THE SOUTHERN KADUNA CASUALTY FIGURES ARE ADDING UP: WHO WILL DENY THEM AGAIN? By Benjamin Bala

The systematic genocidal killings in Southern Kaduna (SK) are still going on unabated. The “Asso 12” killed on Easter Vigil (Saturday, 15.04.2017) are the latest. There was apparently no visible Government representation to mourn the avoidable losses, offer condolences to the bereaved and show concern to the wounded during the mass burial of the “Asso 12”. The church is the one burying her members, consoling the bereaved and bandaging the wounded. With the burial of these 12, the figures are adding up. Now, when the church comes up with the casualty figure, will the Kaduna State Government, or the Inspector General of Police or the Minister of Interior deny it again? Will shame allow them? Look at how uncalculated such responses were in trying to counter figures from a credible apolitical institution, the Church, whose main mission is the salvation of souls, and who is always there for the people in their joys, pains and sorrows.

Many questions roam the mind. How did Nigeria get to this point that human lives do not get the deserved protection? How did Nigeria depreciate to this level of woeful failure by government in her very primary responsibility of protecting human lives and property? How did Nigeria get to the point that when killings of human beings are going on, leaders choose to look elsewhere? Isn’t it ironical that the Nigerian government works so hard to protect the value of the country’s currency in the international market while not working hard enough to protect human lives in the country?

Yes, Laudable is the fight against corruption. One sees how swift anti corruption security units move at the sound of a whistle about hidden monies. Funny enough, by comparison, even one third of such speed is not applied at wailing whistles during attacks on human lives. See how quick and regular a Minister of Information communicates information about news of financial loots while keeping almost locked lips over genocidal activities going on in SK and the Middle Belt region especially. Which is the worst form of corruption here – stealing of money or destruction of human lives? Look at the strength of force applied to stop cattle rustling in some parts of the North including Kaduna State whereas same is not applied to stop the killings in SK. Is something not wrong with government’s sense of priority in such a nation? What a shame!

How come the Nigerian government mourns with and sends messages of condolence and condemnations when attacks occur in far away countries like America, France, Germany, UK, etc., but never does same back home? Is our government telling the world that the lives of Nigerians are less valuable compared to the lives of others? Is this not pure hypocrisy? Could these countries not be laughing at Nigeria? What a shame!

How would the Nigerian government, State and Federal, defend themselves against the accusation of conspiracy and partisanship in the events going on in SK? (cf. https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2017/01/nigerian-human-rights-commission-calls-on-president-to-stop-callous-kaduna-killings/. Accessed,  27.04.2017). The Defense Head Quarter in the Nation’s capital, Abuja, is just about 2hrs drive away from SK. Yet its impact has not been felt all this while. Only on few occasions have security personnel been able to confront the aggressors in SK. In most cases, they are just never there. In other instances like in Godogodo and Pasakori, where the people lamented that they stood aloof, merely supervising the killings but turned out to stop native youths who mobilised to repel the attackers (cf. https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2017/01/nigerian-human-rights-commission-calls-on-president-to-stop-callous-kaduna-killings/. Accessed, 27.04.2017). What a shame!

Yet, in the face of government’s apparent failure to stop the killings or to respond promptly when attacks occur, the State Government warns that the people must never talk of defending themselves since there is a government. Meaning that the people must do nothing to stop the attackers from killing them or they should willingly submit their lives, land and property to the attackers. One wonders, if this is not deliberately intended to debilitate the people to be easily overrun by the aggressors. Never in the history of the world has this barbarity been witnessed in an age of civilisation. Is the same government not firing gunshots on her claimed credibility of fairness and uprightness in administration? What a shame!

Interestingly, even nature has endowed all created beings, including humanity, with the natural capacity for self survival when faced with the danger of death. And this is simply what self-defense means. For instance, a scorpion stings when its life is threatened, a snake or a dog bites when its life is threatened, the mother hen repels any danger to her life or her chicks. Similarly, a man who discovers a deadly snake in his room or yard takes the necessary action to stop it from inflicting harm on him or his family. These responses are naturally approved by the authority of nature which is greater than any other authority. This is what self-defense stands for. However, since it involves human life, natural reason and divine law comes in to set the conditions for a proportionate defense. That is why, different religions and legislations have their laws guiding the defense. Consequently, a people set to defend themselves must do so according to “the rules of engagement”. A government, warning her people on embarking on self defense, therefore, needs to check its books again. Such warning could have the direct interpretation of the deliberate handcuffing of the victims of attack for the aggressors to feast on.

Surprisingly, the government that should protect her citizens spends a lot of energy, time and state resources in what many perceive as a media propaganda which in their perception is an attempt to distort the narrative. Many think that if only half of such amount of energy, time and state resources had been applied into stopping the killings, the situation would have been a lot better. One wonders if this is the kind of history those in government have chosen to write on the pages of the history books of posterity.

Now that “Operation Harbin Kunama” (Scorpion Sting) is on, the people are hopeful that the soldiers will enter the bushes and comb the aggressors from their hideouts so that they can access their lands for farming as the rainy season sets in. It is hoped that their mandate includes disarming the Fulani herdsmen seen on the roads with AK47 rifles and other kinds of deadly weapons and make SK really safe again. It is hoped that the mandate of the soldiers include driving the aggressors out of the lands they have raided and taken over by the power of their arms and resettling the displaced natives back to their original villages.

By Benjamin Bala

God bless Nigeria.

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