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Bauchi And Politics Of Deforestation

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By Abdul Ahmad Burra

Recently a committee was inaugurated by Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammad to implement the Government’s White Paper on the report of administrative committee on land use abuse, illegal allocation and farmers and herders clashes in local government areas of the state.

This news, to some extent, soothed our hearts that have been burning helplessly for several months because of the impunity and lawlessness being perpetrated by government officials and politicians in our local governments which endangered everybody’s life in the State.

The scandalous sale and allocation of the historic Lame-Burra Game Reserve and Burra-Tamba Grazing Reserve by a group secretly formed by local government officials and local politicians is the heaviest blow we have ever suffered as community and environmental activists.

About two decades ago when we started our activism to protect our forests and reserves against deforestation and other harmful activities so as to avoid environmental disasters and other negative effects, we thought by now, the problem of deforestation in our area would been reduced or eliminated completely.

Unknown to us that the menace would not only grow beyond our capacity but would reach the level that even the forests and its components would be put to sale by people who have the mandate of protecting them.

The Lame/Burra Game Reserve, which covers about 2,351.92 km2, is situated in Toro and Ningi Local Governments Area and the second largest after Yankari Game Reserve. The area was designated for nature reserve and maintenance of a natural habitats.

One will never expect that this Game Reserve being one of the greatest treasures and tourism attraction sites of the State will be carelessly managed and left to the hands of local politicians who subsequently decided to sell it to the highest bidders.

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The intensive atrocity against our environment started after the local government in election last year. The new local government officials and some local politicians set up the so called anti deforestation committees that masqueraded as tax collection outfit to collect monies from loggers.

Motivated by greed and the huge amount money they generated without hitches, the local government officials, local politicians and a certain bureaucracy of our traditional institution decided that more money would come if they allocate some of the forest reserves in the local government to themselves, cronies and any interested buyer. They immediately commenced their grand plan with unbundling and allocation of farmlands in the famous Burra-Tamba Grazing Reserve which is under the control of Ningi Local Government Council. The Reserve is located along Burra-Ningi road and used to be the beautiful forest with beautiful landscape and topography that welcome and attract travellers to Burra. Trees and other plantations were cleared, loggers and charcoal producers dominated the Reserve.

Their next grand plan was to sell out the Ningi Local Government’s portion of Lame-Burra Game Reserve to people but unlike the grazing reserve, it is under the control of the State Government, thus they don’t have its absolute control but they hatched a plan. They formed a herders and farmers peace forum and made some religious and PDP leaders, Fulani leaders, farmers and politicians as members. The Forum voted some millions of naira and visited a certain Director in the ministry supervising the Game Reserve. They presented a request for allocation of the Reserve to farmers because it became hideout of criminals. They also claimed that the Toro Local Government’s portion of the Reserve has already been allocated to farmers and the Ningi portion is being encroached by the people of Toro.

The Director reportedly gave them approval to sell out the Reserve. Allocation commenced in which they started with collection of two hundred thousand naira and one hundred and fifty naira from farmers for allocation of farmlands. They also allocated hundreds of hectres of farmlands to themselves, politicians, traditional institutions and some notable individuals. When the news of the allocation spread, people from far and near trooped to the Forum for allocation. The price skyrocketed to one and two millions for allocation because Fulani herders from Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau and many states saw opportunity in acquiring the Reserve. In a short period of time the Forum generated millions of Naira. Loggers from all parts of the country trooped the former former Game Reserve and up to today, the Reserve is the new mecca for charcoal, timber and firewood.

What is more dangerous in the activities of this Forum is that they don’t care about the profile of these herders coming from far and near to buy land in the Reserve. All they care was the money. It is alleged that many fleeing bandits and kidnappers from Zamfara and Katsina used proxies and relatives to buy farmlands in the Reserve.

Environmental activists and community leaders alarmed the government on the scandal and dangerous trend in the local government which is capable of plunging the State into serious security and environmental disaster. These local politicians would politicize any move to stop these activities and this slowed down any reasonable action from the Government.

Whenever an attempt is made to stop the atrocities, they would take bags of money and see the people at the top. It reached a level that these people have bribed almost every individual or institution we think we could get help. Also all attempts by some officials from the State to visit Burra and see the situation would be blocked in Ningi by the local government officials and certain bureaucracy of the traditional institution.

The District Head of Burra Alhaji Ya’u Shehu Abubakar has been the greatest force in the fight against deforestation but he is lone in the fight thus he watched them helplessly. Knowing that he is the major threat in their deforestation and farmlands allocation business, the local government officials connived and got him suspended from office. They used politics and other administrative tactics to hang him. The suspension of Sarkin Burra aided the smooth running of their atrocities up to today because the fear of Sarkin Burra has been one of the major factors that protected our forests from being destroyed for many years.

Later the State Government cancelled all the allocations in the reserves and set up a committee to investigate. But this didn’t stop the atrocities. They paused on the allocation and concentrate on logging and massive production of charcoal from the Reserve. Logging is now business of the day in all forests of Burra. This continue to fetch them money in which they use to carryout out some personal and political activities.

It’s obvious that local politicians see our forests as political bounties. Whenever an election is held, the target of the members of the winning party is to take control of forests and reserves in their communities. This twist of politics started more than a decade ago but worsened from 2020 to date.

The 2020 local government election in Bauchi State has produced set of leaders and officials who have strong desire to accumulate wealth by hook or by crook, to live a flamboyant life and to prepare for 2023 election in which many of them are nursing ambition. Because there is little money to steal from the local government treasury, the officials and local politicians with connivance of traditional institutions resorted to logging, illegal allocation of lands and forest reserves and other sharp practices. The legacies that stood the test of time are being destroyed by these local politicians.

Nobody will think that after many actions taken by Governor Bala Mohammad against the then caretaker chairmen of Ningi, Darazo and Misau as well as some traditional rulers on their involvement in deforestation and farmers and herders clashes, there will be any local government official or traditional ruler that will support or take part in these nefarious activities. But the crop leaders and politicians we have at the local governments are doing more atrocities to the reserves and the environment and fueling more ill feeling and chaos among farmers and herders.

Most government officials and local politicians don’t share the vision of the present administration in protecting the environment and preventing farmers and herders clashes and it is clear the warnings and policy pronouncements by Governor Bala Mohammad are falling into their deaf ears.

When I heard the Chairman of the State Independent Electoral Commission saying another local government election will take place in Bauchi State next year, my heart sank. With the massive urge for corruption and desire to destroy legacies bequeathed to local governments including forest reserves, lands and properties with impunity and audacity by local government officials, local politicians and bureaucracies of traditional institutions in Ningi and other local governments, I have the opinion that we don’t need any local government election in Bauchi State. Local politics in many local governments is about allocation of land and deforestation. This trend if left unchecked, will worsen security, social and environmental problems in the State.

The AIG Sani Muhammad led White Paper implementation Committee has a lot of work to in investigating the institutionalized destruction of forest reserves in the State. Many big names in local governments are involved. The magnitude of the negative effects of these activities should be great thing of concern for any patriotic son of the State. Thus they should spare no one in their task.

I am also of the view that after punishing all people found wanting in these atrocities against the State, Government should come up with workable policy about all forest reserves in the State with a view to protecting and strengthening them for optimal benefits of the State.

Abdul Burrs is the media Aid to Bauchi speaker.

Features

Adieu Dr. Kurami – Adamu S. Ladan

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Late Dr Kurami

 

Adamu S Ladan

Innalillahi wa inna illahirraji’un. Allah SWT says “Every soul shall taste death, and only on the Day of Judgment will you be paid your full recompense.” At another place, the Quran urges mankind: “And die not except in a state of Islam” (3:102).
Althou¹gh often forgotten about or guiltily pushed away from our thoughts, the fact remains that this world is but temporal. Death is the only thing certain for us all, and is the only thing truly guaranteed in this life.

But Islam teaches us not to fear death, and to embrace our fate with the next world. While it is easy to fear the pain of death or the unknown, it is in fact our lives here on earth today that we must fear the most. For those who truly believe in Allah, death is a welcome passage.

To this end Allah commands us to prepare for the death specially in order not regret when the ultimate time comes. ‘And spend [in the way of Allah ] from what We have provided you before death approaches one of you and he says, ‘My Lord, if only You would delay me for a brief term so I would give charity and be among the righteous’. But never will Allah delay a soul when its time has come. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.” (Quran, 63:10-11)
The Quran reminds us time and time again to never take this life for granted – and to never overestimate how long we have on this earth. We must continously strive towards becoming better Muslims, lest we regret it when it is too late.
“Indeed, Allah [alone] has knowledge of the Hour and sends down the rain and knows what is in the wombs. And no soul perceives what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul perceives in what land it will die. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (Quran, 31:34)

To truly understand tawheed, the Oneness of Allah, will be a lifelong journey – and this verse is a powerful reminder of how much at mercy we are with Allah. None of us can know when our time with death has come, and we must truly believe, accept, and embrace whatever Allah has Planned for us.

When their specified time arrives, they cannot delay it for a single hour nor can they bring it forward.” (Quran, 16:61)

Here again, we are reminded of our fate with death – none of us can change it. As much as we like to believe we are in control of our lives – even our health, we must submit to Allah’s Will at all times and accept death as a blessing and a preordained end to our life here on earth.

We are this Monday 9th October, 2022 awakened by the shocking news of the death of our dear friend, Hon. Dr. Ibrahim Aminu Kurami, Member representing Bakori at Katsina state House of Assembly. When
we heard that he was no more we were shocked and saddened. Death has taken away a genuinely warm individual, more importantly a loving husband and father and deprived so many others, including us all, of a good friend. Neither of us have the inkling that the end was near when we spoke last Thursday night hoping to see next day. Seen that never be.
While we mourn the loss of a friend we pay tribute and celebrate a life that was
well lived. A life committed to the cause of his own people and the country at large.
A Vet. Doctor Kurami as popularly known was an epitaph of true love for peace, Concord and harmony. Not many leave behind a legacy of such dedication and accomplishment as did Dr.Kurami.
According to a family source, Kurami died after a brief illness in Madinah, Saudi Arabia at around 2:00 am Nigerian time after he had gone to perform a lesser Hajj otherwise called Umrah.

The deceased left behind two wives, 11 children, and three grandchildren.

Kurami was elected into the Katsina State House of Assembly under the All Progressives Congress (APC) in a by-election conducted on Saturday, October 31st, 2020 following the death of his predecessor

He was professional to the core in all issues he came to deal with. He had served the state ministry of agriculture before venturing into politics in 2003. As accomplished vet doctor with successful poultry business, Kurami was at hand helping poultry and other livestock farmers whenever the occasion arose.
A true representative, the deceased was always at hand demonstrating uncommon dedication to deal with issues regarding his constituency and his legislative duties.
Although his stint at the House of Assembly was not too long, he has left a lasting impression in the minds of his acquaintances at the house. Colleagues whom I met with at his Kurami country home Monday morning to consoled with the family members described him as an affable, cooperative, helpful and dedicated member. Despite his established
background and position, Kurami was a modest man; a real gentleman, not reluctant to organize and execute his own responsibilities.
He faced a challenge to his life with great courage. This was seen when he suffered intractable banditry instances affecting himself, his immediate family and members of his extended family all within a short span of time. others in his circumstance would have given up. But Kurami fought till the last. His
determination to carry on despite trying personal circumstances demonstrated his
commitment to duties and responsibilities. In his own quiet and calm manner, he showed how to work through challenging times and to carry everyone along.
Life can be fleeting. But a life lived to the fullest stays in fond memories. Kurami
through his decorum and grace endeared himself to many.

This is particularly a difficult and painful time for his family and us as friends. In extending my sincere heartfelt condolences, I pray Almighty Allah to give us all the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss. It is also my Prayer that may Allah repose his soul in jannnatul fiddaus. As Allah says:

“O soul that are at rest! Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with him), well-pleasing (Him), So enter among My servants, And enter into My garden.” (Quran, 89:27-30)

Finally, to us left behind, it’s instructive to know that despite our innate fears around death, we must be assured that to embrace death is perhaps the only true comfort we have in this world – we are finally returing to Allah and inshallah, will be blessed with His Glad-Tidings. All we can do is pray for the strength to welcome our death as the last of Allah’s blessings here on earth.

Adamu Ladan is a veteran Journalist,wrote this from Kano

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Features

Kano City Wall Under Threat:Who Will Save Our Heritage

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Kabiru Haruna Isa

“Heritage is our collective treasure, given to us and ours to bequeath to our children”. Margaret MacMillan

History is made by both great and ordinary people in the society. The ordinary people can transform and propel themselves into the position of greatness by doing ordinary thing in a great way. The cultural heritage in form of monuments, relics, artefacts and paintings were mostly constructed and produced by the labour of ordinary people often based on the directive/guidance of leaders of the society. Each society has a number of structures that it identifies and reveres as its heritage which are bequeathed from one generation to another. These monuments and structures connect current generations with their ancestors. They help reenact the past and instill the sense of pride, glory and dignity. Heritage and monuments have power to make impact on the economies and revenue generations of many
countries. Therefore, heritage can be seen as an economic unit or firm that provides certain
services to visitors in return for payment. Substantial amount of money is spent when
visiting monuments both in terms of entry fees to museums, shops and restaurants’ bills, as well as other logistics – hotel/guest house. The visitors have strong effects on local economies.

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The importance of heritage makes advanced countries and civilizations to jealously preserve and conserve them for the younger generations to appreciate and learn from them. Canada, as one of the most civilized and developed countries in the world, established a Department of Canadian Heritage in 1993 ostensibly to promote and support national identity and values, cultural development and heritage. This should serve as a lesson to less technologically advanced societies in Africa and other parts of the globe.

Kano is an ancient city, whose tangible and intangible history attracts attention of researchers and scholars both within and without Africa to investigate and reconstruct its fascinating past. One of the material and tangible histories of Kano is the ganuwa (the city-wall), which encircled, fortified, enclosed, beautified and decorated ancient human settlements including the historic Gidan Rumfa (Emir’s Palace). According to many historical sources, the construction of the city-wall started in the 12th century during the reign of Sarki Gijimasu (c. 1095 -1134) and continued in the subsequent centuries up to the completion level. The wall served as a defensive mechanism and fortification to the city and its growing population, burgeoning economy and culture. It has more than a dozen gates and is about 24 kilometres long, 40 feet wide and at the base, and 30 to 50 feet high. The wall had been in existence for over 800 years and the successive leaders, both traditional and political, helped in its preservation and conservation because, to use Macmillan words, it is our collective treasure given to us and ours to bequeath to the generations yet unborn. But alas, the wall is now facing extinction in the 21st century due to illegal encroachment, mind-boggling plundering and atrocious destruction.

As a student of history and patriotic son of Kano, I have a responsibility to remind my fellow citizens, especially those who are accomplices, as the constructors of the wall made good history, which makes us to celebrate them, they are conversely making another history of destroying and expropriating our collective heritage.

The city wall symbolizes our identity, cultural artefact, civilization and material history, which earns our society’s respect. The wall, coupled with other historic sites, attract tourists from different continents who patronize local economy and entrepreneurs in our various markets such as Kurmi, Kwari, Sabon Gari and the likes. The existence of the wall gives protection to polluted, yet environmentally functional, ponds, which recharge city’s table water and aquifers and contribute in averting water scarcity. In recent years, Kano city has been experiencing unprecedented floods occasioned mostly by the destruction of the wall and conversion of ponds into settlements. In addition, the destruction and conversion of the wall into commercial plots deprive the city of its open space, which serves as a place for recreation and sports to ever exploding youth population.

At this juncture, I will conclude with a submission that our traditional rulers, whose ancestors built the wall, Kano elders, environmentalists/environmental activists, UNESCO, National Commission for Museums and Monuments and intellectuals have significant role to play in saving the monument from the ‘spectacular demolition’ and imminent extinction.

Finally, I exhort the authority concerned to immediately stop the ongoing destruction of the wall in order to preserve our history and identity and, more importantly, to protect our settlements from seasonal flood. I will close with the words of wisdom of Wendell Phillips, “the heritage of the past is the seed that brings forth the harvest of the future”.

Kabiru writes from the Department of History, Bayero University Kano

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Features

MI did a lot to lift up my career – KidoBlanko

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From Muazzam Musa

 

Jason Ufouma Igho a.k.a KidoBlanko is one of the upcoming artists making waves in the Nigerian music industry. The 27 year old Plateau born musician has been regarded as a ‘Hot’ star sort by many music fans. The upcoming singer who is currently making waves in the music industry has been tagged as ‘The bright star’ in the entertainment industry said Nigerian rap King MI did a lot to lift his career as a musician..

 

The young artist who started music at the age of 15; was born 1995 into a family of entertainers. He is a graduate of University of Abuja Gwarinpa where he studied entrepreneur management. In search of greener pasture, the young artist relocated to Lagos state where he successfully had a duet with various prominent musicians.

 

In a recent interview with the media, KidoBlanko revealed how he was assisted by Mr MI Abaga. He said his happiest moment is attached to a gesture done to him by the rapper.

 

“My happiest moment was the day Mr MI recorded my first official video and the way he treated me just like his own blood brother. The irony was that he did that for free and everything was just perfect, I can’t forget that day in my life,” he said.

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