By Ralph Madugu
The Committee on the Review and Implementation of Reports of the Justice Babalakin, Shehu Awak and Justice Bala Umar on the creation of Sayawa Chiefdom has submitted its report to the Bauchi State Government with a recommendation for the establishment of a Reconciliation Committee to comprise of neutral persons with proven integrity to reconcile aggrieved parties in the area.
Submitting the report to Gov. Bala Mohammed at the Government House in Bauchi, the Committee Chairman, Amb. Jibrin Chinade also recommended the granting of amnesty to persons indicted in the previous reports whom, according to him, were recommended for investigation and subsequent prosecution, if found culpable.
It would be recalled that the Bauchi State Government on December 17, 2021 inaugurated a Committee on the review and implementation of Reports of Justice Babalakin, Shehu Awak and Justice Bala Umar on the creation of Sayawa Chiefdom.
The setting up of the Committee was informed by the Bauchi State Government’s desire to find lasting solution to the lingering problem of creation of Sayawa Chiefdom and the need to bring peace to Bogoro and Tafawa Balewa local government areas.
To address the problem once and for all, the Bala Mohammed administration constituted a Committee comprising of statesmen, technocrats, businessmen, politicians, religious and community leaders, members of the academia and other relevant stakeholders to resolve the issue of Sayawa Chiefdom as recommended by Justice Babalakin, Shehu Awak and Justice Bala Umar Committees and the enabling Law on the creation of the Chiefdom; establish the demarcation, allocation of capital and the modalities for the appointment of the Chief, his Class and Title, discuss and resolve all agitations within the Chiefdom including resettlement of those driven out of Tafawa Balewa Town at Burgel Junction.
Other terms of reference of the Committee were to recommend legal modalities of establishing the chiefdom if necessary and report on any matter incidental to the assignment. The Committee was given six-weeks within which to complete its assignment and submit report its report.
In his remarks the Committee Chairman explained that in the course of its assignment, the Committee studied the reports of Justice Babalakin, Shehu Awak and Justice Bala Umar.
He added that the report of General Ibrahim Sabo’s Committee based on which a bill was presented to the State House of Assembly in 2011 to enact a law for the creation of the Sayawa Chiefdom was also reviewed.
He said: “The 2011 law which was amended in 2014 was also considered by the Committee. Sub-Committees were appointed to further study the reports of Justice Babalakin, Shehu Awak and Justice Bala Umar and make recommendations based on the terms of reference for consideration at the plenary.
“The reports of the Sub-Committees were extensively deliberated and debated upon by the main Committee, after which a technical Sub-Committee was appointed to harmonize them and produce a draft report. The draft report produced by the technical Sub-Committee was also deliberated upon by the main Committee before arriving at a final report which is now being submitted to the Government.”
On some of the recommendation made by the Committee, the Chairman said “The Committee recommended that the proposed Sayawa Chiefdom should comprise the whole of Bogoro Local Government area with proviso that non Sayawa within the Local Government 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 is recommended that areas in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area which are predominately occupied by the Sayawa should form part of the Sayawa Chiefdom. However, referendum should be conducted in other areas of Tafawa Balewa Local Government who are not predominately Sayawa to decide whether or not they want to be part of the Sayawa Chiefdom.
“The Committee has recommended how the State Government would identify where the headquarters of the proposed Sayawa Chiefdom should be located;
“Recommendations have been made on the eligibility of persons to be appointed as Chief for the proposed Sayawa chiefdom, process of selection of the pioneer and subsequent chiefs for the Chiefdom and composition of Sayawa Chiefdom Traditional Council.
“Appropriate recommendation has 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.”
Receiving the reports, Gov. Bala Mohammed recalled that the failure of the attempts by the previous administrations in the state to create Sayawa Chiefdom and bring lasting solutions and peace to Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro prompted the setting up of the committee to investigate the lingering problems further.
“I am confident that the Committee’s report would assist my administration in finding a solution to the challenges on the creation of Sayawa chiefdom once and for all.
The governor assured the committee and the people of the state that the report would be carefully studied to enable the government implement the recommendations.
Checks by this magazine reveals that since 1991, successive administrations in the State had made efforts to address the problem without success.