MEMBERS of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (Sokapu) have finalised plans to create their own state and shall be submitting their proposals to the National Assembly as their contribution to the ongoing constitutional review process.
Kaduna State has suffered terribly from communal clashes in recent years as clashes between the mainly Muslim northerners and the predominantly Christian southerners has left hundreds dead. Most of those responsible for the violence from the north of the state are herdsmen, while those from the south of the state are farmers.
Jonathan Asake, the Sokapu president, said the citizens of Kaduna State have finally agreed to split the state into two. Making the development known in his presentation and defence of their memo to the constitution review committee in Kaduna, Mr Asake noted that both sides, realised that creating new states from the present Kaduna State would go a long way in solving the bloody violence that seemed to defy solution for a very long time.
He observed that it is the wish of southern Kaduna people to have a brand new constitution not an amended one. According to Mr Asake, in the absence of a new constitution, the forum has come to the constitution review committee to make inputs as a people who have suffered suppression and opposition for a very long time.
Mr Asake said: “Southern Kaduna is made up of 67 ethnic nationalities spread in 13 of the 23 local government areas of Kaduna State. It has a land mass of 26,000km sq with an estimated population of 5.1m and we are endowed with an educated population and with abundant natural resources.
“We are demanding for the amendment of the provision of Section Eight of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which makes it almost an impossible task for the creation of a new state. We stand by all the 2014 confab report which had captured most of our demands.”
He further explained that the land size is greater than that of Kano State which has a land mass of 20,000km sq, stressing that yet Kano is a state of its own with 44 local government areas. Mr Asake observed that the population of southern Kaduna is greater than that of 21 other states of the federation.
According to Mr Asake, the southern Kaduna people have been demanding for a state of their own for over 30 and Gurara State was among the 18 states proposed in the 2014 Confab report. He added that they are demanding the creation of the Gurara State after the amendment, pointing out that this would help in solving the incessant conflicts between his people and the other divide.
Sokapu also asked for the removal of the Land Use Act from the constitution and its amendment as a law so that communities and families can have larger control of the ancestral lands. Likewise, representatives of the northern part of Kaduna State, under the aegis of Kaduna Development Elders Initiatives submitted a memo to the dame effect signed by the senators representing Kaduna North Senatorial District Senator Sulieman Abdu Kwari and the senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District Senator Uba Sani.
It was also signed by all the members of the House of Representatives from the northern part of Kaduna State, all members of Kaduna State House of Assembly from the northern part of the state, their local government chairmen and councillors. They said that they are canvassing for the creation of new Kaduna State and they want the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria amended to make this possible.