Sayawa Chiefdom:  We Have No Prejudice For Or Against Any Person, Gov Bala Tells Critics

By Khalid Idris Doya

The Bauchi state Governor, Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed has said that his administration has no prejudice for or against any of the parties involved in the tussle for the creation of Sayawa Chiefdom.

He explained that government concern is to broker peace among the various stakeholders and ensure peaceful co-existence among the heterogeneous ethnic and religious groups in Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro Local Government Areas of the state.

The Governor was speaking on Friday while receiving the report of the Ambassador Dada Chinade-led committee saddled with the responsibility of reviewing three committees’ reports on the creation of Sayawa Chiefdom recommended during different military and civilian governments in the state dates back to 1991 Tafawa Balewa ethno-religious crises.

Governor Bala Mohammed explained that it’s his administration’s desire to put in place a Sayawa Chiefdom that would be embraced by all stakeholders without resorting to litigation so that peace would reign at Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro Local Government Areas.

 Senator Bala Mohammed assured the committee and indeed the entire people of the state that the report would be carefully studied by the state government with a view to implementing the recommendations.

To this end, he said, a white paper committee would be produced on the report after being deliberated upon by the State Executive Council, and where the need arises, the government would consult relevant stakeholders and experts on conflict resolution for advice and guidance.

Mohammed expressed confidence that the committee has done a thorough job that would assist the government in finding a solution to the problem of creating the Sayawa Chiefdom once and for all.

“It is evident that members of the committee deployed their wealth of experience and knowledge to meticulously carry out the assignment based on the terms of reference given to them, I want to thank and commend the chairman and members of the committee for not only a job well done, but for also doing the job in good time. I must say that you have justified the confidence reposed in you”, Mohammed concluded.

Presenting the report earlier, Ambassador Jibrin Dada Chinade said the committee having observed all the previous committees of Babalaki, Shehu Awak and Bala Umar, also made same recommendation to address the agitation for self-determination by the Sayawa and to bring lasting peace in the Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro axis.

To this end, he said, the committee recommended that the proposed Sayawa Chiefdom should comprised the whole of Bogoro Local Government Area with proviso that non sayawa within the Local Government Area would be allowed to decide whether or not they want to be part of the chiefdom through referendum to be conducted by the State Independent Electoral Commission.

It also recommended that areas in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area which are predominantly occupied by the Sayawa should form part of the Sayawa Chiefdom, however a referendum be conducted in other areas of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area who are not predominantly Sayawa to decide whether or not they want to be part of the Sayawa Chiefdom.

The Committee chairman said that they also recommended how the state government would identify where the headquarters of the proposed Sayawa Chiefdom would be located, as well as the eligibility of persons to be appointed as Chief for the Chiefdom, process of selection of pioneer and subsequent chiefs, and composition of Sayawa Chiefdom Traditional Council.

Ambassador Jibrin Chinade further disclosed that appropriate recommendation has similarly been made for the resettlement of persons displaced from Tafawa Balewa town as a result of the series of crises in the town.

“It is recommended that the subsisting 2014 law on the creation of Sayawa Chiefdom (as amended) should be further amended to accommodate the committee’s recommendations. To this end, a bill seeking for the amendment of the relevant sections of the law should be sent to the State House of Assembly for legislative action”.  

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