John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Chief of Army Staff (CoAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, yesterday laid the foundation for the establishment of a military unit in Kafanchan, headquarters of Jama’a local government area of Kaduna state, to tackle the security challenges that have bedevilled the southern part of the state.
The Federal government, had in the wake of the latest killings in the troubled area, promised to establish a military battalion in the area.
Speaking at the ceremony, which was attended by the state governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Buratai said the establishment of unit was informed by the outcome of a threat assessment analysis. He said the unit, which will later be upgraded to a battalion, is aimed at providing internal security to southern Kaduna.
Buratai disclosed that the army will be coming to Southern Kaduna for a special military exercise between March and April to consolidate on the achievements recorded in the area of security. “The exercise is a basic military exercise that will further consolidate our achievements recorded in internal security”, he said.
The Army chief appealed to the people of the area for support during the exercise. He explained that the unit would first serve as an operating base, to be upgraded later to a battalion.
He said, “We are committed to the overall peace in Southern Kaduna”, adding that some of those causing the problems are not Nigerians and therefore people should not allow foreigners to cause conflicts among them.
Tukur, who had earlier visited the chief of Kagoro, Dr. Ufuwai Bonet and the Emir of Jama’a, Alhaji Mohammed Isah Mohammed II in their places in Kagoro and Kafanchan respectively, called on the people to live in peace with one another.
“We know there are issues; we hope the issues will quickly come to an end. It has started coming down. There is need for a more lasting solution to the problem which all the stakeholders are working to achieve.
“We are not supposed to be seen among the civil populace unless if there are internal security challenges to be contained. I just came from Ninte (the village where the current crisis started), I saw the people there and I spoke with them on the need to live in peace with one another.”
“There is a long historical connection; you cannot separate the herders from farmers. It is a long time history; the better we live in peace, the better for all of us. We are here to keep the peace; we are not to take side in the conflict. We want to ensure that there is peace so that people will go about their normal businesses”, the army chief said.
In his remarks during the ceremony, Governor El-Rufai said the foundation-laying event of the military unit was a promise fulfilled.
“When we were campaigning, we promised that a military formation would be established to tackle the security challenges in Southern Kaduna. We are expecting another military formation to be established in Kachia. This will enhance security in the state”, he said.
El-Rufai assured that the state government would provide all necessary assistance to the Army including provision of temporary accommodation pending completion of construction facilities for the unit.
The governor reiterated his determination to bring all those responsible for the southern Kaduna killings to book, declaring that the current crisis in the area would be the very last in the state.