Police Disrupt Protest over Herdsmen Attacks in Southern Kaduna


Clash with BBOG co-convener, as group accuses El-Rufai of persecution
State government lifts curfew in LGAs
Paul Obi in Abuja and John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Nigerian Police on Tuesday disrupted a rally organised by the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) against the incessant cases of herdsmen attacks on the area.

The attacks which have led to the brutal murder of hundreds of persons and destruction of properties worth billions of naira have continued unabated despite assurance by government at all levels to quell them.
The rally and solidarity walk which took place at the Fountain Unity, beside Transcorp Hilton in Abuja was abruptly disrupted by a team of policemen led by Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Arungwa Nwazue.

On the arrival of the detachment of the team of policemen from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) command, Nwazue directly confronted journalists covering the rally, and attempted to smash recorders and cameras.
Nwazue asked: “Did the police authorities tell you they are aware of what they are doing here? This is a public place. I warned you to leave, if you don’t leave, whatever happens to you, you are on your own.

“Don’t say go ahead, put this thing in the purse. Which gathering is this? Which press conference, and called by who? Who is Southern Kaduna?
“Is this process known to us? You will not do your work here. Is what you people doing known to the police? Do you think you can come and stay here? Put it on purse right away, remove the camera.”
During the altercation with the journalists, Nwazue ordered his men to use maximum force on Southern Kaduna indigenes and journalists covering the rally.

The police also clashed with the Co-convener of Bring Back our Girls (BBOG) campaign, Aisha Yesufu, who came to show solidarity with SOKAPU members.
Speaking about Nwazue’s role in the disruption of the rally, she said: “He just came in here with his men and his guns, he is not different from Shekau (probably referring to the Islamic sect leader), because that is exactly what Shekau does-to intimidate and kill people. We shall not be intimidated. If they refuse to obey the law, we will obey the law.”
The police boss further reached out to his men and threatened: “In the presence of policemen, these people are doing this, I will deal with you.”

Meanwhile, SOKAPU President,
Solomon Musa, explained that the present situation in the area remains “a dark and gloomy tragedy that has been hanging over our state, especially in Southern Kaduna.
“We wish to restate that Southern Kaduna has been under the clutches of wicked, mindless, heartless and murderous armed terrorists.”
Musa stated that “he has also raised defences/explanations for each attack carried out on the Southern Kaduna people and justifies same as reprisal.”

While calling for the resignation of the state Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, since “he cannot uphold his first and most important responsibility of protecting the lives and property of citizens, especially in Southern Kaduna,” the group called for “the immediate arrest and prosecution of members of the Miyyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) who have openly confessed to participating in ‘reprisal’ killings”
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Government has completely lifted the curfew in Jema’a and Kaura Local Government Areas in the southern part of the state.

The state government had imposed curfew in the area following persistent attacks on communities and killings allegedly by herdsmen.
Samuel Aruwan, the spokesman of Governor Nasir El-Rufai, in a statement yesterday, said the decision to lift the 12 hour curfew in the affected areas was taken at the weekly security meeting of the State Security Council which held yesterday at the Government House, Kaduna.

The statement said the security situation security in the area had improved following the launch of a military operation code named “Harbin Kunama II” by the Nigerian army about two weeks ago.
Yesterday’s meeting, according to Aruwan, “received and reviewed reports from the security agencies which pointed to improvements in the security situation.
“Therefore the council upheld the security recommendation that the curfew be removed with immediate effect.

“The State Security Council expressed the hope that all communities in the area will embrace the opportunities offered by the improved security situation to make sustained moves for peace and harmony.
“Governor El-Rufai, tasked security agencies to maintain the tempo by ensuring security of life and property throughout the state,” the statement said.
The security council meeting, which was presided over by El-Rufai, had in attendance, Commander, 1 Division Garrison, Nigerian Army, Brig-Gen Ismaila Isa, Commander 453 Base Services Group, Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Idi Amin, representative of the Commandant, Nigerian Navy School of Armament, Capt. SM Ochidi, Commissioner of Police, Mr. Agyole Abeh, Director DSS, Tijjani Mohammed Wakil and heads of other security agencies.