TEXT OF PRESS CONFERENCE ORGANIZED BY THE COALITION OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS OF SOUTHERN KADUNA ON THE VICTIMIZATION OF MRS. CHRISTIANA E. MUSA BY THE KADUNA STATE GOVERNMENTOVER THE MASS PROTEST BY SANGA WOMEN AGAINST GOVERNOR RAMALAN YERO DURING THE GOVERNOR’S VISIT TO SANGA

SEPTEMBER 30, 2014

Sanga Local Government Area is located in the Southern part of Kaduna State. The LG is strategically located, bounded by Nasarawa and Plateau States to the South. It is home to 12 tribes –theNumana, Ninzon, Nandu, Gwandara, Mada, Jerri, Ayu, Tari, Eggon, Nunku, Aboro, and a few Hausa settlers. The people are known for agricultural practice, their arable land and climate are favourable for the production of varieties of crops and economic trees.

The region has an admirable relief with wide spread mountains, forests and vast grazing land for cattle rearing. Sanga is referred to as the food basket of Kaduna State because of its capacity in agricultural yield.

This agricultural potential is now being threatened by constant attacks by Fulani marauders as farmers inFadanKarshi, KarshinDaji, HayinKwanta, AngwanGanye, DogonDajiAngwanGoma have fled to neighbouringNasarawa Statefor fear of being killed. Not less than 120,000 natives have fled their homes after losing many loves ones, their homes, and earthly passions. From the first attack of 23rdJune, 2014 to the last attack in September 17th, 2014 a total of 16 separate attacks took place, about 300 people mostly women and children were killed and an estimated 400 people sustained different degrees of injuries.

It can be recalled that Gov. RamalanYerodid not make any press statement in condemnation of the attacks and the cavalier attitude of his government to the plight of Southern Kaduna people is glaring. The first of the 16 attacks took place on 23rd June, 2014. The Governor did not deem it fit to pay any visit until the 22nd September, 2014 when he lackadaisically went toSanga with an unfriendly, intimidating fleet of troops and plainclothesmen as if he was going for a battle.

His visit was far from friendly and sympathetic to the people he had neglected for so long. The victims, especially those widowed by unrelenting violence saw this development as a show of power, total lack of empathy devoid of remorse from a man that swore to protect and defend them as the Chief Security Officer of the state. His nonchalant attitude naturally seethed these women all who lost their love ones to protest.

The women drawn from the aforementioned tribes protested half nude, some carried placards with soulful messages, as their means of expressing their extreme sadness, hopelessness and anger to their uncaring governor. This kind of protest is always interpreted as a curse on the intended target. Such a curse is usually assuage by restitution through making the right amends, not by further wrong doing by the offending party

MRS. CHRISTIANA E.MUSA’S VICTIMIZATION

Instead of Governor Yero and his officials to take the immediate correctivemeasures to appease the women through provision of basic needs and improved security, they have decided to hold one innocent woman as scape-goat for their failures. Mrs. Christiana E. Musa, an indigene of Sanga LG and Head of Health Department, Jema’a LG, was issued a querydated 25th September, 2014.The query was signed by the Director of Administration, Promotion and Discipline, Kaduna State Local Government Service Commission, Sadiq A. Iyal. In the letter, thegovernment claimed that, she participated in the protest staged against the governor, which “caused a lot of embarrassment to the governor and his entourage, it equally contravened section 17(1)(a)(1) – generalmisconduct to the scandal of the public of the Unified Local Government Service Staff Regulation(2012).”

As if that gross abuse of her Fundamental Human Right (which she did not even exercise), was not enough, the government of Yero served her a punitive letter in the same breath. She was removed from her post as Head of Health and transferred to BirninGwari LGA, without assigning her any portfolio. In their desperation to “teach her a bitter lesson” and to suppress any one from expressing dissent, they were not patient enough to wait for her to answer her query and the normal process of meting out penalties followed. In a dramatic arm twisting of the Civil Service Rule, Mrs. Christiana E. Musa was simultaneously issued both the query and transfer letters the same day, whichviolated theextant of the Civil Service Rule in every sense of the word because she was supposed to be given time to answer the query for fair hearing.

It is interesting to note that Mrs. Christiana E. Musa neither organized nor participated in the protest. Indeed, there is no empirical evidence linking the said Mrs. Musa to the said protest. To all intents and purposes, she was made a scapegoat by a high-handed government which has failed to appreciate the core values of Democracy.

This is not the first time the Kaduna State Government will muster state instruments to oppress law abiding citizens. On the 25th of March, 2014, Mr. Reuben Buhari was invited and subsequently arrested by the Kaduna State Police for posting pictures of the Bondong Genocide on a closed Facebook Group. If Mr.Buhari, a former spokesman of the late Governor Patrick Yakowa and who was at the time of the incident a Media Aide to the present Minister of Environment, Hon. LawrenciaMallam, was deemed to have committed an offence, he was not charged to court rather he was transferred to Louis Edet House, the Police Headquarters in the FCT. Mr.Buhari wasnarrowly saved by the pressure mounted on government for his release; tragically,this government muzzled MrBuhari out of his job with the Minister.

Amidst the anguish of the victimization of Mrs. Christiana by the government of the day, the indigenous people of Sanga were acrimoniously plunged into an illogical blame game.The Yerogovernment, through its virile mouthpiece, Ben Bako, the Commissioner for Information, in a well-publicized report accused the Sanga people for being the people that triggered the spate of attacks in the area. Claiming that, the Sanga indigenous people were the first that attacked the Fulani, which aimed at justifying the attacks by the Fulani as reprisal attacks.

We,the Coalition of Southern Kaduna CSOs, condemn in the strongest terms the victimization of Mrs. Christian E. Musa and all other acts and forms of oppression by the Gov. RamalanYero government. We view this as a decoy to intimidate and silence the Southern Kaduna People and reject this move in its entirety.

OUR DEMANDS

1 We ask for the immediate reversal of her posting. It was done out of malice with the aim of pushing her to save the face of government.

2 The government of Yero must obey and respect the civil service procedures of handling such matters.

3 We demand that Mrs Christina E Musa be given her right and privilege as a senior officer in the civil service to under all due process relating to such issues.

4 Democracy in Kaduna State must bear human face and the system must be predicated on its tenets to give people a sense of belonging

5 The security of lives and properties in the state must be the government’s number one priority

Signed: COALITION OF SOUTHERN KADUNA CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS.

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