Category Archives: culture

Inside Zango-Kataf chiefdom, 24 years after killings in natives’ battle with Hausa-Fulani settlers


 Inside Zango-Kataf chiefdom, 24 years after killings in natives’ battle with Hausa-Fulani settlers

 News By: Okogba    Sunday, November 27, 2016


*New monarch: I am ascending throne at a time of many challenges

By Luka Binniyat

For the second time in seven months, Zangon Kataf, the headquarters of the Atyap people, in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area, LGA, of Kaduna State, was besieged by a crowd of natives and visitors.

But, unlike in May, when thousands gathered in a solemn ceremony for the burial of theformer traditional ruler of Atyap land, Agwatyap II, Dr. Harison Bungwon, last week’s crowd gathered amidst fanfare, songs, laugher and dance.

The occasion was to mark the installation ceremony and presentation of staff of office to the new Agwatyap –Mr. Dominic Gambo Yahaya.

At the massive palace of the Agwatyap, traditional dancers, flutters, trumpeters, drummers, praise singers, masquerades, among others, tried to outdo one another to the admiration ofthe audience.

The Atyap people, who, despite their small population, have managed to produce high profile Nigerians in virtually every areas of human endeavours.

Atayp chiefdom is in southern part of Kaduna State, in the wide open GuineaSavannah of lush meadows, parklands and forests where its perennial streams and riversare refilled every rainy season. The Atyap people are originally acephalous, with no clear central authority. This may have formed their fierce resistance to Islamisation in the 19thcentury, though colonialism was to later force them under the indirect rule of Zaria Muslimfeudal system.

Even as the celebration went on that afternoon, the Atyap people could have as well recallthat their autonomy, from the grip of Zaria Emirate, was loosen at a great cost, as history has it.Justa few hundred metres from the centre of merriment, behind the walls of the Agwatyap palace, was the Zangon Kataf new market – a fenced open space of straw canopies where village folks go about their weekly transaction, with the young oblivious of the grim history behind its creation.

It was over that market that the Hausa-Muslim settlers of Zangon Katafand the natives took on one anotherin killings that later spilled to Zaria, Kaduna and Katsina 24 years ago, specifically, in May 1992.The Hausa opposed the relocation of the market to the new spacious area, preferring it remained in the cramped town of Zango Kataf.

Gen. Zamani Lekwot (retd), a former Military Governor of old Rivers Stateand five other Atyap leaders were arrested and put in a controversial trial that not only divided the state along ethno-religious line, but also the entire country. Two yearsafter, Lekwot and 16others were sentenced to death under the Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida administration, the regime of Gen. Sani Abacha granted them state pardon in 1995.

In the gathering penultimate Saturday, Letwot was seen looking cheerful and enjoying banters with the VIPs that had gathered to witness Yahaya become the third Gwatyap of Atyapland.

A retired Permanent Secretary from the Kaduna State Civil Service, the new monarch was born in Magamiya village, about four kilometres from Zangon Kataf in 1950.

He was Interim Chairman, Zangon Kataf LGA in 2011, before settling into business and farming. Married with four children, the new Gwatyap is a devout Catholic, a Knight of Saint Mulumba.

In a ceremony that wasbrief, Governor Nasir El-Rufai handed Yahaya his staff of office around 1pm. The governor congratulated the new traditional ruler and told him to build on the peace foundation that his predecessor had set, saying he was confident that the education and exposure of the new Agwatyap wouldcome to bear positively on the Atyap chiefdom.

Speaking to Sunday Vanguard, the Agwatyap said he would do his best to improve on the welfare of his subjects.

He said: “I want to use this opportunity to thank God for availing me the privilege and opportunity to lead Atyapland. The love and support I have seen is unbelievable and I cannot thank everyone who made my installation a success.

“I am coming at a time of many challenges, but I know that God would help.

“I am very concerned about poverty in our land, decline in discipline and productivity among our youths, revival of the Tyap language and security of our land.

“I will encourage the formation of cooperatives and guide our rural people on how to access economic empowerment programmes

“The problems of some of ouryouths give me a lot of concern, but what is happening to them is not only in Atyap land but it cuts across other chiefdoms. I shall start a campaign against drug addiction. This is affecting productivity and the health of our youths and it drives them intocrime.

“If the ones that are organised and hardworking farm, the lazy unproductive ones would go and take from them. That is also discouraging the law-abiding ones from farming.

“In our days, you don’t see young people going to drink traditional brew especially in the morning. It was made for elderly people who could not farm and were looking for ways to relax. Besides they already have young men taking their places on the farms. This has to stop.

“God willing, I will work on the preservation of the Tyap language. We must make our children speak our language, understand our tradition and history.

“Well I welcome and appreciate the civilisation that was brought to us, especially Christianity, I don’t think that everything in our traditional beliefs and practices were evil. There were traditions that led to the preservation of law and order in our society. So, we shall revive the positive side of these traditional practices and throw away the fetish.

“On security, I think we in the Atyap chiefdom have so far not had any problem. I sympathise with other chiefdoms which have come under attacks of herdsmen and we the Atyap people are together with them in solidarity and prayers. We have good communication with the Fulani in our lands and we hope that it would sustain the peace”.

2016 Afan Festival: Kaduna Promises Partnership In Tourism Development

Culled from :

From Julius B. Kezi, Kafanchan
The 2016 edition of the AFAN National Festival celebration by the Kagoro Community was lowkey last Friday, January 1, 2016.
The occasion held at Fadan Kagoro, the premises of Kagoro Multi-purpose Hall gathered dignitaries across the state but without the usual Federal Government delegation as against what was hitherto experienced in the past.

In a message to the occasion, through his Deputy, Arch Barnabas Bala Bantex, Governor Nasir el-Rufai, of Kaduna State said his administration was poised to partner communities to package cultural activities for the purpose of tourism development and providing additional alternative sources of economic income and employment for individuals, the communities and government.
However, the governor said to achieve this and revamping education, agriculture and health sectors, which are key to the development of all sectors of the economy, there was need for all hands to be on deck to ensure peace and security of lives and property to attract any kind of investment from the public and private institutions.
According to the governor, his administration has used the six months since assumption of office to strategize and would soon commence implementation of strategic plans in the provision of free education from primary to Junior secondary school , provision of free uniforms, text books and feeding of pupils, including access to free medical care to pregnant women and children under the age of five years.

The government, he said, had been able to restore and sustain peace and security of the state and appealed to all and sundry to cooperate in this regard, as it is the business of all, not government alone .

Assuring that government was implementing the Agwai committee report on how to restore peace in the state, the governor said government has engaged neighbouring states, especial Plateau to resolve boundary disputes once for all.

Chairman of the occasion, General Martin Luther Agwai, a former chief of Army Staff, called on Nigerians particular the youth in Kaduna state and indeed Kaduna south senatorial district to ensure personal, family and community peace for enhancement of good governance, positive change and development .
According to him, “the Bible states that poor is he that does not have peace,” stressing that friendship is understanding, tolerance and forgiveness. He called for prayers, patience and cooperation for government.

The youth should cultivate and practise good virtues of respect for elders and constituted authority, strive at hard work, educational and skill development that will guarantee long life and actualizing their ambitions, he added.

Chairman Interim Management Council Kaura Local Government Mallam Ibrahim Akut, reiterated his call for the sustenance of peace in the area to facilitate development. He assured that his administration would do its best to attract development. Akut appealed to the state government to assist offset salaries of traditional rulers and security personnel.
His Highness the Oegwang Oegworok (chief of Kagoro), Mr Ufuwai Bonet in a message through his son the Galadima Kagoro apologized for his absence from the festival owning, to his being abroad for treatment.

The traditional ruler charged his people to strive at purification of their hearts, peace with God and members of the society so as to attract public and private investments to the chiefdom.
The Oegwam Oegworok seized the occasion to, on behalf of himself and people of his domain, congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor El-Rufai for their victories at the 2015 polls and prayed for their long life and success in their tasks.

Earlier in a welcome address, President, Kagoro Development Association (KDA) Chief Paul A. Abiyong, said Afan festival was unique as it has been observed for over 400 years.
He said it was one of the most leading cultural festivals in Nigeria which fosters friendship, peace and unity within and outside the country. It is also used to glorify God for protection blessings and offering prayers for same in the emerging years.

He applauded the achievements of government at the federal, state and local governments within their short time in office. Abiyong solicited for construction of Kukum Daji- Garaje, Fadan Daji- Madakiya, Mallagum- Fadan Daji, Safio-Anya-Mafok- Sadio- Kadarko- Tachirak roads and completion of shoulders and creating gutters on Kagoro Manchok road.The KDA president also called for the taking over and completion of Kukum Daji Earth Dam, abandoned by the Nigeria River Basin Authority , which when completed, will enable all year round farming , create youth employment, discuss and improved local and national economy.

“On the Kagoro Hills Resort project initiated by past administrations, we prayed for its construction to boost tourism and employment . The state University Kafanchan Campus and Kaduna College of Education projects in these institutions be completed urgently to reduce students’ hardship,” the KDA president pleaded.

He also requested for water supply to villages and prompt and improved seeds to farmers between February and March, entrepreneurship development for self-reliance and job creation, prompt payment of pensioners and upward review of their benefits.

Abiyong assured government of the support and cooperation from the Kagoro Community .
The occasion featured the crowing of Miss Joyce Samuel Amai as Miss Kagoro, performed by Mrs Elizabeth Onazi, the Kaduna State Head of Service, who encouraged her to use her prime to serve God, pursue education, be industrious and lay good legacies for young girls to follow, thus promoting the culture of the land.

There were cultural dances from within and outside Kagoro and attended by traditional, religious and political leaders, among were Agwam BAJJU Mal. Nuhu Bature, Senator Danjuma Laah, Hon Gideon Gwan , just to mention a few.