Attack on Jere Chief: Gbagyi, palace give contradictory accounts

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By Luka Binniyat

There are very conflicting accounts over the land-related  incident in Jere,  Kagarko Local Government Area (LGA), of Kaduna, last Friday, which left the Emir of Jere, Dr.  Sa’ad Usman with grievous injuries while one  Mr. Ayuba Barde was  also critically wounded and  in hospital.

While Gbagyi youths said that it was Barde alone that reacted in self defence and injured the Emir after he survived gunshots from the Emir’s bodyguard, officials of Jere chiefdom said  the the man was attacked by a mob of Gbagyi youths for no reason.

Usman, 72, a retired Secretary to the Government of Kaduna state,  is a Fulani whose parents came from Katsina State and settled in Jere but he became the Emir of Jere in 1992. He is  also the husband of Senator Nenadi Usman  representing Southern Kaduna Senatorial Zone.

At a press conference organised by the Gbagyi of Issah,  Jere,  the owners of the contentious piece of land said that one Ayuba Barde was in his farm, by the newly opened Jere-Bwari-Abuja road, when Dr Usman saw him, came down from his Jeep with three aides and confronted Barde.

The community, which spoke through one Ayuba Daro Kakarka, said the Emir first slapped Barde, who did know who he was, and that Barde responded in self-defence, which led to the intervention by Usman’s Police Orderly who shot Barde.

The community which accused Usman  of insatiable greed for land also  accused the Chairman of  Kagarko LGA, Mr. Danjuma Akuso of playing out the script of the Emir.

Meanwhile, Kaduna State Police Commissioner, Mr Olufemi Adenaike, has  said that the 14 persons arrested over the incident would be detained until Usman and Barde are well enough to appear in court.

At a modestly organised press conference, Kakarkar said “the continuous and unlawful  confiscation   of Gbagyi native land by the Emir of Jere, Dr Sa’ad Usman, which culminated into the attempted murder of Mr. Ayuba Barde in his farm on the 3rd of  January 2014 by a group led by Dr. Sa’ad Usman has attracted all kinds of comments.

Insatiable greed for land

“It is a well known fact that the Emir of Jere had for long formed the habit of confiscating  lands from Gbagyi natives in Jere chiefdom with impunity. This insatiable greed has brought about many complaints at the Jere Police Station, the Police Headquarters in Kaduna and in many different law courts.

“The most recent complaint at the Jere Police Station is the destruction of the food crops of Ayuba Barde by the agents of the Emir of Jere because the Emir and his agents are ‘law’ in Jere.

“Again, despite the fact that Mr Ayuba Barde and others had sued the Emir of Jere in the High Court, Kafanchan in case No. KDH/KAF/135/215, the Emir in clear disregard and disrespect to law and order continued to invade the land and dispose of same by selling. This attitude is a clear invitation to crisis which he ignited last Friday.

How the incident took place

“Barde was in his farm around 3:30pm that day, when Dr. Sa’ad Usman who was on his way to Jere from Abuja  saw Barde clearing his farm. The Emir stopped his Jeep and beckoned on Barde to come over. Barde, who did not know who was in the jeep, refused to obey. The Emir in anger came out of his jeep  with his three aides.

When they reached Barde, the he said, ‘you are soon going to prison’ and slapped Barde on his face and Barde slapped back in self-defence and began to move away. The Police Orderly of the Emir opened fire on Barde. He shot him on his arm, one bullet pierced the upper side of his shoulder, and another passed the side of his stomach.

Barde fell down and got up. At that point, the policeman fled and the other two hit the Emir with whatever they had on them. He was later discovered in the pool of  his own blood. The truth is that had the Emir not gone to  Mr Ayuba Barde’s farm, no such thing would have happened”

Kagargo  Chairman against  Gbagyis

“The Chairman of Kagargo LGA, Hon. Danjuma Akuso has always created crisis in the area by taking sides with the Emir of Jere in victimising, threatening and harassing the Gbagyi people of the LGA.

“We have come to the understanding that there is  a technical annihilation agenda of the Gbagyi race by Jere Traditional Council with direct collaboration of Akuso.”

He also said that 15 people were arrested over the incident and have not been charged to court.

He was actually attacked by a  Gbagyi mob – Jere Chiefdom

On the part of the Jere Chiefdom, its Secretary, Alh. Aliyu Zubairu told Journalists that: “On the 3rd of January, 2014 after the Juma’at prayer, the Chief went straight to his house where we all offered prayers as usual for peace in the chiefdom and later, he left for Abuja because he usually moves between Abuja and Jere since his family is based there and his business interests are also there.

“It was on the new Jere/Bwari- Abuja Road where he saw a gathering of Gbagyi youths stopping him and he ordered his driver to stop and addressed them.   In disrespect to His Royal Highness, one Ayuba Daro Kakaraka shouted at him which attracted his driver and police orderly.

The Gbagyi youths descended on them. That was when the Police Orderly fired shot on the air to disperse them, but the Gbagyis mobilized and brought out weapons, injured the driver and Police Orderly wounding them on their heads and forcefully collecting the orderly’s gun.

“I want to debunk the allegation that the Chief was not attacked with dangerous weapons as being speculated in some quarters.  He actually was violently attacked and sustained deep cuts on his head, in his neck and on his back.

“In fact, he lost so much blood and became unconscious at the scene of the attack where he was abandoned by his attackers.  It was only a good Samaritan that rushed him to Sabon Wuse General Hospital, Niger State and later after he was identified as the Chief of Jere, the chiefdom was informed and arrangement was made for his transfer to the National Hospital, Abuja.

“His Royal Highness, Sarkin Jere has never tampered with  the family land let alone property of his subjects.He however, has landed property he purchased which were certificated by various land authorities.  We want to also let you know that Ayuba Kakaraka was among others declared wanted by the police since Friday, 3rd January, 2014 when the attack was master minded”.

However, the Kaduna State Police Commissioner, Mr Olufemi Adenaike, who confirmed the arrest, said the suspects would be kept in detention until all the principal characters are well

to appear in Court.

Arrested suspects to remain in detention

Said the Police Commissioner:  “All I can say is that 14 people were arrested, and I don’t know their names.They cannot be charged to court now, because the Emir, who is the principal character cannot speak. He is still in hospital. And as long as he cannot speak, we will not want to charge these people to court so  as not to fail. When I go to court, I go to win, not to lose.

“This is a case of attempted murder between some people and an old man. One of my officers was beaten to a pulp and his gun snatched. The other principal character, who was in the farm is also in  hospital. So how can we go to court without them?

“About 14 people were arrested, and you don’t investigate 14 people under two days, unless you are planning to fail. Do you believe that it was scuffle between one young man and the old man in which they merely exchanged slaps? How come that there was use of machetes and axes and a policeman with a gun  was so beaten?”, he charged

“So after our investigations, we will know who slapped who, who was where and when and after that, it would be decided who will go or stay.  It is the court that will decide but we will not go to court without being prepared”, he said.

It’s travesty of justice – Southern Kaduna lawyers

The President of Southern Kaduna Lawyers Forum, Barrister Rueben at a press conference said: “Of particular concern  in this incident  is the indiscriminate arrest from the community and continued detention of persons from the area where the incident occurred.

“The Police authorities have admitted arresting about 14 suspects who they have kept in detention in the name of investigation and have refused to grant bail or charge to court.

“This travesty of justice and a ploy to continually keep unlawfully in detention persons who ought to be either released conditionally, unconditionally or on bail or charged to court within 24 hours of their arrest, or at worse within 48 hours where there is no court close by, according to the Constitution of Nigeria”.

There was also an  unofficial report  that the Emir has been flown abroad for further treatment.

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