KADUNA State Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i has offered a three-step solution to end killings in Southern Kaduna – a Christian-dominated settlement that has been constantly invaded by suspected herdsmen.
The governor said calming frayed nerves, prosecuting culprits and building peace are ways to go in healing injuries precipitated by the renewed crisis, which recently led to the destruction of lives and properties.
El-Rufa’i, who spoke yesterday on Sunrise Daily, a live programme on Channels TV, described the Southern Kaduna killings as a “reprisal” from trans-human pastoralists from outside Nigeria, saying some arrested suspects who participated in the carnage were helping security agencies in investigations.
He said: “We have studied these problems and we think the solution is in three-step. We are very clear in our mind that, that is the way to go. Based on previous experience and the study of the situation on the ground, and based on what Peace and Intelligence experts have told us; the first step is to restore peace and normalcy to the affected Local Government Areas through enhanced security and military deployment…
“The second step is to prosecute all those involved. We have made significant arrest; the police have paraded some of these suspects. Some have not been paraded because we have not got the entire gang… Most of those we have arrested now are local Fulani and the Southern Kaduna people, because they were also blocking highways and killing innocent people. We have both (groups) in custody… and we are getting closer to arresting the masterminds.
“The third step is the peace building. We need to bring the communities together, because no matter how many policemen and armed forces you put in a place like Southern Kaduna, which has scattered communities, there would be no peace unless people agree to live in peace.”
El-Rufa’i said there are people directly living of the crisis, accusing political and religious leaders for making gains out of the killings.
He said: “There people, believe it or not, that have been living of this (crisis). Subsequent events and prosecutions would reveal this. As I speak, we are aware of some church leaders that have been getting money from abroad to bury Christians that have killed and to re-build thousands of churches that are being destroyed. Because, the more they put these pictures on social media and give the impression that Christians are being targeted, the more the funds flow in.”
The governor cautioned political and church leaders in Southern Kaduna sending a “narrative of exclusion” to desist from making divisive statement.
He said: “There are political and church leaders in Southern Kaduna sending a narrative of exclusion that, only indigenes should live in that part; that only people of particular religion should live there. Unless people agree to live in peace, we will not have peace.
“No peace is possible without justice and foundations of law enforcement. What we have seen in Southern Kaduna is a result of impunity. People came and destroy property for 37 years and no one has ever been prosecuted.”
On the allegation that some traditional rulers and local government chairmen might be part of the problem, he said: “We are working closely with traditional rulers, but I want to tell you that some of them are part of the problems. We are prosecuting some of them. There was a case of policemen who went to Nasarawa State for an investigation. On coming back, they met a checkpoint manned by Southern Kaduna youths who killed four policemen and took their rifles. When the police investigated the matter, a traditional ruler handed over the rifles to police investigators. And we said, where are those people that gave him the riffles? Those are the killers. The traditional ruler refused. We are charging him for murder.”