By Nasiru Jagaba
A Reply to Presidency’s position on Worsening Insecurity in Southern Kaduna
The article written by the Presidency on the security challenges in Southern Kaduna that was published on the 21 July, 2020 by the Leadership Newspaper is not just unfortunate but unkind, unfair and far from the truth. This clearly shows the very reason killings have continued in Southern Kaduna with unrestrained fury by terrorists disguised as herdsmen.
Government’s attitude to the incessant killings in the region and its most recent article gives more credence to why no right-thinking individual should trust any information from the same government on the unfortunate situation that, we, as a people are faced with. The facts on the various attacks in Southern Kaduna particularly, victims of these terrorist activities by Fulani Militia are all in the public domain for, these are facts that are not for people with biased mindsets.
When we cried out to the world for help to prevent the ethnic cleansing that was and is still the aim of our attackers, the governor of our state Mallam Nasiru El’rufai changed the narrative to be a farmers/herders clash, and later it became a case of a reprisal over the 2015 post election crisis. If the governor whose first responsible is the protection of lives and properties as the Chief Security Officer of our dear state could give, these narratives that somewhat tends to justify the killings, then it is not surprised that the presidency today sees and defines these killings as clashes between different terrorist groups. We feel insulted, unfairly treated and rejected by the government that we put our hope on. There is no justification for the killing of any citizen by criminals irrespective of his religion, region and ethnicity.
According to Garba Shehu, “From available records … 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.”
These records are not close to the reality, the Southern Kaduna Communities have enjoyed more check points mounted on highways than what was described by Mallam Shehu. A sound of an aircraft is like a notification for a pending attack to the people of Southern Kaduna because of past experiences. It was alleged that the aircrafts were used to supply guns and ammunitions to hired mercenaries that are hidden in the bushes and mountains at late hour of the night.
Because of this believe, each time the locals hear the sound of a helicopter at night, it serves as a signal that sorrow would not be far from them. Any right-thinking individual will expect that the government will work on alleviating the sufferings of an already traumatised people and regaining their trust rather than make utterances or publish articles that further makes an already bad situation worst.
It is on record that there has never been a time that security personnel interventions were timely enough to arrest the Fulani militia during any attack, rather, the securities will always arrive the scene when the evil act have been perpetrated. How can it be explained that Zangon Kataf that has been under curfew for months with ‘comprehensive security presence’ has suffered several worse attacks during the curfew than the attack that necessitated the curfew being imposed.
If one is to go by the description of the security mercenaries deployed to Southern Kaduna by Mallam Garba Shehu then, one is forced to ask how these attacks were carried out successfully. Two things that comes to mind is either the security set up as described by Shehu is not true or, security personnel and the attackers are responsible for the destruction of lives and properties?
Another part of the statement reads: “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.”
This is sad because recently, the over 15 people that were killed and about 30 people injured in Kukum Daji, Kaura LGA of Kaduna State includes women and children, a trend seen in the different attacks across different communities in southern Kaduna. Are we to agree with Shehu that the women and children who were killed are criminals who only repay their criminality to a rival criminal gang? What sort of insensitivity is this?
Can you listen to yourself again? Is this the much the President Muhammadu Buhari presidency has for us the people he ought to protect? This is unacceptable, and we are forced to completely lose confidence and are also tempted to see the presidency as part of our problem.
The true picture is simply this, there have been incessant killings in our region and as we mourn our loved ones, we cannot sleep at night because of unabated attacks by Fulani Militia groups on our villages.
These groups kill those they can find, burn down houses, steal our properties, and walk away without timely security intervention. We will take it simply that President Muhammadu Buhari through Mallam Garba Shehu, his spoke person has called the entire victims of Southern Kaduna attack a criminal group who are suffering the revenge over the criminality that they have supposedly done against the criminal Fulani Militia group.
We will take it that President Muhammadu Buhari has just called all our mothers, Sister, grandmothers, great grandmothers that were raped and eventually killed and all our fathers, grandfathers, brothers and even infants that were killed by this Fulani Militia group criminals who were only victims of their supposedly criminal activities. There can never be justifications for any citizen to be killed by a criminal.
Now we know what the President and the Presidency think of us; now we know why we are continually been killed without any empathy and the government carefree attitude toward us. Now we can believe the alleged government complicity on the ongoing genocide in Southern Kaduna and Middle Belt Communities. Now we can clearly see why Miyetti Allah will claim responsibility to several attacks and are not arrested, instead, get compensated with huge amounts of money.
We can now understand why the government is twisting the narrative of the genocide in Southern Kaduna and Middle Belt communities to herder/farmer crisis while the attacks in Birnin Gwari, Zamfara, Sokoto are called banditry or terrorism.
Nasir Jagaba, is former Youth Leader Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKOPU