them and the Southern Kaduna elites, desirous of copying Hausa institutions and cultural practices, uncritically submitted “names” of ruling houses that generated conflicts and controversies that the government is now embedding in the Bill. Ruling houses are Hausa and Fulani traditions which are being imposed on all peoples and chiefdoms.
ii. In Southern Kaduna Traditions and Culture there are only designated Clans and Lineages between which the chieftainships rotate, following very well defined criteria and procedures. All candidates would come from one clan when the succession rotates to the Clan. Under the Rotation, the selection from any one Clan is also by merit. The arbitrariness of the Kaduna State Government proposal is driven home by the deliberate omission to define “Tradition”, “Culture” and “Custom” in the Bill. The Hausa-Fulani concept of “Ruling Houses” must not be imposed on the people and communities of Southern Kaduna.
Deposition of Chiefs
i. Section 11 (1) (2) (3) of the Bill is concerned with the Governor’s power to depose and banish emirs and chiefs from their territories. While the Governor would depose a Traditional Ruler based on recommendation by the Commissioner of Local Government Affairs “in the public interest, order or good governance”, these weighty criteria (public interest, order and good governance) are not defined in the law as far as traditional institutions are concerned.
ii. In the Bill the power of the Government (“Ministry”) takes precedence over the wishes of the people, as far as the tenure of chiefs is concerned. The tenure of any Traditional Ruler will henceforth be based on the political convenience of the Governor, who “may” simply depose a chief as he pleases. This has been demonstrated amply in the recent case of the former Emir of Kano, and the summary arrest, imprisonment without trial and suspension of the late Bugwam Kurmi, Dr. Ishaku Damina, of blessed memory.
iii. Section 11 (2) and (3) on the power of the Governor to exile a deposed Emir or Chief is contrary to the Nigerian Constitution, as determined by the Federal High Court in the case of the deposed Emir of Kano, HRH Muhammadu Sanusi II, who successfully challenged his exile in the courts.
The Southern Kaduna Autochthones Community Development Associations hold very strongly that The process of deposition should be the same process as the appointment of the Chiefs/Emir. Banning the Emir or restricting the Movement of the deposed Chief/Emir contravenes the fundamental human right of the Chief/Emir.
Oath of Office
i. Section 12 of the Bill is concerned with the Oath of Office and Certification of Chiefs. The text of the Oath of Office to be sworn to by the Traditional Rulers, in letter and spirit, means that Chiefs are just like any other public officer in the State under the authority of the Governor. They are no longer revered Royal Fathers of their ethnic nationalities. They are there to “serve the Government of Kaduna State”.
ii. The Oath does not mention the Chief’s loyalty and service to his ethnic nationality, and is not concerned with the custodianship of the traditions, customs and culture of the people of the territory.
Certification of Chiefs
i. Section 12 (3) of the Bill states that “The Secretary to the Council of Chiefs may by a certificate under his hand state that a particular person is or was an Emir or Chief of a specified grade at a specified time or during a specified period in the State”. The Certificate to be issued to an Emir or Chief now takes precedence over his letter of appointment. Without the certificate to be issued by the Secretary of the Council of Chiefs, who happens to be the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government Affairs, an appointment letter does not make one a chief or emir. What happens when the certificate is withheld on the orders of the Governor? Must the existence of the traditional institutions of any ethnic nationality depend on the will of the Governor or on existing law?
ii. The issuance of this certificate makes the Governor the appointing authority of all members of the State Council of Chiefs, as no Emir or Chief can sit of the Council of Chiefs without that certificate.
Emirate and Traditional Councils
i. While in the Third Schedule of the Bill traditional titles are listed for every Emirate and Traditional Council, issues of traditional titles and their functions are not provided for in the principal law.
ii. By the provisions of Section 13 of the Bill, Emirate and Traditional Councils will have no say in the appointment of Traditional Council Secretaries. The Secretaries will be appointed and posted from anywhere (in the State or outside it) by the Local Government Service Board, and shall be Staff of the LGSB.
iii. As the Traditional Councils have lost power to appoint their Secretaries, the loyalty and discipline of Council Secretaries is no longer under the Emir, Chief or Traditional Council. Council Secretaries can be civil servants posted to the Chiefdom from any part of the State.
iv. The Traditional Councils will become just departments or sections under the Local Government Service Board.
v. Government should not interfere with the appointment of Council Secretary who is appointed by His Royal Highness based on the traditional norms, culture and other considerations of his people.
PART IV: STATE COUNCIL OF CHIEFS
i. Southern Kaduna Autochthones REPEAT our stand that the Chairmanship of the State Council of Chiefs (SCC) should be rotational between the chiefs and emirs, in the Senatorial Districts.
ii. Section 14 (2) (c) make a distinction between three Muslim and two Christian personages in the State Council of Chiefs.
iii. What are the experts in Islamic Law and Christian matters doing in the SCC? Is the SCC to administer Islamic Law and “Christian Matters”? What are “Christian matters”?
iv. Sections 15 and 16 also deal with the membership and functions of the State Council of Chiefs.
v. The issue of appointing Christian or Islamic clerics on the State Council of Chiefs should be discarded, as it is not a religious body.
Section 16: States: “Subject to the provisions of the Constitution”. Are Traditional Councils mentioned or provided for in the Nigerian constitution?
Functions of the State Council of Chiefs (SCC)
By the provisions of Sections 16 and 17 of the Bill:
i. The SCC will have strictly advisory and not statutory functions.
ii. The Governor will decide and direct the conduct of what the SCC does.
iii. Since a Director of the Ministry of Local Government Affairs will be the Secretary of the SCC, the SCC will become an arm of the Ministry.
iv. The Director of the Ministry of Local Government Affairs will prepare the agenda for meetings of the SCC, and convey decisions of the SCC to members or any other organizations.
v. The SCC will thus discuss matters or act on matters referred to it by the Governor, through the Permanent Secretary and Director of the Ministry of Local Government Affairs as Secretary of the SCC.
vi. Staff of the SCC will be assigned to it by the Commissioner of the Ministry of Local Government Affairs, and will be staff of the Ministry and not of the SCC.
vii. The Secretariat of the Council of Chiefs will just be an arm of the Ministry of Local Government Affairs.
Section 18: There will no longer be a Deputy Chairman of the SCC even by convention, to ensure that the Chief of Kagoro does not preside over the SCC in the absence of the Emir of Zazzau. This provision is to ensure that no Southern Kaduna Chief can preside over the SCC in the absence of the Emir of Zazzau.
Operations of the State Council of Chiefs
By the provisions of Section 19 of the Bill:
i. The SCC will operate in exactly the same way as the State House of Assembly, without having legislative functions. The consensus principle, which ensures harmony between the Chiefs, is removed and replaced by voting.
ii. There is no provision for Chiefdom Administration, while the law makes provisions for District Administration.
PART V: TRADITIONAL DISTRICTS ADMINISTRATION
i. There is no provision for Chiefdom Administration in this law, except the section dealing with Traditional Councils, which essentially strips the paramount rulers of their functions.
ii. Ruling Clans or Houses will not be recognized at the Sub-Chiefdom Units under the new law. All existing systems where there are Ruling Houses for some Districts and Villages are abolished by Section 22 (1) (a) of the Bill. This is significant because there are ethnic groups with their traditional institutions that are found in single Districts and even single Village Areas, as in Kauru, Lere, Zangon Kataf, Sanga and Kaura LGAs. This law is denying several ethnic groups the right to choose their traditional rulers according to their traditions and customs.
iii. The procedure for appointing District Heads are the same as for the Paramount Rulers, with the same conditions built in (Section 22 (1) (d)(e) and (f) to enable the Governor to reject any recommendation by the Traditional Councils or Chiefs. The Governor may set aside the 3 names from the Emir or Chief and decide as he pleases (Section 22 (1) (f).
iv. Section 22 (1) (c) of the Bill makes no provision for ranking of applicants, which could promote frantic lobbying and intrigues, and make considerations of qualities of applicants and their popularity irrelevant to the process of appointment of District Heads.
v. All applicants for the position of District Head, even where paramount rulers make recommendations, will frantically lobby and the person appointed District Head knows he holds the position as a favour from the Governor, not on merit. Section 22 (1) (f) means that the Governor would decide who becomes District Head irrespective of who the people want.
vi. There is no provision for the Chief to revisit the process where the recommendations are found unacceptable to the Governor. The Governor decides irrespective of what the people want.
vii. The process of the appointment of District Heads will jettison the traditional governance structures and the traditions and customs of the people, thereby making District Heads political appointees of the Governor, or civil service appointments.
viii. Where the people (NOT Commissioner) are not satisfied with the selection process of District Heads which should be under the exclusive purview of the Traditional Councils, they should have recourse of appeal to the Governor, and not under the current practice controlled entirely by the Kaduna State Government which excludes the people from the selection process.
Functions of District Heads.
i. Section 23 deals with the function of promoting Cultural, Religious and Ethnic Harmony, previously exercised by Emirs and Graded Chiefs have been transferred to District Heads. The function of protecting cultural monuments, sites and forests is also excluded from the functions of the Graded Chiefs.
ii. There is no provision for District Councils and Village Councils in the Bill. The District and Village Heads will most likely operate as sole administrators in their respective jurisdictions.
iii. Graded Chiefs will become merely ceremonial as decisions of Traditional Councils will not be binding on District Heads. This is significant as the function of discipline of lower chiefs has been vested in the Governor under this proposed law.
iv. The list of “Other functions” of District Heads makes them by far more powerful than the Paramount Chiefs.
v. While the functions of paramount rulers are advisory, district heads will exercise executive functions as lower strata of the Local Government Service.
Information available indicates that District Heads are now being invited to meetings to Kaduna and the paramount Rulers are not formally informed; this means that District heads are not obligated to report such activities to the paramount rulers.
Section 24: Appointment of Village Heads:
i. Apart from the process of appointment, the new law is silent on who the Village Heads will report to; reporting lines of authority are not defined, disciplinary procedures are also not defined.
ii. The Local Government Chairman should have nothing to do with the appointments of Village Heads.
PART VI: FINANCIAL PROVISIONS.
i. Section 26 (1) does not specify whether the provision refers to Traditional or District Councils. Since District Councils are mentioned in the law, it means that the Traditional Councils will now generate revenue from which their expenditures will be funded.
ii. Does Section 26 (2) (a) (b) (c) mean that all Traditional Councils will be provided for in the State Budget?
PART VII: GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
i. Section 32: These provisions of the law are traps set for the Emirs and Chiefs in order to facilitate their removal from office. The provisions of Sections 32, 33, 34, 35and 36 assume that the Chiefs are potential offenders. These provisions of the law will supplant the Penal Code of Kaduna State.
ii. ANY LAW REGARDING OFFENCES SHOULD BE UNDER THE PENAL CODE OF THE STATE OR OF THE REGION AND NOT UNDER THE LAWS OF THE TRADITIONAL INSTITUTION.
iii. Section 32: What type of information will be considered “false information”? How will the veracity of such information be established?
iv. Section 34 does not define “wrongful abandonment” for which the Emirs and Chiefs would be punished.
v. Section 35 means that Emirs and Chiefs will be responsible for the actions of their subordinates (District and Village Heads).
vi. Section 36: What does this provision mean? It means that Government will issue regulations, gazettes and guidelines which are not stated in the law, but which will “make the law effective”. This enables the Governor to issue gazettes according to his convenience, as well as issue gazettes without amending the law; or issue gazettes to change the law without going through the legislative process, as the Kaduna State Government has been doing since 2017.
vii. Section 36 effectively ousts the jurisdiction of the law courts. The Commissioner of Local Government Affairs should not have the powers of “giving effect to the provision of the law”, only a court of competent jurisdiction should have that power.
viii. Section 37: Existing Laws and Legal Notices should not be repealed. They are by far more progressive and more relevant than the provisions in the Bill. Existing laws should only be amended upon deliberation by the Kaduna State House of Assembly, after the Emirate and Traditional Councils, and all stakeholder communities have deliberated upon them before being passed to law.
FIRST SCHEDULE: LIST OF EMIRS AND CHIEFS IN KADUNA STATE
First Class Emirs and Chiefs:
· Under the new law First Class Emirs and Chiefs will be Six (6) in Number; three Emirs (Zazzau, Birnin Gwari and Jema’a and three Chiefs (Kagoro, Moroa and Jaba).
· Several First Class Chiefs have been downgraded, including the Agwatyap, Agwam Bajju, Kpop Gwong and Sa Gbagyi, while the Agom Adara institution has been abrogated.
Second Class Chiefs and Emirs
i. There are thirteen (13) Second Class Chiefs and Emirs in this category, including the above downgraded chiefs. Included in the Second Class Chiefs are emirs whose territories are single towns or villages located in the territories of ethnic groups whose chiefdoms have been downgraded to Third Class.
ii. The Titles of the Southern Kaduna Chiefs have been arbitrarily changed to accord with Hausa-Fulani traditions, culture and customary practices. For instance, “Agwam Zangon Kataf” arbitrarily replaces “Agwam Atak’Nje”, which Malam El-Rufai had earlier imposed on the Atyap Chiefdom to replace Agwatyap, the title of the Atyap paramount ruler, who has been downgraded to Second Class, along with Bajju, Gwong Chiefdoms..
iii. The change from Agwatyap to “Agwam Zangon Kataf” is to prepare the way for the Hausa of Zangon Kataf to become Chiefs over the Atyap, or to create an emirate out of the Chiefdom on the grounds that the settlement is an “ancestral town” that was a colonial district headquarters. This has happened in Adara Chiefdom, where the Governor in 2018 changed the title of the Chief to Agom Kachia, then to Chief of Kachia. This process of name changing is to achieve the agenda of returning these Chiefdoms to the control of Hausa and Fulani rulers
iv. All the Hausa-Fulani enclave settlements in Southern Kaduna, made up of single villages or towns (Lere, Kauru, Kajuru, Kagarko, and Saminka, all made chiefdoms in 2001), have been upgraded to Second Class Emirates, in order to empower the few Hausa Fulani living in Southern Kaduna.
Third Class Chiefdoms
There are to be 16 Third Class Chiefdoms. The two parts into which the Adara Chiefdom had been dismembered are today Third Class in order to ensure that no Adara Chief would be of the same rank as the new Second Class Emir of Kajuru, which is just one village.
i. Chief of Lere now made a Second Class Emir with a small territory
ii. Chief of Saminaka becomes Second Class Emir of Saminaka
iii. Agom Adara abolished and Adara Chiefdom abrogated and split into two chiefdoms and downgraded to Third Class as Kachia and Kajuru Chiefdoms.
iv. Chief of Kajuru becomes Second Class Emir of Kajuru with a very small territory
v. Sa Gbagyi changed to Esu Chikun and downgraded from First Class to Second Class
vi. Uchu Ninzon is renamed Uchu Fadan Ninzo as a Second Class chief
vii. Pukgom Kumana becomes a Third Class chief with his large territory and 16 ethnic groups
viii. Kurama Chiefdom to Kudaru Chiefdom and the Bugwam Kudaru is a Third Class chiefdom. The Hausa-Fulani chiefs in Lere LGA become Second Class while the indigenous chiefs are Third Class, including Piriga Chiefdom.
ix. Agom Kufana - new chiefdom created out of Adara Chiefdom, formerly merged by Malam El-Rufai to Kajuru emirate in 2018, now excise