The tales were chilling: a mother fleeing watched her two years old daughter washed away in River Kaduna as they fled bandits having a field day mowing down the natives and burning houses in the midst of a 24-hour curfew in Zango Kataf.
The number of the dead, according to the spokesman of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), Mr. Luka Binniyat, has risen from the initial 22 to 30 from last weekend’s attack.
He added that most Atyap men have opted to remain in the communities to protect their ancestral land, which they said that bandits of alleged Fulani descent are after.
Binniyat said the Internally Displaced Persons camps are filled mostly with women who told stories of how they recognised some of their attackers as former neighbours who boasted they would flush them out.
Recall that Chibob village was attecked on Friday night, and nine persons were killed others seriously injured, and many houses were also burnt.
There were similar attacks in Sabon Kaura village where 15 people were also murdered in the night while the third attack at Ungwan Audu village on Sunday night also left several houses and farmlands burnt with many injured.
Binniyat said not less than 60 were injured and are receiving treatment in hospitals.
But in Abuja, the Senator representing Kaduna South Senatorial District, Danjuma La’ah was telling the tale of his people’s suffering in the hands of bandits, and calling for the federal government to step up action against the bandits.
On the floor of the Senate, Tuesday La’ah said: “I wish to bring a request before this Senate, that there is incessant killings in Kaduna South, which I’m seeking the help of the Senate to send military men and police to help us overcome the situation in southern Kaduna.
“It has become a very serious matter that many people are being killed. The situation is very embarrassing and I’m pleading with the National Assembly to request the Federal Government to send the Police and armed men to protect the lives of my people and their property.
“It is unbecoming, as this situation has been on for many years and it has got to this point even though I’ve been complaining.
“The situation as at the other times was calmed down, but it has started again, and I pray the National Assembly will help to provide military men to help the situation”.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in his response, expressed the willingness of the National Assembly to engage security agencies with a view to up-scaling operations around areas prone to attacks in Kaduna South.
“I will suggest that we talk to the security agencies to upscale their activities around those hot spots in Kaduna, and this is something that we owe the Nigerian people,” Lawan said
Also, the Senate has urged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to direct the immediate deployment of a Semi-Permanent Platoon of soldiers to decisively uproot bandits and insurgents seeking refuge in Jigawa communities after fleeing the wrath of security agencies in some northern states.
The call was made by the upper chamber on Tuesday following consideration of a motion on “the need for the establishment of a Military Unit in Jigawa State.”
Sponsor of the motion, Senator Hassan Hadejia (APC – Jigawa North East) bemoaned the invasion of communities in Jigawa state by insurgents and bandits fleeing mounting pressure of security agencies across other northern states.
“These migrant alien settlers are masquerading and mixing with herders trooping to the area because of the fertile flood plain and thick forest cover,” he said.
According to Hadejia, the zone which is bordered by Yobe and Bauchi States and Niger Republic has faced challenges of insurgents sneaking in to take temporary refuge from army operations.
He added that, “proactive measures by the security operatives in conjunction with a reporting mechanism using traditional institutions has ensured they are neutralized before they localize and take root.”
The lawmaker expressed worry that “most of these herders and other armed groups that mingle with them appear to be non-nationals and their activities in the last 12 months has assumed a dangerous dimension resulting in attacks and raiding of villages.”
“They have also adopted unwarranted destruction of farm produce to discourage farmers from planting in what appears to be an extension of the strategy in the far northwest to disrupt agricultural production and precipitate calamitous food insecurity in the country to aid in their strategy of creating instability through hunger and local economic devastation.
“The three local Governments affected form the flood plain of the Hadejia River Basin and are the most productive in the zone providing fertile land and abundant water to thousands of families who can achieve 3 harvest annually;
“The perpetrators have no fear or regard for the police and the local inhabitants are also losing confidence in the authorities as no one has yet been apprehended and successfully prosecuted”, the lawmaker said.
Hadejia lamented that, “several lives have been lost as the marauders mercilessly hack down innocent villagers in a gruesome manner with the latest incident claiming almost 10 lives last week.”
“There is need for take preventive measures so an to avert the Zamfara and Katsina experience”, he added.
The Senate accordingly, called on the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to immediately arrange for distribution of relief materials and agricultural support to the affected communities to enable crop cultivation during the rainy season.
▪︎ Additional reports by Ezrel Tabiowo, Special Assistant (Press) to President of the Senate