By Ayuba Yusif Abubakar, CITAD, Bauchi Office
Katugum Emirate in Bauchi State is at the cross road of two major political centres, the old Kano and Bornu kingdoms. It had to maintain its autonomy because of the delicate balance that the two powerful neighbors had to maintain. Alos known as Guduri, the land is also a confluence of linguistic and cultural expression. With its people mainly consisting of Hausas, Fulanis and Kanuris as well as sprinkle of minority ethnic groups such as Bade, its presents a unique Hausa culture that is distinctive of all Hausaland. Fate can sometime be cruel: having in the past serve as a buffer zone in the unending conflicts between Kano and Bornu, now Katagum is still a buffer zone, this time against the onslaught of the Boko Haram insurgents across Yobe State along the border with Potiskum. It has had its unsavory experiences of the insurgent attacks with many people killed. So it was not accidental that it registered prominently on our peace advocacy mission.
There is also another confluence of sort in Katagum. Home to the both Jama’are and Katagum rivers, it has expansive flood lands and rich fadama which make not only suitable dry season farming that is so lucrative but also make fishing also a major occupation. The fishermen say if you want make a good catch, go to the river early. Os it was that in order to make the best our peace advocacy in Katagum Emirate, we decided to make it a breakfast meeting at the palace in Azare.
Our team led by Mal Ahmad Abdul Yakasai (along with Sufyan Lawal Kabo, Ayuba Yusif Abubakar, Programmes Assistant, CITAD Bauchi, Abdulla Yakubu, Logistic Officer and the home based of Isah Garba, Programmes Coordinator, CITAD Bauchi and Barau Abdullahi, Programmes Assistant, CITAD Azare) was on Saturday, 28th February, 2015 at the palace by 9am at Azare. The team had gone to see the Emir of Katagum, HRH Alhaji Dr. Muhammad Kabir Umar (CON) as part of the advocacy to get influential people to lend their voices to the peace campaign.
The team was met by the Makama of Katagum, Alhaji Aliyu Hussain on behalf of the Emir. Accompanied by the Secretary of the Emirate Council, the Makama warmed welcomed the team into the palce and explained why the Emir was not personally present to receive them. Responding, the leader of the delegation, Mal Ahmad Yakasai said they were in the Emirate first to express their solidarity and condolence to the people of Katagum Emirate over the various attacks by the insurgents in the Azare town that led to the death of several people. He said CITAD4Peace, the platform on which they were visiting the Emir was a project aimed at contributing in the restoration of peace in the northeast by mobilizing people and communities to collectively wok towards peace building. He explained that CITAD has been working with various partners in the different states sensitizing people on this civic responsibility. He said it was in this effort that the organization has undertaken a series of advocacy visits to influential voices in the region with a view to getting them to all speak out against violence and add their voices in the call for citizens to commit themselves to peace processes. He finally expressed the team’s appreciation and gratitude for the honor done to it by the Emir who graciously accepted to receive them at short notice.
Responding, the Emir thanked CITAD for the visit and commended her for her patriotic efforts in development overtime. He called on Nigerians to embrace peace and advised youths to resist being used as political thugs. He added that politicians who use youths to engage in political violence are compromising the lives of our youths. Instead of providing themselves to bad politicians as machinery for violence he urged youth to key into vast opportunities in the fast growing ICT sector that has being the mainstay of most developed countries.
At the end of the visit, the Emir was presented with some peace related publications on CITAD4peace and who on received the documents prayed for the success of the mission and wished the delegation a safe journey back home.