The umbrella body for groups representating the Kataf ethnic nationality in Kaduna “LAP ABIN ATYAP” has lampooned the immediate past Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El Rufai for attempting exonerate himself from the religious cum ethnic crises that have bedeviled the state while heaping the blame on the Atyap nation .
“Says For 8 years, Rufai did not execute a single project in Atyap land
It could be recalled that last Saturday,El Rufai had stated in a keynote speech at the book launch of the founder of Muslim Rights Concern, Prof Ishaq Akintola that religious and ethnic crises in Kaduna State made inroads during the years of military rule . El Rufai went further to blame Gen Zamani Lekwot and other prominent Atyap sons of orchestrating the Zangon Kataf mayhem of the 90s which became a watershed for ethnic and religious crisis in Kaduna.
Reacting to El Rufai’s claims, the Atyap group in a statement jointly signed by its President and secretary, Tabakwot Shimkyang and Kajang Gona, blasted the former Governor for taking religious and ethnic bigotry to all time high during his tenure as Governor of the state .
The group noted that El Rufai’s statement as regards to Zamani Lekwot as skewed and laced with a lot lies in order to steer up hate for the Atyap Community
The socio cultural body through its spokespersons added that the former Governor deliberately marginalized Christians and Southern Kaduna indigenes by appointing only Muslims and Hausa to positions of authority whilst neglecting other tribes and religion
” During Mr. El-Rufai’s 8 years as Governor of Kaduna State, his religion took central stage in the consideration for crucial political appointments and the citing of developmental projects.
” For the first time in Kaduna State, Mr. El-Rufai completely abandoned the traditional fair practice of a government of inclusiveness for Christians and Muslims and adopted the notorious Muslim-Muslim ticket and ensured that all crucial political positions like Senior Counsellor ( his de facto Deputy Governor), Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chief of Staff, Head of Service, Principal Private Secretary (PPS) and other top government positions were occupied by Muslims and his Hausa/Fulani kinsmen only.
“These positions were usually shared between Christians and Muslims to ensure balance and inclusiveness in government. His claims that such appointments were made on merit was an insult to Christians and other ethnic groups who are as qualified and merited for such appointments as his Hausa/Fulani kinsmen.
Apart from appointment of Muslims into position of power while deliberately excluding the Christians, the group also pointed out that Nasir El Rufai concentrated infrastructural projects in Muslim dominated areas while excluding Christian Communities.
“Furthermore, all major projects executed by the El-Rufai administration were exclusively cited in Muslim dominated areas in the State.His Urban Renewal Program Projects in Kaduna town were concentrated in Kaduna North Local Government Area while the roads he completed in Kaduna South Local Government Area were only in areas where his Muslim Hausa/Fulani kinsmen reside leaving the few linking Christians areas uncompleted and abandoned.
Lap Abin Atyap Further explained that the administration of the former Governor did not execute a single project in Atyap land,
“The same scenario is tenable in Kachia, Kafanchan and other places in Southern Kaduna Local Government Areas. To show his total disdain for the Atyap who are predominantly Christians, Mr. El-Rufai did not execute a single project in Atyap land throughout his tenure despite repeated promises and the fact that the Atyap are among the three largest ethnic groups in the State. What more is religious and ethnic bigotry than this?, It asked.
Commenting on the vexed issue of the persistent killings in Zangon Kataf, the body accused the former Governor of reckless and unguarded utterances which seems to favour the Hausas Fulanis, the sane ethnic stock to the Governor belongs
“Mr. El-Rufai’s total lack of empathy over the mass killings of Atyap and burning of their villages during his eight years’ maladministration of Kaduna State is evidence of his disdain and hatred for Atyap and Atyap land.
“He rather threatened the Atyap on 11th May, 2023 that the weapons in the hands of Hausa/Fulani in Zangon Kataf town can finish the Atyap within a matter of hours.