By John Chiklam in Kaduna
Recent claim by the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai that Muslims constitute 70 per cent of the population of the state, has pitched him against the leadership of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), an umbrella body for ethnic nationalities in the Christian dominated part of the state challenging him to produce empirical evidence to authenticate the claim.
El-Rufai was quoted as saying that Muslims had majority population of 70 per cent in the state, when he featured on Channels Television programme “Sunrise daily” aired April 6, 2016.
“Here in Kaduna we have a significant Muslim majority, 70 per cent and 30 per cent Christian minority…”the governor was quoted to have said during the television programme.
However, SOKAPU in a statement on Friday said the governor’s claims were baseless and ridiculous.
According to the statement which was signed by the President of the Union, Mr. Solomon Musa, the 2006 population census excluded questions on religion and ethnicity, wondering how the governor came to such conclusion that Muslims constituted 70 per cent of the population.
“We were both amazed and concerned at the religious ratio of 70 per cent Muslims to 30 per cent Christians that he gave on national TV.
“This is because, based on the 2006 census, there was no question asking Nigerians their religious leaning.
“So it came as a shock that Governor El-Rufai could carelessly and recklessly give the ratio of the two major religions in the state without any empirical evidence.
“That to us, this is a most unfortunate statement from a governor who is expected to know the risk of stoking the flames of religious intolerance by deliberately misleading Nigerians”, the statement said. Musa further stated that SOKAPU was gradually getting a peep into the mindset of the Governor through such utterances, alleging that some of the policies of the governor, “since assuming power have been tainted by his dangerous belief that Muslims hold the majority in the state”.
According to SOKAPU, the skewed appointments in Kaduna state, “so far are the worst that we have seen for a long time”.
He noted that for the first time, the Governor, the Minister, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), the Chief of Staff, the Principal Private Secretary, the Speaker of the House of Assembly and so many key aides of the governor were from his own stock.
“This, to us is deliberate and a true manifestation of his belief that fairness and equity shouldn’t be reflected in his administration.
“We also want to tell the Governor that he goofed when he said that no killing took place in southern Kaduna in the last six months. On March 24, 2016 Mr. Daniel was shot dead in his house around 7pm in Antor, Aboro District of Numana Chiefdom, Sanga local government area. Same March, a man was butchered in Ancha Gida, Ancha district of Ninzo chiefdom in his farm by suspected Fulani gunmen. Another man was killed last December on his farm by suspected Fulani herdsmen at Yaute, Wasa district of Numana chiefdom.
“The governor probably doesn’t consider those killings worthy of his attention since in the same interview he said the killers were victims of the 2011 crisis, and then went further to justify the killings on innocent people of Southern Kaduna by saying that the Fulani have a long memory of revenging any killings” the statement said.