'They're killing us': Southern Kaduna Christians' Cries For Help
Christian pastors, along with families of the victims, have accused the federal government of not doing enough to protect Christians from herdsmen terror attack that continues to take the lives of innocent victims.
In a statement over the week-end, the clergy, Religious and Laity of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, Kaduna state, alleged that there is a hidden agenda targeted at the Christian Majority of Southern Kaduna. "This Jihad is well funded, well planned and executed by agents of destabilization."
"Unfortunately, our government both at the Centre and State levels have failed woefully. If anything, government has shown outright partisanship in favor of the herdsmen to the disappointment of the majority Southern Kaduna indigenes and Christians." " This is what lends credence to our earlier assertion and belief that there is a well planned Jihad against our people with the sole aim of conquering our people and occupying our land. We have been disappointed in the way the soldiers have been manipulated or railroaded to favor the Muslims. In most of these attacks, the military stands aloof and watches while our people are being massacred. The viciousness of these self styled Jihadists sends shivers into the spines of our traumatized people."
Solomon Musa, an attorney and president of the Southern Kaduna People's Union (SOKAPU), said recently that "The savagery and barbarity of attack is beyond belief," Musa said. "Yet, governments at the federal and state levels appear quiet and noncommittal. We have been abandoned, deserted and neglected."
"We have lost so much to the attacks by the herdsmen," Musa said.
The Clergy leaders further stated that "In the Godogodo and Pasakori attacks for example, the military merely watched and supervised the burning of our homes. When the youth mobilized to repel the attackers, the soldiers deliberately blocked them from entering the town. The herdsmen and their ilk turned the towns into killing fields and killed mostly women, children and the elderly who couldn’t run for cover. " "The level of barbarity was such that pregnant women got their wombs blown out and massacred before their children. And these innocent children were not spared either. This level of viciousness was never witnessed even in the brutal tyranny and regime of Adolf Hitler. What is most intriguing is the level of sophistication of weapons; Ak 47, Machine Guns and many other deadly instruments of death were freely used."
"What started like a minor misunderstanding between Fulani herdsmen and indigenous farmers was badly handled and it soon took a different turn for the worse. Our people are largely farmers. " "They depend on their farms for sustenance. Our Farmers will labor all year round to cultivate their farms. " "The Fulani herdsmen will deliberately walk their cows into their farmlands. The cows will naturally eat up the crops and destroy the farmlands. For families that depend on this, one can better imagine the negative impact. So when this happens, the farmer confronts the Fulani herdsmen to seek a peaceful resolution. Most times, this gesture is met with stiff resistance as the herdsmen would threaten the farmer or begins a violent fight. In most occasions, because the herdsmen are armed to the teeth, they deal a heavy blow to the local farmer that result in death. Tension mounts and the indigenes would want to avenge the death of their loved one. This is the story all around and 99% of the intractable conflict between farmers and herdsmen are traceable to this. "
"It is therefore worrisome to us when a faceless group known as Concerned Southern Kaduna Muslims seek to distort the facts by way of twisting and misrepresenting the account to put the minority Muslims of Southern Kaduna as the victims while the Christian majority are the aggressors. This is far from the truth! All the violence that took place in Southern Kaduna, hardly was any masterminded by the indigenes. Or how could you explain the importation of heavily armed militia to prosecute the war on behalf of the Fulani? The mere presence of this killer squad is enough evidence and indictment of the Fulani as the masterminds of these crisis".
The Clergy leaders announced a list of demands which includes the setting up of a commission of inquiry to look into the remote and proximate cause of the crisis with membership evenly drawn between both parties.
"That the governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir El Rufai immediately retracts the tweet he sent some time ago wherein he wrote “anyone who kills a Fulani man takes a loan repayable in no distant future”
"We view this reckless statement as a tacit support of the herdsmen which emboldens them against the indigenous farmers. The life of indigenous farmers is equally precious, sacred, and sacrosanct."
"We demand immediate release of Southern Kaduna youth and leaders unjustly detained by various security agencies for trumped up charges."
" Provision of relief materials to victims of the attacks in Southern Kaduna be made a priority."
" We reject Gov El Rufai’s proposal of spending N100,000,000 (One Hundred Million Naira only) to repair/renovate burnt places of worship. We suspect the motives and question the sincerity of such moves. Rather a comprehensive list of families that suffered losses be given expedited attention by way of assistance to rebuild their homes and return to them."
The statement titled ' Enough of the Bloodshed, was signed by Very Rev. Fr Ibrahim Yakubu - Vicar General, Dio of Kafanchan, Very Rev Fr Emmanuel Okolo - Chancellor, Very Rev. Fr Aaron Tanko - JDPC Coordinator, Very Rev. Fr Williams Abba - NCDPA Chairman, Mr Joseph Bayei, KSJ, - President, Laity Council, Dio of Kaf