By Olayinka Ajayi
Kaduna State Governor Nasir El Rufai has appealed to the people of the volatile southern Kaduna zone, where he said that 66 people were killed recently, not to politicise the killing of innocent people by criminals, vowing that his government will stop at nothing to ensure that perpetrators of such heinous crimes are brought to book.
The governor stated this on yesterday after he was led to the scene of the crisis in Kajuru local government area where he had earlier said that the 66 persons were killed.
Meanwhile, a group, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, (SOKAPU), the umbrella body for the people of Kaduna south, has accused the Governor of taking sides in the latest killings in the Kajuru area. But the governor, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, after he was led on the spot assessment of the area by the GOC 1 Div, the state commissioner of police and other security chiefs, said that the state government cannot allow itself to be hamstrung by any consideration while performing her responsibilities. According to Aruwan’s statement, “Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has visited the scenes of the Kajuru killings.
The governor was accompanied on the trip by Major-General Faruk Yahaya, GOC 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Air Cmdr. I. Sani of the Nigerian Air Force, Police Commissioner, Ahmad Abdurrahman and State Director of the SSS, A.I. Koya. The chairman of Kajuru local government council, Cafra Caino, also joined the governor on the visit. “The Kaduna State Government notes the concerted and apparently coordinated efforts by bigoted busy bodies to deny the Kajuru killings, or to minimise the casualty figures, and the specious arguments being deployed in this despicable quest. The Kaduna State Government condemns in the strongest terms attempts to politicise the killings.
“Only irresponsible and insensitive people can recklessly dismiss the deaths of members of a community with whom they have no contact. Private individuals and unelected actors cannot be allowed to reduce weighty matters of state security to the province of their limited networks, inexperienced lenses and narrow agendas. “The government of a state cannot be detained by parochial, ethno-religious, partisan or electoral calculations from doing its duty to provide security, confirm incidents of security breaches, take steps to reassure affected communities and ensure that perpetrators are arrested and brought to justice” he said.
But responding to the claim by the governor, the publicity secretary of SOKAPU, Yakubu Kuzamani, accused the governor of religious bias, saying, Southern Kaduna people were still at a loss as to the motive behind the governor’s outburst at such critical period in the history of the country. According to him, “We are of the view that el-Rufai’s comments over the Kajuru killings were deliberately orchestrated to inflame ethnic and religious sentiments to produce yet another cycle of bloodshed,” he said.
Giving it’s own version of events that led to the tragic deaths, SOKAPU said: “On Sunday, February 10, 2019, the Adara natives residing in Ungwar Barde in Kufana District of Kajuru Local Government Area came under attack by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen. The attack lasted from 10pm of Sunday to 4am of Monday February 11, 2019. “By the time the merchants of deaths and destructions were through with their mission, no fewer than 11 lives, including a pregnant woman, were lost. Scores of victims of the attack on Ungwar Barde sustained injuries, with some of them presently receiving treatment at some health facilities in the state capital. We have been informed that the attackers, seven of them in number, were arrested by a team of policemen.
“Following the Sunday attack on Ungwan Barde, residents of Ungwan Busa and Doruwa located in Kajuru LGA deserted their villages for safety. Presently, the District Head of Kufana and four of his village heads, on the directive of the governor, have been summoned to Kaduna and ordered to produce persons behind ‘reprisal attacks’. However, the monarchs have told their interrogators that they are unaware of any ‘reprisal attacks’ and, therefore, unable to identify persons behind such attacks.
Apart from the 11 corpses of Adara natives that were killed during the Sunday attack, the community leaders have denied knowledge of any attack. “Arising from the above, SOKAPU is shocked at the deliberate falsehood by el-Rufai who found it convenient not to inform the world of an earlier attack that claimed the lives of 11 Adara natives. SOKAPU is convinced that Governor el-Rufai is on an irrevocable journey of inflaming ethnic conflagration that has always been in line with his deliberate chronicle of profiling Southern Kaduna people as favourably disposed to violence.
“We wish to inform Nigerians and the world that it has always been in the character of the governor to promote violence through spreading hate speech for the advancement of his waning political survival. If the governor, who was aware that Adara natives were killed on Sunday, neglected to come public, then Nigerians and the world are well placed to understand the nebulous and evil motives of el-Rufai who once shocked Nigerians on national television that he had paid whopping sums of money to foreign herdsmen involved in attacking communities in Southern Kaduna. “SOKAPU is calling on the Inspector General of Police and the Director of Department of State Service (DSS) to carry out an independent investigation and tell the world the truth of what actually happened in Kajuru.
;We are startled that it was the governor and not the police that announced the alleged killings in Kajuru. Let Nigerians and the world know that, should there be any breakdown of law and order in Kaduna state, Governor el-Rufai should be held responsible” the statement added. It will be recalled that Governor el-Rufai disclosed on the eve of the now postponed presidential election that 66 persons were killed by unknown gunmen in some communities in Kajuru local government of the state