The Hausa-Fulani Catholics, popularly known as Maguzawa/Masihiyawa, with Centre for Poverty Reduction (CAPOR NGO) on  7 April at  St Vincent Ferrer (GidanFada), Malumfashi, Katsina State, organised a summit for  Christian youths from Funtua, Bakori, Danja, Malumfashi, Kankara, Kafur and Musawa areas of the state.

The summit began with a Mass celebrated by V. Rev. Frs J.C. Atado and HabilaSamaila.

The guest speaker, Dr Osewe Akubor of the ObafemiAwolowo University, Ile-Ife, in a paper titled “Northern Marginalised and Liberation Struggle: The Catholic Centre for Poverty Reduction and Maguzawa/Maguzawa Example,” said that Christians in the North “are groaning under various forms of persecution exerted by their fellow Hausa brothers and sisters.”

Dr Akubor thus encouraged the Maguzawa/Masihiyawa youths and elders not to be deterred by what seems to be the increasing level of marginalisation and desperation to kill their faith and the quest for survival.

According to the speaker, the popular story of marginalisation in Nigeria was  how the supposed powerful Hausa-Fulani of northern Nigeria lorded it over people of southern Nigeria perceived to be Christian-dominated.

“In this way the marginalisation story is told in term of these supposed powerful northern oligarchy and their allies denying those of the southern Nigeria origin of juicy appointments and resources,” he said.

But unknown to many, there are groups within the northern region who are being marginalised and discriminated against, the lecturer added.

He recounted the ordeals of the Maguzaws/Masihiyawa group of northern Nigeria who speak Hausa or Fulani or both, but are discriminated against and marginalised on the basis of religion.   

He explained that the problem of Nigeria started with the politics of “WE against THEM,” and has remains the architect of the present predicament we find ourselves in Nigeria. This, according to him, is because the politics of number is a matter of the more we are, the more our power to dominate and at the end conquer. It is therefore not surprising, he said, that at various times in the history of Nigeria, there has always been the controversy of which religious population dominates the other. “While one would argue that some of the statements were made not in the reflection of modern Nigeria, but these same utterances must have gingered some feelings of not being one (this is reflected in the view of the late maximum ruler of Libya, Ghaddafi, who argued that for peace to reign in Nigeria, the country be divided into two – Christian-South and Muslim-North,” said the lecturer.

“This was to start rearing its ugly head from between the early 1980 and the late 2000, with the emergence of groups directly opposed to anything western as well as calling for the return of the region to the system as established by the teachings of the Holy Prophet.”

The scholar said that it was the threat posed by such statements as the above and in some cases the outright denial of the existence of Hausa-Fulani Christians, marginalisation and intimidation that led Christians to establish the Hausa-Fulani origin  of Jam’iyarMasihiyawa a Nijeriya(Association of Followers of the Messiah in Nigeria). The body is to protect their interests and affirm their presence.

There is also TAMANI, the acronym for TarayyarMasihiyawa a Nijeriya (Fellowship of Followers of the Messiah in Nigeria), whose purposes include evangelism of core-North indigenes by their fellow indigenes and spreading information about these core-northern Christians so that their existence and their numbers are recognised.

Dr Akubor condemned the situation in which the people were denied the right to freely worship, build churches and have other basic amenities.

He particularly thanked The Catholic Center for Poverty Reduction and the founder, Rev. Fr Yohanna Sigo, for coming to the rescue of Catholic Christians in Katsina, Sokoto and Gusau towns.

Present at the summit were Dr Mika Haruna, head of Agronomy department, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, who also talked on “Maguzawa Youth: We are ready for the Task.”


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