Displaced: A State of Emergency in Nigeria 2

Bekeme Masade-Olowola (Host): Hi everyone. I hope you are having a fantastic Friday. This is Bekeme and you are listening to The Good Citizen Radio Show. The Show is brought to you by the one and only CSR-in-Action and is funded by Aspire Coronation Trust, aka ACT Foundation, which is a grant making organisation established to drive such conversations as this. And our focus is leadership because leadership is not just about people in power, I think that we have power in our hands as citizens of this great country. And the beauty of Nigeria is in our diversity, the fact that we have different tribes and different cultures. That is why some of the greatest countries in the world today, like the United States and Canada, are arguably two of the greatest countries and that is why they are great, their diversity. But we have yet to harness that diversity and this is what we must do in order to move our great nation forward.

Nigeria as it is today cannot continue because we need to change the way we think; we need to change the way we behave. And we cannot understand the entirety of the problems that we are facing if we do not have these conversations. And this is why we need to have these conversations with real people from all parts of the country because we want to dive deeply into the problems and address these problems and proffer solutions to these problems.

Last week, we started the series on Displaced: A state of emergency in Nigeria, and we talked to Ramatu Nonya Tolba, who is a young woman from Adamawa state who had a twin, but lost her twin as a result of the insurgency in the north. Now we are going to continue that conversation with a young man today. His name is Hamisu Ilyasu. I will say it again. His name is Hamisu Ilyasu, and Hamisu recently reached out to us at the Good Citizen initiative to tell us that his family had recently been displaced. Hamisu is from Katsina state and he will tell us more about what has been happening over there.

Bekeme: Welcome to the Show, Hamisu.

Hamisu: Good afternoon madam.

Bekeme: How are you today?

Hamisu: I am fine madam.

Bekeme: Okay, so, tell me, so your name is Hamisu?

Hamisu: My name is Hamisu.

Bekeme: Where are you from Hamisu?

Hamisu: Katsina.

Bekeme: Where exactly in Katsina?

Hamisu: Kandawa.

Bekeme: Kandawa. Okay. So, what language do you speak in Kandawa? Just for education?

Hamisu: Some people na farmers, some people na Fulani, but we maintain cow for bush.

Bekeme: Okay. Okay, so some people na farmer, these people wey be farmer dem be Fulani farmers?

Hamisu: No, na the Hausas be farmers.

Bekeme: So, for Kandawa nah Hausa and Fulani dey? So, which one you be?

Hamisu: Me I be Hausa/Fulani because my father na Hausa, my mother na Fulani but we grow inside town, we no grow inside bush.

Bekeme: Okay. So, na the same thing wey the girl wey come last week say, she keep on saying bush bush not village?

Hamisu: You know say village and bush dey different now. The people wey de stay inside bush with cow and the people wey de stay inside town with people dey different.

Bekeme: Right. Okay so, those wey dey look cow, dem de bush, dem no dey even dey village. dem de dey bush gangan. Why dem de dey bush?

Hamisu: Any person wey be Fulani man way get cow no fit stay inside town or village. You go outside town dem sef they stay inside bush. But real Fulani there dey transfer from one place to another. For example now, if rain fall now, then go push the cow go the place wey grass dey so he go chop grass.

Bekeme: Okay. So, all these Fulani people dem no get land wey be their own, dem just dey move. So, since when you know this Fulani situation, Hamisu and since you small you de Kandawa, right? Since you small you de see all these things they happen. E don tey wey them dey chop people grass?

Hamisu: Yes, e don tey. This thing wey I de tell you now happen with me and my father and my younger brother.

Bekeme: Okay, wetin happen?

 Hamisu: Early morning we carry our machine go farm, we go see the farm nothing dey. Dem don clear the farm, dem clear everything put cow finish everything. So, we get one man dem de call am Alhaji Shehu, him house de near our farm. My father say make we wait make him go meet Alhaji, he go meet Alhaji say good morning, you see wetin happen for my farm? Alhaji say him no know. Him say Alhaji, more than 200 cows enter this farm, you dey near my farm and they tell me say you no know the person wey enter my farm chop all this thing?

So, I remember one man wey dem dey call Alhaji Nakotama, one Fulani man, him be very strong man, because him be criminal before, he dey thief before because I remember one day, them put am for Radio, Nakata Radio for Kaduna, them ask am say  how many people him kill, him say him no fit remember.  If Fulani man enter his farm, he no de fear to talk, he go call am out and the Fulani man must come because them know am.

Bekeme: Him come tell una who chop the farm?

Hamisu: My father meet am because he is a friend of my father. My father meet am say Alhaji see wetin happen for my farm, I get plenty farm you know. Him say Mallam Ilyasu I know, calm down. I go check and if time reach I gol give you the corn wey you go chop till rain go fall. One day we go clear the farm we want to plant pepper because we no get food again. So, we dey do am one Fulani guy come push cow inside again.

Bekeme: So, una know see the one wey come chop the farm?

Hamisu: Where you go see am? Person wey come chop your farm in the night move forward.

Bekeme: So dem know wetin dem dey do nai make dem come for night. So dey do am on purpose. They come for nights wey person no go dey to chop the things then go.

Hamisu: You know say cow dey like fire o, if ground dey, you put 200 cow for thirty minutes, e don finish.

Bekeme: But why dem no fit avoid people? Because wetin una plant for una farm?

Hamisu: Like me now if first rain come I go plant corn and guinea corn, the place where I go put beans or pepper, I no go put guinea corn there.

Bekeme: So, my question is una no get bush, because you dey talk say na bush them dey, una no get bush wey no be person farm wey dem fit chop grass?

Hamisu: Bush dey.

Bekeme: So, why dem dey go people farm?

Hamisu: You know say if cow plenty for bush, food no go de inside that bush. But the thing wey dey near farm, if cow open eye see something wey green, them go go there. I no go blame Fulani because we sef wey be farmers, we get problem.

Bekeme: So wetin be una problem? 

Hamisu: You know say this place is a road wey you commot before, your father sef leave this place say na cow go pass this place, for hundred years you know say na cow dey use this place. But because you want expand your farm, you go come plant for that place wey cow de pass, and you know say if cow chop grass e go need water, nothing concern cow say this one na farm o, e go put head because he know say na him former road wey he de pass drink water so he must enter there. If Fulani get problem, farmers too get their own wey dem de contribute.

Bekeme: So, you dey say historically everybody know where they suppose face but even farmers now come dey enter into the road. So, who owned that land? So, dem dey encroach on grazing land basically land wey cow suppose graze on top, farmer don turn am to their own farm but in your own case nor be that one?

Hamisu: Our own problem for Kandawa, Danmusa and Zamfana nor be that one. The thing start from kidnappers.

Bekeme: Wetin start from kidnappers?

Hamisu: Fulani start from kidnappers for our side.

Bekeme: So, nor be cow on grazing? Why una nor get issues with the Fulani wey dey carry cow for una side?

Hamisu: For example, now our side people wey get cows come from. You know am, you know him father, dem born am for here, he no fit enter come chop your farm.

Bekeme: So, what about the people wey dey pass by because you talk say e get some wey they know dey stay, dem just dey move from place to place?

Hamisu: That one na dem de cause the wahala for our side.

Bekeme: But historically, una still get people wey be Fulani wey dey stay for bush and we know everybody land, so dem no dey near there?

Hamisu: Yes, then go tell you, in the next five days come for my pikin ceremony, we go go, when we too invite them then go come with their friends and go.

Bekeme: So, una they live in peace, everybody dey their side, dem dey do their cow for the bush, una dey town, una know say them nor go chop una farm. But na the ones wey dey pass?

Hamisu: We nor no were those ones dey come from.

Bekeme: Okay, so, the current situation now wey dey happen for Kandawa, tell us wetin they happen.

Hamisu: Now peace dey small. Because I know go lie for person, Governor don try, Amino Bello Masari, him keep security.

Bekeme: For Katsina state?

Hamisu: Him keep security no be small now. The only problem now you know say even as then keep security, people no go gree go back to the village because nothing dey for village. Dem fire this place, rain don scatter the house, how person go go back? No food, no water, so that is why people dey live inside primary school for Katsina state.

Bekeme: So, wetin happen for village wey make people dey go inside primary school for inside Katsina state for Katrina town?

Hamisu: For example, you know say this Fulani people den go carry three in one on top okada begin dey open fire.

Bekeme: Who be these Fulani people? Dee dey stay bush too abi na?

Hamisu: Na inside bush dem dey stay.

Bekeme: Dey suppose be cattle rearers, but they come turn kidnappers.

Hamisu: Yes. And that Fulani wey de carry gun, the Fulani wey dey with us, if those Fulani come dem no dey allow them o. Then go kill that Fulani wey know you carry him cow dey go.

Bekeme: Ah! So, dem dey attack everybody?

Hamisu: Dem dey attack everybody. So, the only problem be say we know no which kind people be this.

Bekeme: So, dis ones dem be part of Boko Haram abi dem just dey their own?

Hamisu: No, this ones and Boko Haram dey different, because Boko Haram, the story wey we dey here be say if you pray them go say you no sabi, so, nothing concern Fulani with that.

Bekeme: Boko Haram own be say una no they practice Islam as they want make una practice as them feel say the Quran tell you.

Hamisu: Fulani no they practice any religion.

Bekeme: Aha! Because Ramatu talk the same thing. So, the Fulani people nor be say dem be Muslim or dem nor get religion of their own? Dem say dem nor get religion them get traditional religion?

Hamisu: Na Muslim dem be.

Bekeme: Dem be Muslim? So, some of them be Muslim?

Hamisu: No be some of them.

Bekeme: So, we get one lady wey come on the Show last week Ramatu, she say the Fulani for her side, she come from Adamawa right? The Fulani wey dey her side many of them be Heathen, Heathen na person wey no go church or mosque.

Hamisu: So, na their own be that for Adamawa state and I nor know. But any Fulani wey you see is a Muslim man. No Fulani wey no get religion for Katsina state.

Bekeme: But you say these ones, even these ones wey they kidnap too, they be Muslim too?

Hamisu: Yes.

Bekeme: Okay.

Hamisu: Person go carry chapter inside Qur’an dey read am.

Bekeme: Why dem dey read am for una?

Hamisu: That chapter wey him know say is for protection, if he read am for like twenty times, even if them throw bomb, he go commot.

Bekeme: I see. So where they learn that one? person wey no be Muslim he go hard for am.

Bekeme: So dey come una town then attack una, then ransack una, when this one happen?

Hamisu: E don tey wey e don dey happen.

Bekeme:  Okay, but why na now people come pack?

Hamisu: Since when Buhari come, the thing come worse.

Bekeme: Okay, really, e come worse.

Hamisu: But see now for Buhari side, the thing nor de happen.

Bekeme: Where be president Buhari side?

Hamisu: Daura side. This thing no dey happen now.

Bekeme: How you take know?

Hamisu: I be Katsina man, I know Katsina well. So, see now, from Daura to Tuwa, katsina, Mai Aduwa, Marchi, wetin de happen for that place?

Bekeme: So, why then you feel say nothing dey happen for there?

Hamisu: Nothing dey happen for there, them de live in peace. The only problem wey them get be say na Flood.

Bekeme: So, my question is why you feel say them no dey fight for there? Why you feel say the Fulani people know they attack them for there? Shey you feel say them get higher security for them or what?

Hamisu: No, no be high security matter. That place na Sahara side, bush nor dey wey person dey hide.

Bekeme: I see, no be him fault naw. You just dey talk say e no too dey happen for that side because e dry, na so so sand.

Hamisu: from my own thinking, there na boarder, na there wahala suppose start if the Fulani wan cause wahala for Nigeria but e no dey happen for that side, and them say this Fulani na boarder dem de follow enter.

Bekeme: So, why you think say dem dey pass through there no do anything come enter town? So, Hamisu, you say dem pass border and you say many of them na kidnapper them be.

Hamisu: Na kidnappers dem be before them start to they open fire.

Bekeme: So, why them de attack una village? Dem wan carry una property or cow?

Hamisu: Dem wan carry cow.

Bekeme: But those places wey you talk like Daura, shey dem no get cow there?

Hamisu: Dem get.

Bekeme: So, why them no dey thief from there?

Hamisu: Na the thing wey dey surprise me be because na one side the thing de happen.

Bekeme: so you dey say na only one side the thing dey happen. It means that probably they have higher security for that place because both of us no know the answer to that.

Hamisu: Thank you very much ma, the security wey you de talk naw, who get Chief of Army Staff? Those people abi, what of Airforce staff, police, all the big post.

Bekeme: So, you dey ask basically why?

Hamisu: Why this things dey happen and those people no de take action seriously?

Bekeme: You feel say them no de take action seriously?

Hamisu: Madam, even government go say make we defend ourself, everybody buy the thing wey e go take defend himself.

Bekeme: How him go take tell una this message?

Hamisu: Example madam, if government talk say we no fit o, make una defend una self. We get people wey fit disappear for this place commot for Ibadan.

Bekeme: Which people?

Hamisu: Among us, dem dey.

Bekeme: These ones na part of the wey they leave for the community abi na. So, whether you use jazz?

Hamisu: How many times we done tell government make them allow us buy gun wey dey use Boris, but if soldier see you hold that thing na another wahala.

Bekeme: So, but you say government de say make una protect unaselves from these ransacking? Okay, hang on now. How dem take tell una, how dem take make the announcement, how you take know? Abi na una de tell yourselves say a government don leave us to look after ourselves e get any government wey tell una say look after yourselves?

Hamisu: No.

Bekeme: Okay. So, no such but una feel say since they know dey do anything, una get to look after yourselves?

Hamisu: Yes! Make dem say I beg make una no look for Government o, if una wait for government una go finish. Example now, people go enter this village, kill the man wey dem go kill, pursue the man wey dem go pursue, after six hours before you go see say police go come.

Bekeme: Una get Local Government Chairman?

Hamisu: Local Government Chairman day, Counselor dey.

Bekeme: Okay. So, I dey go somewhere when these things happen, una dey protest to say our local government chairman this na wetin dey happen, wetin him dey talk?

Hamisu: So, me I never one day carry myself go there. Even if you go local government go say this thing don pass my power o.

Bekeme: So, wetin I want make you do now is you still get family wey de for home right now because you tell us say your wives and your brother wife them don’ move go town because dem come ransack una village. So, they get to run go primary school for inside town, right for Katsina town. Okay so, wetin I dey ask make you do na say, why not you record me and play for your brother so that your brother and some people go meet local government chairman?

Hamisu:  If you go who go allow you see local government chairman?

Bekeme: What do you mean by who you go see?

Bekeme: I know understand, you know, go talk to person for door say I want see chairman?

Hamisu: Who are you?

Bekeme: You be citizen. You nor know that you have a right to see local government chairman? Hamisu: Dem go talk say who are you?

Bekeme: So, yes and then so if you say you won make formal complaint wetin den go talk? say I want you just say ah, these problems they happen because that na why we get local government.

Hamisu: it is better make una carry una self go meet chief because na him dey near you, he go understand you, if he no get chance he go tell you send person.

Bekeme: Make we try this one, any NGOs de for una side?

Hamisu: No. Madam, as my place dey, if you go meet one person say please, him go say this one push me to be the king. Even Journalist wey be say na everything them de carry.

Bekeme: What do you mean everything that they carry?

Hamisu: Journalist go see something go record, now them de fear because now if you go carry am and you go mess up, na your life you go carry. So many things madam, we go go stand for paper to see wetin dey happen, we no dey see our own there.

Bekeme: Are you serious? So, journalists go come ask questions, una go give them feedback say okay, this always happened, you no go come see the story.

Hamisu: Na all these things government supposed to put eye o.

Bekeme: So, let me tell you something now Hamisu, and that na waiting we get to do okay, because you keep on saying government. You see the problem wey be like say we get for Nigeria be say everytime wey something happen we dey say President Buhari. We talk of local government chairman now you say then no go let you see but you never try. So, Hamisu hang on, we need to try because President Buhari na one man e no fit come your village, Kandawa, him no fit come Kandawa, that is why we get state governors and that is why we get local government chairmen or chairpersons because e fit be woman.

Now for your local government, you get counsellors, you talk now you get counsellors. So, you get to talk to these people first and that is why they say since you say journalists they fear to carry story, journalists they fear to go there. Now we don start this conversation. We because this na radio show okay? You fit go meet these people make one person go meet them with recording if you want we go help una write letter, una go take there say we won complain say these things happen and then make we know wetin happen. If they say no, e no concern us then we fit they say oh, pass on to state governor or pass am to federal government, oh let Nigeria hear, do you understand what I am saying? Because if the reason why we dey get this conversation now is because we need to point out say the leaders na we vote them put for there. If them no do their work, then dey suppose commot for where them dey. So, we get to also do wetin them they call holding them accountable, making sure say they do the work wie vote them to do, make them know that they nor have to just chop money to collect salary, say they put them to do work and they must work.

And if Kandawa and him people they get challenges, these challenges wey you dey talk, na the local government chairman responsibility. If e be say na something wey he know fit to handle him supposed to escalate and suppose carry am go state or him tell news people say, oh, we need help. But if you know they talk say they need help, then it means say na something wey him can handle.

So, I think make we start from there, person go there, you record the conversation, they no need to see you dey record but recording the conversation say, oh, I wan do this, we wan complain, then we start from there because all this matter of all of us wey we dey say President Buhari, make we start somethin, afterall na we vote them. President Buhari no carry local government chairman dash us. So, na we go go there and na we go ask the questions and now we go get the solutions by ourselves because this people will keep harassing Kandawa people.

Now final question Hamisu, so, you de Lagos, you have to say this quickly because you no get time anymore. So, you come dey Lagos now, do you witness any challenges? You feel say people they look you say this one na Boko Haram or you they feel anyhow sometimes?

Hamisu: No, I no go lie.

Bekeme: Okay. So since you dey Lagos, people no dey look you say na Hausa, na North, na this or that, so, you have no issues whatsoever?

Hamisu: No

Bekeme: Okay, so that is fantastic. So, what do you think about living in Lagos and, you know, wetin you go like see change for your side, when you look at wetin de happen for Lagos?

Hamisu: The only thing be say make them put more power and more security. Those People wey de camp, I no go call am camp because primary school no be camp, make government try make everybody go him house. Make people go farm, build their house.

Bekeme: Wetin be your local government chairman name, you know?

Hamisu: I nor know that one.

Bekeme: Okay. So that na your assignment Hamisu, going forward you go find out local government chairman name, and your people to go make formal complaints and then we go hear back from you.

We have been talking to Hamisu Ilyasu on The Good Citizen Radio show. He does not agree yet but we will have to convince him that he needs to take the matters into his hands with his family and see what can be done but that does not mean that we cannot lend voices. So if you have any solutions for Katsina or elsewhere and you think that you can support this, please reach out to us @goodcitizenng. Send us a message on any of our social media handles @goodcitizenng Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.

And basically, we have all heard about the different challenges across the nation, it is not just Boko Haram, not just kidnapping and these things are having deleterious effects on the people. Poverty is obviously a big issue that needs to be addressed. But more importantly, state officials, local government officials that have been placed in positions of power need to take action and address these challenges.

Have a nice evening and we look forward to continuing this conversation next week, as we continue to delve into Displaced:  The state of emergency in Nigeria. My name is Bekeme, you have been listening to The Good Citizen Radio Show. Brought to you by CSR-in-Action and ACT Foundation. Bye, bye.

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