The Christian Association of Nigeria on Tuesday warned that self-help might be the alternative should the government fail to put a stop to the killing of Christians in Southern Kaduna.
The President of CAN, Samson Ayokunle, said this in a statement by his Special Assistant (Media and Communications, Adebayo Oladeji, titled, ‘CAN calls for genuine intervention in the continuous murder in Southern Kaduna and other states in the North.’
He said, “There is no doubt that the victims of these incessant assaults are indigenes of Kaduna State who are mostly Christians. Why is it the predominant Christian Southern Kaduna all the time? Don’t we have Northern Kaduna?
“We have no other people to look up to for security than those of you in government. That was one of the reasons we put you there for all of us.
“People should not be allowed to resort to self- help, but if this situation is not addressed, self- help might be the alternative because nobody would keep on watching for these nuisances to continue to be on the prowl and snuff life out of him or her.”
According to him, despite assurances from the state Governor, Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, to bring perpetrators of the Southern Kaduna crimes to justice, “the state and security agencies involved in the maintenance of law and order have yet to fulfil their pledge.
He also said the government must redeem its image by addressing the constant murders and ethnic wars going on in Taraba State, the constant herdsmen’s attacks on people of Benue State and the senseless banditry in the North-West.
The CAN president also expressed dismay over a statement by the Presidency, which described the bloodshed in Southern Kaduna as politically motivated.
Kaduna bandits dare authorities, release video of stolen cows
Meanwhile, a video of gun-toting bandits, who claim to be operating from Birnin Gwari forest in Kaduna State, has surfaced online.
In the less than three-minute long video twitted by a twitter user, Joel Amadi with twitter handle @ joeelkennis with hashtags: #peaceinsouthernkaduna, #stopthekillingsinsouthernkaduna, on Monday, June 27, the all-male gang of bandits, some of whom were less than 10 years old, were seen displaying assorted weapons, including AK47 assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades, while smoking and chatting loudly in a forest like area with a number of cows in the background.
A young man probably in his late 20s or early 30s, probably the leader of the gang, could be heard boasting about their capabilities against security personnel deployed in the area.
The gang leader, who spoke in Hausa while pointing to some of the boys holding assault rifles, said, “You see, they are afraid of these small boys. They drove them here because they are angry.
“We are honest. We don’t cheat people. See this one (pointing to a rocket-propelled grenade) with a long nose, praise be to Allah.
“We are not bandits. Anyone who calls us bandits, Allah will punish. We are followers of Allah and his messenger. In this life, we use guns to work for Allah. We don’t know what will happen in the afterlife.
“The government is using lies; we depend on Allah. We are not infidels; we are believers and Allah protects us.”
But the Christian elders, under the aegis of the Northern States Christian Elders Forum, called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to sack service chiefs.
This was contained in a statement titled, ‘Northern States Christian Elders Forum on the mass killings and attacks on Southern Kaduna’, signed by NOSCEF’s Chairman, Ejoga Inalegwu in Kaduna on Tuesday.
Also, the Southern Kaduna Elders Consultative Forum asked the President to urgently intervene to halt suspected herdsmen’s killings of their kinsmen in the southern part of the state.
The forum’s Secretary, Peter Buba, in a statement in Kaduna on Tuesday, said suspected herdsmen attack on Southern Kaduna communities under a 24-hour curfew should be considered as an embarrassment to the state government.
We‘re committed to peace in Southern Kaduna – El Rufai
Meanwhile, the state governor and security chiefs met on Tuesday over the killings by suspected Fulani herdsmen in southern part of the state.
Four local government areas of Zango-Kataf, Kaura, Kauru and Jema’a in Southern Kaduna are under a 24-hour curfew following the suspected Fulani herdsmen’s attacks on communities in the area.
In his address, El-Rufai said he was committed to peace and stability in southern part of the state, saying that his administration had done everything within its constitutional powers to bring peace to the troubled Southern Kaduna.
He said, “We answered the decades old demand for a permanent military base by working with the Federal Government to deploy a forward operating base of the Nigerian Army in Kafanchan.”
Meanwhile, the Commander of Operation Safe Haven, Major General. Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, said that contrary to claims in some quarters, criminal elements on both sides were responsible for the killings in Southern Kaduna and not ethnic cleansing.
Okonkwo, who briefed journalists shortly after the security meeting, said, “What we have were attacks on some communities and reprisals.”