All You Should Know About Southern Kaduna
Southern Kaduna is a region of Kaduna State covering areas south of the city of Kaduna, from Kaduna South local government area down to Plateau State.
The region is inhabited by dozens of indigenous tribes and ethnic groups and is most famous for being dominated by adherents of the Christian religion as opposed to the Muslim dominated Northern Kaduna.
Southern Kaduna is often confused for the Kaduna South Local Government Area and also the Kaduna South Senatorial District.
Kaduna South Local Government Area, as the name implies, is a local government area in Kaduna State, with headquarters in Makera in the city of Kaduna. The local government area is located within Kaduna Central Senatorial District alongside Kaduna North Local Government Area, Birnin Gwari, Igabi, Giwa, Chikun and Kajuru local government areas. Kaduna South Senatorial District on the other hand is a Senatorial Zone in Kaduna State comprising eight local government areas of Zangon Kataf, Kagarko, Jema’a, Jaba, Kaura, Kauru, Kachia, and Sanga local government areas.
Southern Kaduna as a region however covers all local government areas of Kaduna South Senatorial District as well as three local government areas in Kaduna Central Senatorial District, and one local government area in Kaduna North Senatorial District.
Southern Kaduna is notably demarcated from Northern Kaduna by the River Kaduna, a tributary of the River Niger that runs through the city. So, the region can also be defined as the area southward of River Kaduna down to the state’s boundary with Plateau State.
Below we take a look at the history of Southern Kaduna, the unique tribes of Southern Kaduna, and every other thing that might aid your understanding of the resilient people of this beautiful region.
The History of Southern Kaduna
Since the early 1970s, Kaduna State has experienced various forms of conflict. However, Southern Kaduna has become the threshold for violent and massive killings perpetrated especially in the years 1987, 1992, 2000 and 2011.
In 1987, violence erupted in the College of Education Kafanchan where Christians were attacked by Muslims over an alleged misrepresentation and interpretation of the Quran. The violence soon extended to Zaria, Kaduna, Katsina, Ikara and other places. Hundreds of Christians were killed, churches were burnt and property worth millions destroyed.
In 1992, Zangon Kataf was twice engulfed in violent clashes where indigenous Christians of Atyap community were attacked by Muslims residents over the relocation and opening of the market on the outskirts of the town in May of 1992. The market was initially located in an area dominated by the Muslim community. It was sandwiched between private houses and not conducive for local trading. The government relocated the market to an open space favorable to everyone, but the Muslim community saw this as an affront both to their faith and businesses. They therefore attacked Christian communities in retaliation. This was followed by the Sharia crisis in 2000 and the post-presidential election violence in April 2011. The conflict spread to many cities and towns within the state including Kafanchan.
The most recent violent conflict in Southern Kaduna occurred in May 2016 where Christians (mostly farmers) were attacked by Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen.
In addition to attacks started mostly by the Muslim communities against Christians, the government also failed to address the situation justly and provide security for Christian majority communities. The continuous conflict and government’s failure to provide justice led to cries of marginalization and social exclusion (on the part of victims).
Additionally, Kaduna State has become divided along religious, ethnic and socio-cultural lines with different beliefs and traditions. On the one hand there is the northern and Islamic Hausa/Fulani ethnicity, and on the other there are the southern indigenous communities that are predominantly Christian. The northern part of Kaduna State became dominated by Hausa-Fulani Muslims and the indigenous Christian communities migrated to Southern Kaduna.
Settlements based around religious affiliation and ethnic groups became replicated in major towns such as Zonkwa, Kafanchan and Kachia. Religion and ethnicity have become factors that generate identity conflict. Mutual distrust between communities and religious groups has grown so much that people place sectarian division over and above the common interest.
Again, the voices of Christian victims who live with the conflict daily are stifled and unrepresented. The trauma suffered by Christian women, children, the physically challenged and the most vulnerable has mostly gone unnoticed.
The combination of these factors has derailed local and official efforts to end the conflict both in the short and the long term. As with most violent conflicts in Nigeria, military deployment in a predominantly Christian territory has become the first option rather than the last resort. This is done without committed or genuine civil engagement. There are also poor levels of accountability and increased impunity by security forces deployed to keep peace in Southern Kaduna. Indigenous Christian communities accuse security forces of complicity in the conflict.
Languages And Tribes In Southern Kaduna
Southern Kaduna represents the Biblical Tower of Babel due to the existence of numerous tribes and languages within the region.
The Southern Kaduna region comprises of a total of 65 tribes and languages with each local government area boasting of more than one except for Jaba Local Government Area which has only one indigenous tribe and language.
Jaba local government area is the base of a tribe known as Jaba, the owner and curator of the Nok culture where Terracotta head was discovered and believed to have existed around 500 B.C. Ham is the language of the Jabas. The tribe is also found in Kachia local government area of the state with the same language.
In Jama’a local government council, there exists the tribes of Kagoma, Kafanchan and Kalinko. While Kagoma speaks Gom language, Funsuam and Kalinko are the languages of Kafanchan and Kalinko respectively.
Bajju tribe that speaks Ju language, Ikulu with Akulu language, Kadara tribe with Adara and Jaba with Ham languages hold sway in Kachia Local Government Council.
Kagarko Local Government Area is the home of the Koro and Gbaygi tribes. The two speak the language that coincided with the names of their tribes. The Gbaygi are also found in Birnin Gwari local government area, and also in Niger, Nasarawa and the Federal Capital Territory.
Ataka, Kataf, Morwa and Oegorok (Kagoro) tribes are found in Kaura Local Government Area with different languages. Ataka speaks Aakat, Kataf speaks Atyap, Morwa with Sholie and Oegorok with Oeglok language.
Ruruma, Kaibi, Kimolo and Binwara tribes holds forth in Kauru Local Government Council. Each of the tribes speaks the language that tallied with the names of their tribes.
Local Government Areas And Towns In Southern Kaduna
The Southern Kaduna region comprises all the eight local government areas of Kaduna South Senatorial Zone. These local government areas include:
- Zangon Kataf
The Southern Kaduna region also covers three local government areas of Kaduna Central Senatorial District. These local government areas are:
- Kaduna South
The Southern Kaduna region also extends to one local government area in Kaduna North Senatorial Zone. The local government area is:
Major towns in the Southern Kaduna region include Kafanchan, Zonkwa and Kachia. Even a s ignificant part of the city of Kaduna is in located within the Southern Kaduna region.
The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU)
The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, or SOKAPU is the umbrella body of the estimated 5 million natives of the Southern Kaduna region of Kaduna state.
The existence of the organization predates Nigeria’s independence. It has been at the forefront of the fight for the creation of a state for the Southern Kaduna people.
The organization has also been fighting for the equity and fairness for the Southern Kaduna people purportedly marginalised by successive Muslim-led regimes in Kaduna State.
Barrister Solomon Musa is the current President of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union.