Worried by incessant attacks that have claimed many lives and displaced thousands of rural dwellers, communities in Southern Kaduna at the weekend met with Fulani herdsmen toward halting the trend.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the meeting, convened by retired Air Cdre Emmanuel Jekada, and held at St. Thadeus Science Academy, Madakiya, near Kafanchan, had representatives from the 87 wards of the eight local governments that constitute the Kaduna South Senatorial Zone.
In a keynote address at the meeting that also featured representatives of Hausa, Ibo,Yoruba communities and youth groups, Jekada said that the gesture was part of his “little contribution” to the efforts by the Kaduna State Government toward ending the attacks in the area.
“ As a concerned citizen, I am trying to support the peace moves of the Kaduna State authorities; and as a military man, I want the youths to understand that war does not lead to peace. It only leads to more wars as it is currently being experienced in Southern Sudan and the Middle East,” he said.
NAN reports that the meeting was divided into eight groups according to respective local governments, with each of them given posers and questions on the possible causes of violence in their specific areas, and how best to address them.
According to the presentations by the groups, the causes of the violence included poverty, unemployment, drug abuse, religious and tribal sentiments, as well as perceived injustices.
Other identified causes included abandonment of culture and tradition, bad leadership, intolerance, bad teachings by some religious leaders, political manipulations and rumor peddling.
Other factors included the destruction of farm produce and the killing of cattle, unprovoked attacks and insincerity by government and its agents.
NAN quotes the participants as particularly calling for more fairness on the part of security personnel deployed to restore law and order, while also insisting that suspects arrested in connection with the attacks should be prosecuted to deter others from fometing trouble.
Individual Fulani contributors, during the group discussions, however, exonerated the resident herdsmen from the attacks, which they blamed on foreign herdsmen that usually attack the local communities and flee.
They, however, regretted that they were always left to face the consequences of the attacks, and alleged that the native communities had always pounced on them each time there was an attack.
The Fulani recalled that they had always lived in peace with the local communities, and called for more dialogue and avenues of interaction to boost mutual understanding and curb the violence.
On their part, the natives alleged that the state government was being misinformed on the true nature and causes of the crises, and advised government to always insist on hearing from all sides so as to be well guided into taking informed decisions.
They also advised the Fulani communities to help the security personnel and the state government by reporting the movement of strangers among them so as to prove that they had no link with the attackers.
The local communities also wondered why security men, who were always quick to arrest locals for possessing even dane guns used for hunting, had not been able to arrest the attackers that wield very sophisticated weapons.
Jekada, who spoke with NAN after the meeting, said that the resolutions would be forwarded to the Kaduna State Government to help its efforts toward ending the bloodshed.
He advised the media to be more security conscious in their reportage, and cautioned against sentiments that could worsen the already bad situation.
“The primary purpose of government is to provide security of lives and property. Everyone should positively contribute to this task because without peace, no other endeavour can prosper,” he pointed out.
The retired military officer advised security men tasked with restoring peace to the area, to be professional in their conduct, and avoid actions that could give the impressions that they were either incompetent, poorly trained or just out to complicate the situation.
Source: Elanza News