Southern Kaduna Killings, Genocide Not Politics —SOKAPU
John Alechenu, Godwin Isenyo and James Abraham
The Middle Belt Forum, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union and the Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria on Wednesday advised the Presidency to stop twisting facts on the Southern Kaduna killings.
The groups made the call in their separate reactions to a statement issued on Tuesday by the Presidency on the killings in Southern Kaduna.
They said there was no deployment of troops in Southern Kaduna contrary to what the Presidency said.
Also reacting to the statement, the Northern Elders’ Forum urged the Federal Government and other stakeholders to stop what it called blame game in addressing the Southern Kaduna killings.
But the Kaduna State chapter of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria said the Presidency was saying the truth.
There have increasing attacks by gunmen on Southern Kaduna in recent times. On Sunday night, 21 people were killed when gunmen attacked Kukum Daji village in the Kaura Local Government of Kaduna State.
On Monday, some gunmen attacked Gora Gan village in the Zango-Kataf Local Government Area of the state and killed 10 people including the village head.
The President’s Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement titled, ‘Revenge killings worsening security problems in Southern Kaduna –Presidency,’ on Tuesday said, “From available security records, the problem in Southern Kaduna is an evil combination of politically-motivated banditry, revenge killings and mutual violence by criminal gangs acting on ethnic and religious grounds.
“It is a situation in which one criminal group will kill a member of another criminal group out of ethnic and religious motivations which in turn leads to the eruption of revenge and counter-revenge, thereby making the job of the security personnel deployed to protect lives more difficult.”
But the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union said the Presidency’s reaction to the killings of its members was nothing but a deliberate plot to justify the genocide in the southern part of the state.
The National Public Relations Officer, Luka Binniyat, who spoke with one of our correspondents, said, “The Presidency’s comment is a deliberate twist of facts on the killings in Southern Kaduna.”
“We don’t have anything like the presence of the Army and the Air Force as he (Shehu Garba) mentioned. It is not true at all.
“If the Presidency said criminal gangs are hiding under politics and religion, then, let them arrest the criminal gangs. But you find out that the criminals are walking on the streets while our leaders are being detained. As far as we are concerned, the Southern Kaduna people are victims of genocide.”
Don’t twist facts, Kaduna CAN replies Presidency
Also, the Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria cautioned the Presidency against unguarded utterances capable of worsening the persistent killings in Southern Kaduna.
CAN faulted the Presidency and cautioned it against resorting to “twisting facts” on the unending killings in the southern part of the state.
According to the state chairman of CAN, Rev. John Hayab, the Presidency’s statement is not only unfortunate but also provocative.
The association said these in a statement titled: ‘CAN to FG: Twisting Facts about the Crises in Kaduna State is Not the Way Out.’
The group stated that there had been reports of killings, especially in the southern part of Kaduna State.
It stated, “Instead of the Buhari- led Federal Government of Nigeria stepping in to find a lasting solution, it is unfortunate that it has resorted to twisting the truths.
“One of the twists is the provocative claims credited to the Senior Special Assistant (Media & Publicity) to the President of Nigeria on the 21st July, 2020 that the problem in Southern Kaduna is an evil combination of politically-motivated banditry, revenge killings and mutual violence by criminal gangs acting on ethnic and religious grounds.”
“As if the above misconception is not enough, Shehu Garba further misinforms the Nigerian and the international community that ‘Southern Kaduna enjoys comprehensive security deployments, including the Army, Special Forces of both the Army and the Air Force, surveillance aircraft by the Air Force and mobile police units that are on the ground on a 24-hour basis to forestall criminality and keep the peace.’
“Were it to be true that the southern part of Kaduna enjoys security surveillance as claimed by Mallam Garba Shehu, where were the security personnel when people were attacked in Atyap and Chawai Chiefdoms during the state imposed curfew and the fresh attacks at Kukum Daji in Kagoro Chiefdom as well as at Gora Gan in Atyap Chiefdom?
It’s genocide by Fulani, not politically motivated – M’Belt Forum
Also, the Middle Belt Forum’s National President of the Middle Belt Forum,Dr Bitrus Porgu, in i an interview with one of our correspondents in Jos, said what was happening in Southern Kaduna was genocide against the people by the Fulani ethnic militias.
Porgu said “If the killings were politically motivated, let him (the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) name the politicians fuelling the killings in Southern Kaduna. As the Chief Security Officer of the country and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. What stops him from going after those politicians?
“Besides, if it is a revenge killing, then who is revenging what? The Southern Kaduna natives are always on the receiving end. They are attacked unprovoked and these attacks have continued unabated. Remember what the Miyetti Allah Association used to say; that their cattle were rustled in the past and they used it as an excuse to kill our people. But now, no cattle are being rustled and yet, the people are killed on a daily basis.”
Blame game won’t end Southern Kaduna killings – NEF
But the Secretary General of NEF, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said playing the blame game at this point in the Southern Kaduna conflict would be unhelpful.
Baba-Ahmed, who responded to questions by The PUNCH’s enquiries via email, said, “The situation in Kaduna State needs an urgent and serious attention. Its roots are deep and complex, but they can be contained with appropriate levels of political will and actual action.
“Between the federal and state governments, community leaders and representatives of groups should be encouraged to engage in genuine and productive discussions to stop the killings.
“Only communities can do this with urgency and certainty in mind. Police and the military may help, but they will take too long, and do not understand the terrain and the nature of the conflict.
“Time is of the essence here. There is a lot of anger that can escalate into more violence. Solutions, if they can be found, must be local.”
Killings part of revenge – Kaduna Miyetti Allah
But the Kaduna State chapter of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, said the Presidency was not far from the truth.
The Director of Media and Publicity of MACBN, Ibrahim Bayero-Zango, said the Presidency was on point for saying that the Southern Kaduna killings were all parts of revenge.
The MACBN spokesman insisted that the renewed killings in the southern were all about revenge following the killings by the Kataf people of the trans-human Fulani(non-indigenous Fulani) that passed through the southern route for grazing.
He said those of them that were indigenous Fulani from the Southern part of the state had no problem because “even if we fight, we can always reconcile.”
Bayero-Zango said, “The Presidency has said it the way it is because the Kataf people alleged that one of their owns was killed, that is why they ventured into killing Fulani. Unfortunately for them, we the indigenous Fulani from Southern Kaduna didn’t react.”