John Shiklam in Kaduna
The foundation stone of a military battalion in the southern part of Kaduna state has been demolished by unknown persons barely a week after the Chief of Army Staff (CoAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, and the state governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, performed the foundation-laying ceremony.
THISDAY gathered that some unknown persons went to the proposed military barracks located at Ungwan Yashi area of Zangon, on the outskirts of Kafanchan in the night and pulled down the foundation stone.
The federal government had approved the establishment of two military units in the area to check the incessant attacks and killings that have been going on unabated in the area.
Meanwhile, governor El-Rufai has expressed disappointment over the demolition of the foundation. While reacting to the incident in a statement by his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, El-Rufai said the demolition of the foundation “further confirms that the conflict entrepreneurs are determined to continue to create obstacles and setback to our stabilisation and peace building efforts.
“I received the news with shock over the unfortunate destruction of foundation laying structure of the proposed Nigerian Army battalion in Southern Kaduna. The situation is unfortunate, condemnable and a setback to the government’s communal stabilisation and peacebuilding efforts, but we will not be deterred.
“We urge our people that cherish peaceful coexistence to continue to be resilient, focused and resolute in overcoming antics of forces of darkness and evil”, the statement quoted the governor as saying.
The statement added that those behind the demolition were determined to derail the contributions of the security agencies, having failed to spread their tentacles of hate, bigotry and penchant for divisiveness.
“I want to use this medium to appeal to all men and women of conscience to remain firm and optimistic, while government in collaboration with security agencies, civil society, religious and traditional institutions will continue to work assiduously for peace and security of life and property.
“Finally, all those that have their hands in the destruction of this structure will not go free. The security agencies will fish out the perpetrators, and those found to be involved, or engaged in omissions that led to the destruction of public property will be brought to justice without fear or favour,” the statement further quoted the governor.
Meanwhile, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), an umbrella body for ethnic nationalities in the southern part of Kaduna State, has condemned the destruction of the foundation of the military base in Kafanchan.
SOKAPU in a statement in Kaduna issued yesterday said it was saddened by the destruction of the foundation, stressing that “as an organisation that has been vigorously pursuing an increased presence of the military in an area deliberately neglected and abandoned for a long time, we totally frown on such acts of recklessness.”
The statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the union, Mr. Yakubu Kuzamani, declared that SOKAPU will not support any act of lawlessness. It urged the people of the area to abide by the laws of the land irrespective of ethnic, religious or political affiliation.
“SOKAPU stands on its quest for justice and fairness, anchored on the peaceful approach to all solution bedeviling our region and would not stand aloof and watch such acts being truncated by anyone.”
“With the one-sided speed that some in Southern Kaduna are being arrested and paraded as the ‘masterminds’ of the genocidal killings in Southern Kaduna, we urge the security agencies to ensure they get the right suspect and not some innocent people picked at random and later paraded without due investigation.
“We still reiterate our stand as a peaceful organisation, speaking for the peace-loving people of Southern Kaduna, irrespective of tribe or religion and would not stand and allow acts that could embolden our aggressors and their supporters to wrongly and mischievously continue to allude to some personality in Southern Kaduna as ‘crisis entrepreneurs,’ to stand”, the statement said.
SOKAPU had been in the forefront for the agitation for the establishment of a military formation in the Southern part of Kaduna to check the incessant attacks and killings in the area.