The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has narrated how herdsmen went about killing 46 rural folks in the southern district, especially in two communities in Kagoro, Kaura local government area of Kaduna State last Sunday.
The umbrella body of the peoples of the southern part spoke as a public commentator from that part of the state, Rev. Polycarp Gbaja, also declares “it is long overdue for people and communities across Nigeria to activate their constitutional Right to Life and Self Defense, with the full support of the Government, whose duty and mandate it is to protect them.”
Another prominent indigene from the area, a top public servant, who lives in Abuja, said attacks on Southern Kaduna communities is common during Christmas “so as to spoil our joy during the festive season.”
It was not clear at press time if the bloody violence by the alleged herdsmen was a retaliatory measure.
But SOKAPU spokesman, Mr. Luka Binniyat, gave the union’s account of the killing spree in Malagum 1 and Abun (Broni Prono) villages.
“The killings which lasted for long, started around 11pm Sunday night simultaneously.
“Not only were these, poor innocent citizens killed, not less than 100 houses were razed with some victims burnt alive.
“At the time of releasing this statement, volunteers are still combing surrounding bushes in search of missing persons and more corpses.
“The villagers had noticed the gathering of strange herdsmen coming from different directions on motor bikes to set camp in (a) nearby bush some days back. Apparently, the security forces deployed there did nothing under this glaring potential threat to security. Especially as this dastardly act is coming five days after armed herdsmen herded their cattle into a farm owned by Cletus Dunia, 45, in Kpak village, a sub-unit of Kagoro, in Kaura LGA and shot him dead at close range before mutilating his corpse and fleeing with their cows.
“The rampaging herdsmen also shot and killed Levi Zakaria, 19, as he was harvesting yams on a farm that was by the fleeing path of the killer herdsmen. Same day, the same herdsmen killed Ezra Sunday 16, about 2km (two kilometres) from where Zakaria was killled.
“The same herdsmen caused the death of Gaje Habila, 31 when he fell and died of exhaustion while escaping the killer herdsmen, leaving behind a widow and a six month old baby – his only child.
“Meanwhile between last Tuesday and Wednesday, armed men described as herdsmen, invaded some homes in Kamuru village, Ikulu Ward in Zangon Kataf LGA in Southern Kaduna and killed four persons
“This is to say that 46 persons were killed in unprovoked attacks in Southern Kaduna in the past five days.
“These attacks are coming close to the 2023 general elections. We believe that the aim is to further destabilise Southern Kaduna and give excuse to the Federal Government to stop election in the area, especially. Already there are thousands who have been chased out from their ancestral homes as a result of similar violence unleashed on them, especially between 2019 and this year.”
SOKAPU noted that the attacks have put many parts of Southern Kaduna in ruins and thousands killed since 2014, claiming no one has been arrested and brought to book over the henious crimes.
“Instead, it is Southern Kaduna traditional leaders, clergy and human right activists that do get arrested and put in prison over trumped up allegations of ‘incitement,” the statement added.
The union noted that Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s often arranges quarterly briefings to detail out killings and abductions while doing nothing after.
“Today, thousands of residents of these two sacked communities and surrounding villages are leaving their homes in droves as IDPs in any area they may find some measure of safety. Their survival will depend on the good will of kindhearted persons and groups, certainly not his government.
“We condemn the resurgence of these mass slaughter and we call on government to take its responsibility of securing lives and property very serious or it should leave the stage.
“We call on our people not to take the laws into their hands, but should remember that their right to self-defence is not only natural but constitutional too.”
In his own comments, Rev. Gbaja said the recurring decimal for the past eight years happens every December, apart from the monthly killings, between Giwa and Birnin Gwari or Kajuru and Sanga.
He observed that the country’s security structure was neither clueless, did not lack information, nor was without capacity.
“There is simply no resolve by either the State or Federal Government to take the simple position of ‘never again’. The more than 15 security agencies based in the capital city of Kaduna, could have enough intel to work on and deal, if there was intent. But life no longer seems to have much value in this country. Apart from the writes of melancholy for the traumatised, raped or abducted and dirges for the dead or very insincere press statements by government spokespersons, the beat just goes on.
“A country of over 220m people of varying capacities does not need to feign helplessness, in excuse, or criminal negligence, while its rural communities are invaded and decimated every week, year round.
The blood of the many defenceless and dead women, children and men cries out to the high Heavens,” he said.