The Gruesome Killings in Southern Kaduna: Issues & Matters Arising! – Ishola Adebayo

Jan. 20, 2017

Taking a look at the gruesome pictures of people who were murdered in an inhumane manner, a sense of grief and total pity for fellow human beings will becloud one’s emotion. Such is the case of Southern Kaduna in recent times. Let us take a quick view on what the southern Kaduna is in recent times.

Dated to the 1980s, what started like a skirmish in “Godogodo”, a hitherto busy town along the Jos-Kaduna-Abuja highway, sometime in 2016 has now grown in leaps and bounds leaving on its trail anguish, sorrow, tears and blood. The untamed wildfire kindled by deep seeded animosity amongst the people of the area for God-knows-how-long now has been further fueled by the blood of those caught in the web. Human beings have been slaughtered like animals in an uncountable, unconfirmed manner, properties have been destroyed and the demographic setting is presently living in its shadows. The Catholic Archdiocese of Kafanchan said that the unrest in southern Kaduna State has claimed 808 lives with 53 villages attacked and 57 people injured while the Federal government, in response to this, said 204 people were killed. Even if a person was killed, do we value-less the human life in our society now?

However, the Chief security officer of the state, Governor Nasir El Rufai, said the attackers are foreign Fulani herdsmen, who were avenging past attacks on them and their livestock. Sadly, a curfew declared on 3 affected local governments didn’t reduce or pause the heartlessness; it didn’t change anything at all. In response to this, the Assistant National Secretary of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Dr. Ibrahim Abdullahi believed that peace can only return to Southern part of Kaduna State only if both parties involved in the killings forgive each other and stop reprisal attacks. Addressing a press conference at a weekend in Kaduna, he called on the people of the area to forget about what has happened in the past and move on. “We call on the entire people of southern Kaduna to forgive what has happened. Both parties should learn to forgive. “This crisis will never end if you think you would go and revenge what happened to you , so we’re appealing to all parties to sheath their swords and embrace peace” Abdullahi said. He retrospectively, went into details of how the rift started between two nomads and a farmer which led to the death of an Ardo. In quick succession, peace meetings did not stop the revenge mission of the Ardo people. Anytime they see a Fulani-related entity, it won’t go scot free. Both the Fulani and theirs cows were killed randomly.

Just like it is inherent in them, the Fulani didn’t take this lightly at all. As fate would have it, the rift between two parties escalated to a communal clash thus, resulting to the death of hundreds, both old and young. As expected, groups and associations gave their reactions to it- Religious bodies especially. The Christian Association of Nigeria relayed to those who cared to listen that the attack was targeted at Christians living in Kaduna, all in a bid to carry out the intention of the President and the Governor which is to Islamize the country as a whole. To another quarters, it was seen as a war of jihad which is to “eliminate all infidels”. Sadly, the President did not say anything on the killings for a long time, which raised the confirmation of their suspicions. This is the same President who will quickly send a condolence message to his foreign counterparts even when it's only one person that got killed.

It is high time these political leaders go through a whole lot of exposure on governance. Being in charge of a government- be it local, state or federal is not about sharing its income. Once the government is not able to preserve the natural right (life, liberty and property) and privileges of its people, it has failed-John Locke (1632-1704). From start, the government should have given a quick reaction to these issues when it was gradually expanding its inhumane tentacles. The Chief executive of any society should be encompassing. For example, Nigeria is a multi-faceted society and it is expected of the chief executive to remove all forms of bias in discharging his/her duties. Many people didn’t see this in the Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai and President Muhammadu Buhari. In a bid to foster peace and unity, once they don’t give their positions, people may read different meanings to those signs.

As a body of religious people, it is a known fact that Nigerians are emotional when it comes to religious matters. As at when due, religious leaders should preach the peace that we need and also call their fellow “faithfuls” to order once the need arises.

So far Nigeria is made up of 36 states; with each exercising their state powers with appropriate measures suitable to the running of their laws. It is also a fact that in a bid to satisfy their cattle business, the Fulani herdsmen usually go in search of fertile lands in other states. Though we are “one nation”, individual states shouldn’t go into actions and inactions that will mitigate their peace. It is high time they took a good look into their laws and ordinances and possibly, modify them when the need arises. Ekiti State in recent time took a major decision by barring the movement of Fulani herdsmen in the state through the anti-grazing bill and so far, they have strictly observed this provision. Some other States are yet to do this, but in order to maintain orderliness, desperate time calls for desperate measures.

Bearing in mind that the media are the fourth realm of any government structure, they should always try to carry out its specialized duties with objectivity, sincerity and without bias. While carrying out their investigative journalism, their reports shouldn’t be one-sided. People tend to be sympathetic to what they hear and see from these journalists and reactions would have gone far before corrections are made to these things.

Conclusively, while sympathizing with the affected families and communities, we totally condemn the barbaric and inhumane treatment of the people at Southern Kaduna. Human life is valuable, minor rifts are inevitable and as a peace-loving country, we should always strive to settle our differences in an amicable manner. We should look into generating more power instead of dead bodies. As a nation, we are stronger together.