Speech By The National President Of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) At The Mass Peaceful Protest in Gwantu, Sanga Local Government Area Of Kaduna State, Organised BY SOUTHERN KADUNA PEOPLES UNION – Thursday 25/8/2016
The great and peace loving people of Sanga and indeed, Southern Kaduna, I send you warm greetings from our brothers and sisters from other places in Nigeria and other parts of the world.
Today, we have come here, irrespective of our religion, political affiliations and ethnic groups, to inform you that we are sad witnesses to all the evil that has come over Sanga and many parts of Southern Kaduna and that we share your pains, anger and frustration.
We have come to this ancient land of civilised and accommodating people to demonstrate our solidarity with you and to insist that you have a right to live in peace and dignity as you pursue your livelihood, like any other persons in a free society as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
We are together joining our brothers and sisters all over the world, and all men of goodwill and conscience to say that enough of the bloodshed of our harmless and armless people in Sanga and other parts of Southern Kaduna. Enough of blood shedding and kidnapping in Kaduna state. Let it Stop!
SOKAPU stand with you in demanding that the energy, commitment and funds with which the present government of Kaduna state is spending in co-funding a joint military operations in the forests and bushes of Birnin Gwari to rescue rustled cows and goats, should be extended to Southern Kaduna to safe human lives and secure properties.
While we appreciate and thank Governor Nasir el-Rufai for visiting some of our communities that were ravaged by herdsmen in Sanga and Jema’a LGAs, we are very unhappy that his promise to end the killings and wanton destruction of our homes and crops, and to fish out the culprits, was just a political statement.
As if to spite the governor, two days after his much celebrated visit around here, a cleric, Pastor Luka Ubangari, of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Unguwan Anjo near Godogodo, was killed by people suspected to be armed herdsmen. Two days later, the same herdsmen, came to Ningon Community and shot dead Gambo Sule, 38 leaving his wife a widow and his five children fatherless. They also killed Benjamin Auta, 35 and father of two little children. A girl who survived that attack is presently receiving treatment at the Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa hospital in Kafanchan as a result of bullet wounds on her abdomen.
These are just very recent of all the undeserved evil that has enveloped the people of Sanga and many communities of Southern Kaduna – too numerous and painful to be recalled.
Indeed, it has been estimated that not less than 10,000 Southern Kaduna natives from 24 villages have been killed since the invasions of our communities started in 2011. In 2014, there were about 30,000 refugees fleeing killings and arson from Sanga areas alone. Today, majority of these natives are yet to return as herdsmen have converted their farmlands to grazing grounds under arms.
But, it was for the poor security situation in Southern Kaduna, that the people of these areas gave an opposition political party unprecedented number of votes since 1999 helping it to decisively defeat a sitting government.
We are sad to say that the situation is no better today, with a worse dimension added – Kidnapping and destruction of crops. While, almost every day someone is kidnapped in Southern Kaduna for a ransomed, growing crops are being ravaged by herdsmen.
In Godogodo, seven young men who dared to venture to their farms were found shot death, and the corpse of one is still missing. They were all said to have been killed by armed herdsmen.
Yet, with these nefarious acts, we are yet to hear that one single herdsman has been arrested and charged with murder. Instead, it is our youths who are putting their lives at stake to protect their communities that are always arrested by the Police and Soldiers and locked up in Kafanchan.
Could this weak law enforcement attitude, and selective arrest be linked with the thinking of Mallam Nasir el-Rufai in a tweet that later went viral, on the 15th July 2012, when he tweeted that:“ Anyone, soldier or not that kills the Fulani takes a loan repayable one day no matter how long it takes.”https://twitter.com/elrufai/status/224577000218689537
SOKAPU has no choice than to conclude that our governor may have been convinced by the well publicised statement of Kaduna State Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MCBA, Dr Haruna Usman after the Gada Biyu, Akwa’a, Anjoh and Godogodo killings two weeks back. He had said that the Fulani had carried out the killings and destructions of some of these villagers in retaliation to the killing of a Fulani chieftain around there.
The seeming lack of interest by the governor in bringing the herdsman king-pin to prosecution would look like he already has a mindset that the herdsmen have natural tendency and right to take the law into their hands and kill anyone and cause havoc on any property he suspects of killing his own.
This is also buttressed by the desperation with which this government is doing everything to please the Fulani herdsmen, including the annexation of our lands into Grazing Reserve and Ranches despite its clear constitutional illegality and total rejection of the policy by Southern Kaduna Communities.
It is also evident that in Kaduna state there are two kinds of law for two different citizens. Today, Mr. Nasir Jagaba, SOKAPU youth wing President has been arrested, detained and charged to Court by the Governor over an innocuous statement in which he caution the governor on the grave consequence of demolishing Gbagyi villa.
But, Haruna Usman is still going about his business despite making a very incriminating assertion on the reasons behind the heinous crimes committed by his kinsmen.
In view of the above, on behalf of all the 67 tribal grouping of Southern Kaduna, SOKAPU wish to demand that:
1. The government of Mallam Nasir el-Rufai keeps his campaign promise of safe guarding our lives and property by also funding a formidable joint military operation to flush our murderers and restore ‘captured’ lands to their owners.
2. We demand for the release of all our youths unjustly detained in Kafanchan and restitution paid them over the haranguing experience they have been put through.
3. SOKAPU calls for the arrest and interrogation of Haruna Usman of MCBA. He should be made to produce or identify the Fulani that were “on vengeance” mission.
4. With all the seriousness we can muster, SOKAPU rejects completely the confiscation of 120,000 hectares of our ancestral lands as Cattle Grazing Reserves or ranches. Even when the constitution entrusts all lands in the hands of state governors, it was clear that no land should be taken from a community and allocated to another entity for the exclusive use for profit.
5. We call on both the state and Federal government to assist our Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, with shelter, food and roofs over their heads as they now live under sub-human conditions in public schools and private places they could find.
6. SOKAPU is also using this occasion to appeal to all our members, their friends, Churches, mosques, corporate organisations, NGOs and every willing person to generously donate to our IDPS.
Finally, SOKAPU calls on its members never to take the law into their hands no matter the provocation. However, we encourage all our communities to take every available legal means of defending themselves, their property and dignity against anyone set out to terrorise them, should government renege on that cardinal responsibility it owes them.
Thank you and May God guide you as make your ways back home.
Sign: Barr. Kaptain Solomon Musa
President of SOKAPU