By Hon Jonathan Asake, President, Southern Kaduna Peoples Union
On Monday May 11, 2020, Gonar Rogo, another defenceless community in Kajuru Local Government Area, came under assault from Fulani Herdsmen Militia. The following day, the attackers extended their murderous expedition to Bakin Kogi where residents had fled the town. They burnt down the town and launched another assault on another village, Idanu. In the early hours of Wednesday, the murderous gang of terrorists moved to Makyali where several persons were killed. In Agwala village, an old lady was mercilessly hacked to death. In total, these attacks have so far claimed 27 lives within 48 hours, while the injured have been taken to various medical facilities for attention. Efele, Ungwan Modi and Ungwan Rana villages were also attacked and hundreds of residents displaced.
Galiwyi community in Chikun LGA came under invasion by herdsmen militia who chased away the men and turned their wives and daughters into sex slaves after occupying the community. This impunity lasted a week a fortnight ago, without any intervention from the authorities.
Similarly, in the recent past, many communities have suffered attacks like Chawai community in Kauru LGA, Atakad community in Kaura LGA and another community in Sanga.
As we address you this afternoon, tension has spread to several communities in Kajuru LGA, especially Idon and Doka, with fear-stricken residents fleeing in droves for fear of impending attacks. The atmosphere of death and destruction now holds sway in our communities.
We are, therefore, very pained and shocked at the reaction of the Presidency that asserted that these unprovoked attacks were reprisals and revenge. We are extremely disappointed that Sen. Uba Sani, who is the Senator representing Kaduna Central, should describe these attacks as revenge because he should know the truth. Could it be that the Presidency and Sen. Uba Sani know what we don’t know?
Anyone describing the recent attacks as reprisals and revenge is either a mischief maker or part of a grand agenda of ethnic cleansing against our people which is currently being pursued with more vigour and determination more than ever before.
For the avoidance of doubt, all attacks, invasions and killings are properly documented. SOKAPU has the names of towns and identities of victims of these mindless attacks on our communities, with some of them widely published. We insist that the recent invasions are a continuation of a deliberate and entrenched agenda of subjugating and occupying our ancestral lands.
Just last week, villagers in Kabrasha community in Chikun Local Government Area had noticed a ‘strange helicopter” hovering around the town. The unusual presence of the flying object made them to flee into other neighbouring communities for safety. Not long after that, there were explosions that partly destroyed the Assemblies of God Church and some other houses.
When distress calls were received by SOKAPU from Kabrasha distressed villagers who had taken refuge in neighbouring communities, we wondered if it was the same bandits who had sacked several communities in the past have now become sophisticated in deploying spacecraft in invading communities.
Strangely, the military had declared that they had carried out a military operation targeted at flushing out bandits from villages in Chikun, Birnin Gwari and Giwa LGAs. There have been reports from communities that have suffered similar invasions of a ‘mysterious’ helicopter that normally hovers over a targeted community before its eventual attack. To us, the explosions following the hovering of the sighted ‘mysterious helicopter’ in Kabrasha fits the narrative of previous attacks.
Although we have read the responses of both the Kaduna State Government and the Armed Forces on the Kabrasha attack, but some lines seem not to be adding up as their responses raised more questions than answers.
In their respective responses, the military confirmed that a church and three buildings in the community were destroyed. However, they did not state the type of weapon used. The Kaduna State Government, on the other hand, categorically stated that ‘munitions’ were used. A perusal of google.com defines the term ‘munition’ as involving “everything from guns, small revolvers, automatic rifles, special arms, artillery guns, missiles and bombs”. From this definition, it is clear that the response from the state government did not specify whether it was a missile from a launcher, bullet or bomb that was used.
Then, it is imperative at this point to raise the fundamental question: what type of munition was deployed on Kabrasha village?
Secondly, both responses alluded to the fact that the structures in the community were empty. However, there was no attempt to inform the public by both responses. Could it be that the bombing of the church and other buildings was hinged on the assumption that the bandits were taking refuge in the church or was it some kind of unprofessionalism by the military personnel involved in the operation?
These and many more questions continue to linger in our minds begging for answers from the authorities. Our position on the Kabrasha attack reminds us of the widely reported story of the importation of two highly weaponised drones that were intercepted by the Military Intelligence at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, on Jan 28, 2020.
On interrogation, the individual behind the importation of the intercepted weapons claimed that the military consignment were headed for Kaduna state. Within 48 hours of the arrest and detention of the suspect and drones, the Commander of Nigeria Air Defence Corps (allegedly) received a call from unknown persons. He would later order for the release of both the suspect and weapons.
To our knowledge, weaponised drones such as the one that were intercepted can only be imported into a country with the president’s approval and the end user must be the country’s armed forces. Therefore, when it was disclosed that the end user of this weapon was not the Federal authorities, it beats our imagination why such (alleged) crass illegality was allowed.
SOKAPU also recalls that various individuals and groups, including the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) had called on the Federal Government to immediately order the suspension of the Commander that released both the suspect and the drones without following laid down procedures, while a judicial commission of enquiry be set up to investigate the matter.
The SMBLF also called on the United Nations to supervise the mop-up of Nigeria’s weapons of mass destruction and other illegal arms that are being stockpiled by people for possible genocide, among other demands.
Up till now, SOKAPU is not aware of any commission of enquiry that was set up by the Federal Government to investigate this matter. So, our communities are still living in fear in view of the rising spates of invasions ripping across Southern Kaduna on a daily basis.
We wish to alert the world that Southern Kaduna communities have been under constant invasions and massacres that is fast assuming a genocidal proportion.
Despite the current lockdown caused by COVID-19 pandemic, our communities are being invaded on a daily basis and chased out into other communities as internally displaced Persons (IDPs) only for a short period before the host communities are also invaded and further displaced. This incessant invasions have unleashed untold hardship on survivors who can no longer go to their farms or harvest their produce, with their children perpetually out of school even before the lockdown.
The rate at which invasions are taking place across Southern Kaduna communities and the attendant displacement has assumed a dimension that will culminate into the wiping out of our communities if there is no intervention.
The ongoing attacks on our communities point to the fact that there is a deliberate ethnic cleansing ripping across Southern Kaduna which the authorities have turned a blind eye to.
In view of the above, SOKAPU wishes to demand the followings:
1. We call on the Kaduna State Government to take responsibility and provide leadership without bias.
2. Our communities should be empowered to secure our communities, in collaboration with relevant security agencies.
3. Those communities that have been sacked, government should, as a matter of urgency and necessity, cater for the welfare of internally displaced persons, resettle them and provide them with security.
We call on men and women of good conscience, non-governmental organisations, civil society groups, faith-based organisations and the international community to come to our rescue by beaming their searchlight on the ethnic cleansing taking place in Southern Kaduna.
We thank you for your attention.
▪ Being text of a speech at a press conference in Kaduna.
By Hon Jonathan Asake, President, Southern Kaduna Peoples Union