Southern Kaduna: Abdulsalami, Sultan, Kukah Wade in, Meet El-Rufai

  •  Retired military generals from zone also discuss with governor

By John Shiklam in Kaduna

Former head of state, Gen. Abubakar Abdulsalami (rtd), the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar II and the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Rev. Matthew Kukah yesterday visited the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai at the Government House, Kaduna, in a bid to resolve the raging crisis in the southern part of the state.

During the visit, they held a closed-door meeting with the governor, during which they were briefed about the crisis that led to the killings of many people and destruction of property worth billions of Naira in the trouble area.

Before the meeting with Abdulsalami and co, retired military generals from Southern Kaduna, led by the former Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Martins Luther Agwai had met with the governor on the way forward to ending the crisis.

Agwai was the chairman of the 16-member committee set up by El-Rufai in June 2015 to find solutions to the incessant killings in the southern part of the state.

Speaking in an interview with journalists shortly after their meeting with the governor, Abdulsalami said their visit was due to recent happenings in southern Kaduna.

He disclosed that his group would also hold a meeting within the week with all stakeholders in Southern Kaduna, especially traditional rulers, religious and community leaders as well as visit the areas affected by the crisis.

“We are here due to the recent happenings in Southern Kaduna. And from here within the week, we are going to meet with other stakeholders, religious leaders, the chiefs in the area and also visit the site where these problems are and discuss with the people. After which we will now sit down and see what we think should be done.

“Then we will return to the governor and also if necessary to the federal government. Considering that these clashes and killings are not only limited to Kaduna State, it is something that is engulfing the country.

“So we want to make sure that peace reigns in Nigeria; to make sure that people know that we are together. We have to live in peace with each other and we have what it is to give and take. We are reaching a situation in the country where human live doesn’t mean anything to people and this is wrong.

“There is no religion on earth or anywhere that preaches violence. So this is why we are here today. We thank the governor and his team for receiving us. One of the points that the governor drew our attention to is the way people take laws into their hands and they go scot free. And this impunity must be checked. These are some of the issues we discussed.

“Everybody is aggrieved in one way or the other. So, what we beg of people is to be patient; try as much as possible to forgive and to be each other’s keeper. We must live together, we must find solution to the problems, and to sit down and talk to ourselves because there is no problem that cannot be solved when you are talking,” Abdulsalami said.

Also speaking after the meeting, Bishop Kukah who is from the southern part of Kaduna State said the meeting was to find out what is happening in Southern Kaduna, with a view to finding solutions to the problem.

“I think the visit is more of solidarity with the people of Kaduna State.  We are here to hear for ourselves what exactly is happening and what we can do with the hope that we can find a way forward based on the situation.

“We are part of the delegation. I convened the peace committee and what we are doing now is to try to bring about peace. We are looking at how we can achieve peace and stability.

“I think what the people of Kaduna State, including the government should be doing now is looking into how we can achieve peace and development and I think that is the reason we have democracy.

“What is going on now is a very sad phase in our history, but I believe that we can get over it and we will get over it and come out much more stronger and committed to peace,” Kukah said.

According to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), over 800 people have been killed in Southern Kaduna by rampaging herdsmen in the last few months. Scores of homes and school buildings have also been destroyed.

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