Church Says Over 27,000 Persons Displaced In Southern Kaduna

kaduna-southern-crisisA church in Kaduna State says more than 27,000 people have been displaced from their homes since the renewed attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen against natives of the southern part of Kaduna State.

The Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) also said that hundreds of others have been killed in the renewed attacks.

The group further kicked against a plan by the Kaduna State government to create new grazing reserves and routes for Fulani herdsmen in the area, alleging that the herders were responsible for the attacks.

They also describe the move as an orchestrated plan by the Fulanis to take over the ancestral land of the indigenes.

Fled From Their Homes

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, the Chairman of 19 District Councils of the church, Reverend Zachariah Gado, asked the state government to stop the proposed creation of grazing reserves in the area for the interest of peace and security of lives and property.

The press conference by the ECWA Church came barely three days after gunmen attacked four villages in Kauru Local Government Area also in the southern part, killing about 31 people.

The gunmen were said to have carried out coordinated attacks in the four communities, where they burnt down over 150 houses and farmlands.

Now, the residents have fled from their homes to neighbouring communities in Nasarawa, Plateau and Abuja. Those who do not have anywhere to go are now taking refuge at a primary school.

Emergency agencies have deployed officials to provide them with relief materials pending when they will go back to their homes.

Godgodo, death toll, Kaduna
Residents of attacked communities are fleeing in their numbers

This is the same situation in other communities in Sanga, Kaura and Jemaa Local Government Areas since the renewed attacks in those places by suspected herdsmen.

Most worrisome is that majority of the communities do not have access roads, a situation that makes rescue operations difficult during emergency situations.

The State Deputy Governor, Mr Bala Bantex, in company of Secretary to the State government, Baralabe Lawal and other top government functionaries were at the area to assess the level of destruction and also condole with the victims.

On arrival, the interim chairman of Kauru Local Government, conducted the deputy governor and his entourage around the affected villages.

The deputy governor while addressing the few people that were around, urged them to live in peace with one another, stating that the government had already ordered a full scale investigation of the attacks. He said a preliminary report had been received.

He also warns mischief makers to stop politicising attacks in some parts of the state.

“We are here to condole the victims and also assess the situation on ground. We have received preliminary reports and we have already ordered for full scale investigation. We inherited the breakdown of law and order in the state but we are working day and night to restore peace in some parts of Southern Kaduna and places like Birnin Gwari.

“We are also advising people to stop politicising security issues in Kaduna. We must live in peace with one another as one of the ways of embracing peace in our communities. We call on you to reject messages of hatred and division by the mischief makers and ask that you accept peaceful messages.

“We have directed State Emergency Management Agency and they acted promptly by bringing in the relief materials to cushion the hardship of displaced people,” he told the gathering.

According to the clergymen from ECWA attacks on Southern Kaduna natives by suspected Fulani herdsmen had started since 2011.

They said that the development was a manifestation of ethnic cleansing by suspected Fulani militia.

senate-in-nigeria-chamber
The Senate has summoned the Inspector General of Police to explain why the police could not contain the attacks

While demanding for compensation for affected persons, the church also called on the Federal Government to establish an Army barracks near the affected areas in order to deter such killings in the future.

“Since the violence that followed the 2011 Presidential Election, there have been increasing indications of the existence of a desperate, well-funded, organised and executed campaign not only to make life unbearable for the entire Southern Kaduna territory through threats, intimidation and psychological warfare, but also to occupy the land through what can only be described as ethno-religious cleansing by Fulani herdsmen militia.

“This campaign has been devastating. The Attakad Community Development Association has confirmed that at least 180 people have been killed in Attakad Chiefdom, Kaura LGA, since 2013 and 10,000 persons displaced.

“Since 24 March 2013, 16 Attakad villages have been lost to the Fulani militia and Fulani men are now fully settled with their cattle and families, in Mayit, Agwom, Zakai Gira, Tunga Magwot, Telak, Zakum and Kirim. Several ECWA churches have been destroyed, along with those belonging to other denominations, and many of our members have become IDPs.

“In 2014, several communities in Sanga LGA, were invaded and hundreds of people killed by these armed herdsmen, with no apparent provocation. In an indication of their underlying religious hostility and motivation, churches are usually prime targets.

“To further buttress the assertion that there is an orchestrated plan to drive our members and other indigenes out of these parts of Southern Kaduna, it appears that the next stage will involve the full take over, Godogodo Chiefdom, in Jema’a LGA. Part of Godogodo town, Ninte, Akwa, Ungwar Anjo, Gada Biyu have been overrun and occupied by the Fulani. Churches in these villages are laid to waste after being burnt.

“It is deeply shocking that in the 21 Century, not only are Fulani militia carrying out a campaign of forced displacement and occupation reminiscent of previous centuries, but also that this is occurring so blatantly under the full gaze of a succession of modern, democratically elected governments,” Reverend Gado stated.

Fled For Safety

The church heads further said that they were aware that the Kaduna State Government, through the Nigeria Police and Nigerian Army were currently arresting their members, including Royal Fathers, on trumped up charges while the Fulani who have publicly taken responsibility for this carnage are walking free.

“We therefore request that Abdullahi Hassan Mohammed, Ahmad M. Yandeh and Abdulhamid Musa, be arrested and be made to produce those who are behind this grim sin against man and God. Failure to do so would be a clear indication that the Kaduna State Government has taken sides in this matter.

“We also acknowledge the gesture of Kaduna state governor in offering 100 million Naira for the rebuilding of churches and mosques in Southern Kaduna destroyed through violence. We wonder who would be worshiping in these churches, since most of the worshippers have fled for safety or do not even have homes anymore to live in.

“We appeal to the Kaduna State government, in the interests of justice, peace and security, to respect the wishes of the electorate of Southern Kaduna and their elected representatives and stop the creation of grazing reserves in the area, especially since this is tantamount to rewarding perpetrators of murder, arson and destruction for their crimes.

“As perpetrators continue to evade consequences for their illegal and violent actions, impunity and lawless are becoming entrenched, to the detriment of the entire state.

“We therefore call on the State and Federal governments to restore all occupied areas to their rightful owners. Failure to do so will not only encourage further lawlessness; it may also eventually compel the owners of these villages to resort to forceful means to recover their ancestral and only God given lands.

“We appeal for compensation for affected persons, and for relief materials to be provided to the displaced,” Reverend Gado added.

Reacting to the allegation at a separate briefing, the Kaduna State chapter of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, disassociated its members from the recent attacks.

cattle-in-abuja
Challenges of specific grazing area for herders is seen in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, as cows disrupt human activities

Instead, the leader of the Group, Abdullahi Mohammed, claimed that several Fulani herdsmen and their relatives were the main victims in all the attacks, with many of them killed by suspected indigenes of Southern Kaduna.

He attributed the lingering crisis in the area to include, failure of government to implement recommendations of past probe panels reports, deliberate encroachment of gazetted grazing reserves and routes by local farmers and partisanship of security operatives among other causes.

“Nigerians need to be informed that the recent ongoing clashes between the Fulani herdsmen and tribal farmers in Godogodo Chiefdom of Jema’a Local Government, Kaduna state have received widespread publicity in both electronics and print media and, the episode was specifically tabled at the National Assembly by the elected Representatives from Southern Kaduna.

“Unfortunately, what were published and discussed was one-sided story resulting in the virtual condemnation of the Fulani herdsmen without given them a fair hearing.

“Of recent, and almost across the country, no one bothers to listen to the plight of the Fulani herdsmen. As the decision to condemn them have been overwhelming, in a manner of heads loose, tails-loose situation.

“Therefore, the clear message is, anytime the herdsmen and their animals were attacked, killed or maimed under whatever situation, they have no right to complain not to talk of defending themselves, they are always seen as the aggressors,” he highlighted.

According to reports, over 1,500 households were affected since the escalation of the attacks early this year while many are still hospitalised.

This worrisome figure made the Senate consider the issue and summoned the Inspector General of Police to brief the lawmakers on the situation in southern Kaduna.

The renewed attacks no doubt have devastated so many communities and affected socio economic activities in southern part of Kaduna state.

As both parties continue to trade words, government appeal that this is not time for blame game or politicize the killing of innocent souls. Rather, It is time to forge greater unity to ensure the triumph of good over evil.

Godogodo Village Attack: Death Toll Rises To 44

godogodo, death toll, kadunaThe death toll from the attack on Godogodo village in Kaduna state, northwest Nigeria has risen from 20 to 44.

Gunmen invaded Godogodo village on Saturday night, shooting sporadically and setting buildings ablaze.

At least 20 people were killed and property destroyed during the attack. This led to the imposition of a dusk to dawn curfew in the village in Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna state.

But during a visit to the area by the state government officials, led by the Deputy Governor, Mr Bala Bantex, the residents revealed that the armed men unleashed violence again on the community early on Monday.

They accused security agents of not responding quickly to the numerous calls for help by the residents while the violence lasted.

Meanwhile the state government has promised to alleviate the suffering of the victims, through the intervention of the National and State Emergency Management Agencies.

The state’s Deputy Governor, Bala Bantex, advised residents to remain calm, just as government officials began an assessment of the extent of damage done.

Govt. Imposes 24-Hour Curfew After Gunmen Killed 20 Persons In Kaduna

Attack on Community in KadunaAt least 20 persons have been killed and property destroyed in an attack by unknown armed bandits on Godogodo village in Jemaa Local Government Area of Kaduna State in northern Nigeria.

An indigene of the local government told Channels Television, that the gunmen invaded Godogodo village On Saturday night shooting sporadically and setting buildings ablaze.

“In the process they killed 20 persons while several others were injured,” the indigene said.

“The entire community has been deserted. Residents have fled from their homes for fear of being attacked by the armed bandits,” he added.

The gunmen were said to have also ambushed a police patrol team in the area on Friday evening, opened fire on them and in the process killed two policemen and injured one.

The spokesman for the police in the state, Aliyu Usman, confirmed the attack to Channels Television’s correspondent, Chimezie Enyiocha.

He says the State Police Command is assessing the situation to ascertain the number of casualties.

More mobile and conventional policemen have been deployed to Godogodo, Kafanchan and other neighbouring communities to restore order and prevent further escalation of the crisis.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

In the meantime, a dusk to dawn curfew has been imposed in the affected areas by the interim Chairman of Jemaa Local Government Area, Mr Humble Katuka, until normalcy returns to the area.

In his reaction to the attack, the State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, described the incident as barbaric, inhumane and unwarranted.

Speaking through his Deputy, Mr Bala Bantex, the governor appealed to residents of the community to remain calm and law abiding, assuring them that the government would do everything within its powers to restore peace in the area.

He also cautioned them not to embark in any form of reprisal attacks.

Communities in Jemaa Local Government and Sanga Local Government Areas in Kaduna State have witnessed series of attacks that have left scores of people dead.

In August this year, gunmen attacked three villages, Godogodo, Akwa’a and Anguwan Anjo.

Eleven persons were killed in that attack, with several houses and farmlands destroyed.

Military To Develop Locally-Made Equipment To Fight Terror

Military To Develop Locally-Made Equipment To Fight TerrorThe Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olanishakin, says the Nigerian military will no longer depend solely on foreign technology in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgents in the north-east and other security challenges confronting the nation.

Instead, he said the military would partner with research institutions in Nigeria to develop locally-made military equipment that would assist in tackling some of the challenges.

General Olanishakin stated this during a seminar on Research and Development and launching of a 15-year Strategic Plan by the Nigerian Air Force in Kaduna State.

The strategic plan will last between 2015 to 2030.

He identified lack of synergy among the stakeholders as largely responsible for the technological backwardness of Nigeria over the years.

The military boss hinted that the introduction of the Research and Development plan was in line with the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to the military to commence domestic production of weapons for use by the Nigerian Armed Forces.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, was of the view that developing local technologies would enable the nation acquire some degree of independence from external politics.

He also stressed that with an enabling environment and proper synergy between the military and civilian populace, home-based technological independence is achievable.

The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, who was represented at the event by his Deputy, Bala Bantex, highlighted that the Nigerian Air Force deserved better attention in the areas of manpower development and equipment.

He commended the efforts of the Air Force in curbing terrorism in the north-east and cattle rustling in some parts of the northern region.

The seminar affords the military the opportunity to interact with distinguished scholars towards accomplishing technological milestones and legacies that would be beneficial to the Nigerian Air Force and the nation at large.

It is expected that at end of the event, participants would come up with critical ideas towards forging a better relationship in the areas of research and innovation.

Nigerian Army Pulls Out 33 Generals

nigeria armyThirty-three retired Generals of the Nigerian Army Corps of Artillery were on Friday pulled out of service in Kaduna State, North-west Nigeria.

The retired officers comprise of 12 Major-Generals and 21 Brigadier Generals, including a former General Officer Commanding 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Lawrence Jokotola.

In a valedictory speech, Major-General Jokotola, who spoke on behalf of the retired generals, expressed hope that the current security challenges in the Northeast are surmountable if only the old ideals of military training, good administration and discipline are maintained.

He commended the Army authorities for re-engaging a number of its retired officers to serve as consultants and instructors at the Nigerian Army School of Artillery (NASA), Kachia in Kaduna State, stating that such sharing of knowledge and expertise will be of immense benefit to the serving officers.

The Generals retired between 2005 and 2013, having served for the mandatory 35 years in service.

Having served their fatherland meritoriously, the officers were formally pulled out at a colourful ceremony that was attended by their friends and family members.

Despite the heavy downpour, a colourful match past and parade were held in honour of the retired Generals.

General Jokotola, in his speech, pledged that the retired officers would continue to keep the Nigerian Flag high by providing timely, accurate and effective fire support in the fight against all forms of external and internal aggression.

The General urged the serving military personnel to continue to be loyal, extra-vigilant, and however expressed the conviction that the Nigerian military would overcome the current security challenges in the country.

Other retirees also expressed their gratitude to the Army and Nigerians for the opportunity to serve the nation.

The Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Mr Bala Bantex, who represented the state Governor, Nasir El-Rufai at the occasion, commended the effort of officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces in trying to restore peace to all troubled parts of the country.

Kaduna APC Members Reject State Congress Result

apc 2Members of the All Progressives Congress in Kaduna State on Tuesday rejected the result of last Saturday’s state congress which produced a two time member of the House of Representatives, Mr Bala Bantex as the state party chairman.

Addressing journalists at the party secretariat on behalf of other chairmanship aspirants, Mr Joshua Ephraim, one of the aspirants,  explained that the results of the congress that were announced by the state congress committee did not in any way reflect the wishes of the delegates who voted during the exercise.

Describing the entire exercise as a charade, he insisted that the election should be cancelled by the party’s national leadership to give room for a fresh congress where delegates would freely elect party officials of their choice.

The battle for the soul of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna State had assumed dimensions hitherto unimagined. Although it existed in the realm of speculation and hushed gossips, recent events had shown the feud was real and may have just begun.

After the controversial state congress, aggrieved APC members and aspirants alleged fraudulent activities in the conduct of the congress and accused the party’s Deputy National Secretary, Mallam Nasril El-Rufai and some APC national assembly members of conniving with the congress committee to manipulate the election to their favour.

Amidst the festering crisis, another aspirant and a former chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in the state, Senator Lawal Aliyu, also expressed disappointment with the outcome of the state congress, and expressed fear that if nothing was done by the party to urgently resolve the lingering political crisis, it might spell doom for the party in 2015 elections.

However, the newly elected Chairman of the party, Mr Bala Bantex, described the election that brought him and other officials into office as keenly contested as well as free and fair. He urged the other aspirants to bury their grievances and join hands with him in order to move the party forward, adding that his emergence as Chairman would propel APC to victory in 2015 elections.

Ahead of the 2015 poll, tension is already enveloping the state. Indications are also rife that it could cast shadows on the acclaimed modest successes recorded by the APC in the state, if not properly handled.

With barely two days to the its national convention, observers say unresolved issues emanating from state chapters of the APC, like the case of Kaduna,  would determine the success or failure of the convention.