Southern Kaduna Killings: Police Arrests Scholar for “incitement”

By: Luka Binniyat

KADUNA - The Police in Kaduna yesterday afternoon raided the Kaduna home Mr. BaraK Zebedee of the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, (ABU), and Department of Biology, over an alleged comment in a whatsapp chat group which the police said was inciting.

The Whatsapp chat group, according to our reporter’s findings, was formed to marshal assistance for thousands of displaced persons in the ongoing killings in some Southern Kaduna communities believed to be carried out by Fulani militia.

Zebedee, a PhD student in Fisheries and Hydrology, is an expert in Industrial Effluent.

He has been vocal on his Twitter and Face book accounts in denouncing what the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) and several Non Governmental Organisations, NGOs,  have  described as genocide carried out on the native population of Southern Kaduna.

Zebedee who spoke to our reporter said: “It must have been around 12:20pm today (Monday) when armed policemen in mufti stormed my house. They had arrested one of my close friends and forced him at gun point to take them to my house. I was very shock to see five armed men in my compound. You’d think I was a harden crook they had been working hard to find.  Without given me any chance to change from my night wears, they arrested and brought me to the Force CID, in Kaduna. One call from them would have seen me coming by myself to the Police Headquarters. I am law abiding citizen and well known in my field.

“They said that I wrote, ‘please let’s learn to be patient with each other,’ in SK Victim Support group (name of the Whatsapp group). They have a print of the chat we are doing in support of our traumatised and government-forsaken people.  According to them, my plea for patience amounts to public incitement. Unless they have other issues, that is what I was confronted with.”

His lawyer,  Celestin Dominic Anwai told our reporter that he was surprise at the development.

“They will not release him today. He will have to sleep under their detention.

“There is no problem. Anytime they arraign him, I will apply for his bail. I have nothing to say now,” he added.

Zebedee has joined a  growing list of Southern Kaduna academics, Journalists, bloggers, civil servants, businessmen and even traditional rulers who have been arrested, detained in prison and are facing prosecution by the government of Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State  for alleged untoward comments against the killings in Southern Kaduna.

El-Rufai has publicly accused Southern Kaduna religious leaders and leaders of its pan socio-cultural group, SOKAPU of fuelling the killings, without substantiating it.

The governor, a Fulani, has however said that the alleged pogrom was reprisal attacks by foreign Fulani herdsmen who, he said, lost cattle and their members during the 2011 post election violence in the area. His claims have been widely disputed by several persons and groups.

The governor however, made a shocking revelation that he has traced some of  killer herdsmen  to their countries of abode and paid them undisclosed sums as a way of pacifying them.

Also, the governor has been accused of acting as a spokesman of the herdsmen. He has been accused of never arresting any of the chieftain of Meyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, (MACBA), even when some of them had addressed a Press Conference last year and affirmed that their members were involved in the killing, but in reprisals.

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