Towards Restoring Peace in Southern Kaduna
By Mahmud Abdulsalam
“Bandits killed 937 persons and kidnapped 1,972 others in 2020, the Kaduna State Annual Security Report revealed.
“Over 220 violent incidents were recorded in the state by the Armed Conflict and Location Event Data Project, with over 50,000 persons displaced.
“In the first three months of this year (2021), 323 persons were slaughtered, and 949 others kidnapped.
“Fulani militants ravage villages sometimes meeting resistance from the locals; reprisal attacks are frequent,” The Punch, of the Nigeria’s most authoritative newspapers, in one of its editorial piece, stated while painting the gloom picture of insecurity in Kaduna State, generally.
But aside Jos, the capital of Plateau State, there is no town in Nigeria that has become the hotbed of ethno-religious and various forms of bloodbirths, other than Southern Kaduna.
The region has come under several bandit attacks, in recent years, even as it has also witnessed a lot of herders-farmers pogroms, together with orgies of internecine communal mayhems.
It is apt to aver that Southern Kaduna, may still be under the yoke of insecurity like other parts of the State, but the region is not as volatile or combustible as it used to be, some years back.
If not for Nigerian military troops, that are regularly deployed for operations, restoring peace, order and sanity in many parts of Southern Kaduna, after every carnage, would have been a tall order, according to security experts.
Though, armed bandits, criminal elements also tagged ‘suspected gunmen’ and other terrorist groups, still foment trouble at villages and communities in Kaduna’s Southern region, the Nigerian military, says it is committed to restoring peace in the region.
Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, was the one who restated the resolve of the military to restore peace in perhaps the ‘most troubled’ part of Kaduna.
Irabor made this known in Kafanchan, recently, during a peace meeting with stakeholders involved in Southern Kaduna crisis.
He stated that the days of perpetrators of violent attacks in the area were numbered as the military was prepared to unleash the full strength of its arsenal on them.
“We are committed to ensuring that peace is restored in this part of the country.
“However, for those who do not want to heed to our appeal for peace and who think that violence is what they need to unleash on us, I am here to tell them that their days are numbered.
“If the peace in Southern Kaduna is disrupted, the peace in Kaduna and indeed the peace in Nigeria will be disrupted because Kaduna is central to the existence of Nigeria,” he stated.
The Defence Chief cautioned the people against taking laws into their hands in the face of provocations, urging aggrieved parties to always recourse to the law.
He pledged to increase military presence and hardware in Southern Kaduna but maintained that there must be willingness among the people to embrace peace for such to yield positive result.
“You can have all the personnel and equipment in the world, if there’s no willingness amongst the people to live in peace, it will count for nothing.
“So, we need to start looking at ways beyond military deployment to solve this crisis,” he added.
He advised communities to set up security committees as well as vigilante groups to work in consonance with security forces to fish out criminal elements.
On stoppage of night grazing as suggested by some stakeholders, Irabor promised to bring up the issue as a point during the national security council meeting.
“This is not something I have authourity to make a decision on, but I can assure you I will bring it up as a point during the national security council meeting for further consideration,” he said.
In his remarks, Gov. Nasir El-rufai, represented by the Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, decried the politicisation of the crisis in Southern Kaduna.
He said the state government would continue to do its best in carrying out its primary responsibility of protecting lives and property.
Aside the efforts of the Irabor-led Nigerian Armed Forces, the Federal Government, on its part, must deploy all the resources at its disposal to assist the Kaduna State government in ending the bloodshed in Southern Kaduna. Let the killings in Southern Kaduna stop now.
Mahmud Abdulsalam is Deputy Editor PRNigeria
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