Shifting the Narrative on Jukun-Hausa Crises in Wukari through Peace Building Initiaves

His Royal Highness, the Aku Uka of Wukari

By Yunusa, Bello Mohammed (MNIFST)

Wukari is the seat of the historical Kwararafa kingdom of Jukuns ruled by Aku-Uka, Dr. Shekarau Angyu Masa-Ibi Kuvyon II, a paramount ruler of Jukuns that ruled since 1976 to date. Hausas coexisted with the Jukuns for centuries, inter-married with the Jukuns and engaged in trading, farming and fishing, and lived peacefully. Culturally, the Jukuns are traditionalists now christains and they are prided farmers and hunters just like their Hausa neighbours who  are traders and on occasions, they venture into farming considering the fertile nature of the soil dotting Wukari land. 

Yusuf Adamu Ubale at Kasuwan Kifi
(Fresh Fish Market) Wukari, on 25/11/2020

As a result of the peaceful co-existence among all the social groups, economic  activities boomed and the arable land gave forth its yields of fruits, yams, cassava, and vast land for cattle grazing. This continued until approximately the advent of democracy and bitter politics drove a wedge in the social fabric of the cosmopolitan Wukari. Things fell apart and peace eludes a hitherto prosperous environment.

Kasuwan Kifi(Fresh Fish Market)
with normal economic activities going on, Wukari, on 25/11/2020

Mr. Cletus Uma observes that “before now Wukari used to be a peaceful home to several ethnic-groups that have even assimilated into virtually a single social community”.  Specifically, the Jukun and Hausa communities had engaged in communal hunting and common markets, Such as the yam market. These groups also engaged in common religious and cultural leadership as they engaged in many other economic and political activities. Similarly, another community member from a mixed family (Nando), where Muslims, Christians, and traditionalists exist, reiterated that they used to have a very cordial relationship until two decades back, particularly from 1999, when politics divided the people. He observed that “some politicians who had reaped political capital in dividing people sow the seeds of discord among the people”.

Audu Samson who was born and bred in Wukari for over 40 years contended the common man has lost his own identity in favor of the bandwagon identity of divisiveness. The tranquility enjoyed that ensured you go to your farm without the apprehension of being attacked, is being missed by everyone, including the Jukuns, and the Hausas. Currently, Abbas Babankwata a community leader says that “the repercussions of the ethnic are being felt, unfortunately not only by the actual perpetrators of the bloodshed but by the common and ordinary people, children, women and the aged”. Cletus Uma corroborates this assertion where he “urged the people to reflect and compare the benefits of ethnic violence and the expense of being in peace”. He laments that at the moment the “economic activities have been crippled as conflicts and fear crippled the social fabric of the once peaceful communities”.

Suggesting solutions for the future

A community member Abdul-alim Gambo of anguwan Marmara calls for authorities and relevant humanitarian organisations to rehabilitate the victims of ethnic violence across the communities. Abbas Babankwata assured that presently the “community is trying it possible best to restore the peace that it enjoyed in the past, several peace forum such as Arewa youths forum, Rev. Mathew Kuka of Interfaith Sokoto Diocese, Wukari concern group, have been formed, all these forums comprise of both Hausas and Jukuns to see that we redeemed back the slump economic activies and the lost peace. 

Cletus Uma is calling “for a step up in peace campaigns so that people will shed the toga of ethnocentrism by changing their mindset and embrace integration for a return to normalcy”. 

Demolished but now under reconstruction,
Anguwan Marmara Wukari, on 25/11/2020

The people w
ant to change; the starting point for the change in their bit to continue with their economic activities. Peace Ramon of mission quarters was quoted as saying, “Okadas (motorcycle riders) from all the ethnic-groups now shuttle freely in every nook and cranny of Wukari without selecting who to carry or where to go”. These becomes necessary to resuscitate the economic shut down, thereby consenting entree to yam market by the Hausas and fish market by the Jukuns.

Meanwhile, Huseini Ibrahim a youth from Marmara claimed that the people would be to let peace reign to reduce the hardships occasioned by the incessant violence that downturn their economic activities. People's attitudes towards their perceived “enemies” have changed from mostly toxic to relatively positive. 

For economic activities to continue in the present recession, the communities have realised their unity and peace can only come by maintaining direct communication among all ethnic groups. The communities, therefore, resolve to hold regular community meetings where grievances and solutions are shared, since they’ve realised that “peace cannot be kept by force but only by empathy”.