Southern Kaduna in the Diaspora (SOKAD)
(December 12, 2016, Columbus, OH USA)
The revelation by the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, that he knows the sponsors of the horrific genocide campaign directed at Christians in Southern Kaduna is very troubling yet revealing. At last, the catalyst for the unspeakable barbarism has been unwittingly revealed. That state resources have been used to pay the perpetrators of the worst crimes against humanity in the area is shocking. The people of Southern Kaduna have no option left, but to take preventive and protective measures for themselves and their communities; on this, we agree with Senator Danjuma Tella La’ah. What other option do they have, when many of their communities have been decimated and farmland being occupied by Fulani herdsmen, many of whom are not from Nigeria, while the Federal and State governments stand by?
While the Governor asserts that the payments were made to entice them to stop the massacre, it is clear to anyone who casually follows events in the region that the deadly attacks have actually increased in frequency and ferocity. Hundreds of people, including infants, women, aged and infirm men have been butchered in ways that shock the sensibilities of any modern human. We are convinced, based on the pattern of the heinous activities in the area, that such payments were actually rewards and prizes for the terrorists.
A candidate who paraded himself as a progressive and who has the benefit of good western education in one of the best colleges in the world should not allow his social conscience to mutate and die to the point of permitting and funding the inhuman conduct of the Fulani terrorists. This should be an absolute position for a modern human, regardless of education or religious affiliation.
Attempts to justify the genocide on events following the 2011 elections are false and disingenuous at best. Communities in southern Kaduna have been visited with this brutality since 2010. The attacks began an attempt to forcefully occupy land in the area by settlers who have decided to bite the fingers that fed them. The ill-advised Grazing Reserves programs proposed by the Governor have further exacerbated the situation. These two actions by the Governors — payments to the terrorists and attempting to use the machinery of state power to the benefit of a small minority, many of whom are non-Nigerians — have been deliberately developed by the Governor to achieve a desired outcome. On this basis, we can conclude that the Governor has little to no regard for the people of the area.
The lack of goodwill towards the people of southern Kaduna is further demonstrated by his response to the ideas offered by many well-meaning Nigerians, including the Senator representing the area, Senator Laah, aimed at finding real solutions to this grave problem.
To oppose the suggestion that affected communities should find ways of defending themselves is difficult to understand. We expect that the Governor should be the loudest voice calling on affected communities to defend themselves. In fact, he should take the lead by arming them for self-defense. Such a policy of arming the victims would align more with his claim that he wants peace in the area. We will achieve peace faster by arming the victims rather than paying the perpetrators.
There are reports that the state is tracking and documenting names of people who support self defense by the communities. If they are true, it suggests that the Governor has allowed religious zealotry to obscure the progressive idea that he has embraced only in theory and not in practice.
The people of southern Kaduna have suffered enough. Granted, the current atrocities predate the Governor, but he has catalyzed and fueled the genocide directly and indirectly. These atrocities rise to the level of crimes against humanity. It is time to begin to explore how to press charges accordingly. The detailed report released this week by the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan has carefully documented the specifics of the carnage in the area and should be a useful document in the effort to get justice for those deemed unworthy by their government. In the interim, yes, affected communities should and must defend themselves against this state-sponsored barbarism for their own survival and self-preservation.
Aminu Likita, MD MPH (President SOKAD)
Freeman Kamuru, PhD, MD (Secretary General, SOKAD)
Ibrahim A. Maikori M.Ed (Financial Secretary, SOKAD)