SEPTEMBER 24, 2014
This World Press Conference has been called by a coalition of Community Development Associations, civil society and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)of Southern Kaduna, in Kaduna State of Nigeria, to draw the attention of the world to our plight as a people who have been under systematic and premeditated attacks with the singular aim of decimating and liquidating the Southern Kaduna people in order to take over our God-given ancestral lands and natural resources.
While we note that since the early 1980s there have been sporadic attacks on the peoples of Southern Kaduna, the present state of generalized warfare and genocidal attacks intensified from 2011 following the presidential elections that engulfed about 10 northern states.
The main characteristic of the on-going assaults on our communities is that they are carefully planned, organised and executed with heartless viciousness and on an incremental bases. Between 1981 and 2010 there were just 16 incidences of such attacks. However, between 2011 and 2014, over a period of just 4 years, 37 such attacks have been launched against our hospitable, accommodating, peaceful and law abiding communities by Fulani herdsmen and marauders. These planned, systematic and coordinated attacks have claimed the lives of over 4,000 innocent Southern Kaduna people, bona fide citizens of Nigeria.
In most of the affected communities, women and children have been killed and brutally murdered in a most barbaric manner. While in some cases they were hacked to death, in others they were burnt alive and or blown up with explosives.
This have rendered thousands of our people homeless, as their homes were burnt, have been rendered homeless with their homes burnt, their churches destroyed and their food stores, barns and granaries burnt. What is even more their water sources were also polluted.
From the over 53 attacks, the most prominent and recent ones are in Attakar Chiefdom of Kaura Local Government where over 200 people have been killed and 4,000 displaced. Countless farmlands have been destroyed, and schools and churches completely burnt down. The latest attacks were in the five Village Areas of Me Gatah, Me Sankwai, Tekum, Me Kakpang, and Me Kurah in Moro’a Chiefdom, Kaura Local Government Area, where whole families have been wiped out, 148 people massacred in their sleep, 240 houses destroyed, all the food stocks of the communities burnt, and survivors rendered destitute and homeless. The attackers have moved swiftly from using sticks, machetes, cudgels, and dane guns, then to the use of sophisticated rifles, RPGs, machine guns and explosives.
The Southern Kaduna peoples have at different fora and occasions cried out to both Federal and State governments for protection, petitioned the government and security agencies, participated in peace and reconciliation meetings and other numerous peace initiatives with a view to bringing an end to this wicked agenda aimed at wiping out the people of Southern Kaduna and indeed the people of the Middle Belt as a whole, all to no avail.
The Southern Kaduna people have repeatedly drawn attention to the vicious wars being waged against them with the aim of taking over their rich and fertile God given ancestral lands. Indeed, the more efforts our people have made towards ending this bloodshed, the more ferocious and frequent the attacks have become.
These attacks have occurred despite the presence of security forces in the area. It is instructive that such attacks usually coincide with the movement of the military and other security forces from their posts in the affected areas. It is usually the case that the security forces always arrive at the scenes of the attacks after the carnage had been perpetrated.
The response of government to the killings has been rather very lackadaisical and merely palliative, without any concrete efforts or measures to forestall future attacks and or apprehend the attackers and bring them to justice. While Government is always quick to state that they are doing their best to handle the security situation, their best has been to tell people to calm down, that the security agencies are in control of the situation and thereafter send a few items of relief.
In short, Government has not taken in our view adequate steps or action that would stop the killings, identify the attackers and bring them to book. It is on record that, even in situations where the communities have captured the perpetrators red-handed, while in the act of terrorizing our communities and handed them over to the security forces, non have been prosecuted in court to serve as a deterrence.
It is curious that while the Governors of other states affected by the violence, that is Plateau, Benue, Nassarawa, Kogi and Taraba have met over the spiraling violence, the Kaduna State Governor was conspicuously absent from that meeting, in spite of the fact that the larger part of his state, Southern Kaduna, is worst affected by the violence. The question the people of Southern Kaduna would like the Governor and Chief Security Officer of their state to answer is; given the primary constitutional responsibility of government which is to protect the lives and property of its citizens, does it mean that our security situation is not sufficiently grave for him to have joined his colleagues to find a solution to this all important common problem?
While we await an answer to the above question, we would also like to bring to the Governor’s attention the fact that the Southern Kaduna people and indeed the people of the Middle Belt and Nigerians generally, are waiting and watching with keen interest to see what the efforts and response of His Excellency the Governor of Kaduna state will be on the two cases of the arrest and recovery of large arms and ammunition from Fulani settlers in Laduga Fulani settlement in ZangonKataf Local Government and the truck load of Fulanis and arms and ammunitions that were arrested by the Nigerian army in Kafanchan and Kwoi, an incident that again led to the unnecessary loss of life of an innocent Southern Kaduna youth.
We have observed the swiftness with which the Governor reacted to the incidence involving the Chief of Jere and Gbagyi Youth,and the murder of SheikhAlbani and his family in the same Kaduna State. We are watching to see if His excellency the governor will also treat the later cases of the suspect Fulanis in Laduga and Kafanchan with the same dispatch and resourcefulness. The latest arrests are being watched closely because Fulanis previously arrested were handed to the relevant authorities, yet none has been prosecuted.
The Southern Kaduna people are tired of petitioning, protesting, demonstrating and appealing to Federal, State governments and security agencies over the systematic and programmed genocide that is being perpetrated against them. It cannot be too strongly stated that it is the constitutional responsibility of the Federal and State Governments to safeguard the lives and properties of its citizens including those of Southern Kaduna and the Middle Belt. Given the prevailing situation of insecurity in Southern Kaduna, unless the Federal and State Governments take immediate and practical steps to ensure that the Moroa massacre is the last act of genocide against the people of Southern Kaduna, the people will be left with no option but to conclude that the government has abandoned the Southern Kaduna people to their own devices for their security.
Southern Kaduna Development Associations Forum
SOKAPU Youth Wing
Southern Kaduna Farmers Forum
Francis Kozah Esq.
Southern Kaduna Lawyers’ Forum
Southern Kaduna Youth and Students Forum (SKYSFORM)
Ndi Mannaseh Grace.
Southern Kaduna Women’s Forum