- Says only irresponsible people can recklessly dismiss deaths of community members with whom they have no contact
By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kaduna State Government has condemned what it described as attempts by some ‘busybodies’ to deny the killings of 66 people in fulani settlements in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state.
Apparently reacting to the controversies that have continued to trail the announcement of the killings on Friday, the eve of the suspended Presidential elections, the state government in a statement on Sunday “condemned in the strongest terms attempts to politicise the killings.”
Several groups, including former National Chairman of the Human Rights Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, had raised eyebrows over the killings. Odinkalu had maintained that the death figures were cooked up and had challenged the governor to prove it.
Samuel Aruwan, spokesman to Governor Nasir el-Rufai, who signed the statement, said the “Kaduna State Government notes the concerted and apparently coordinated efforts by bigoted busy bodies to deny the Kajuru killings, or to minimise the casualty figures, and the specious arguments being deployed in this despicable quest”
According to the statement: “Only irresponsible and insensitive people can recklessly dismiss the deaths of members of a community with whom they have no contact.
“Private individuals and unelected actors cannot be allowed to reduce weighty matters of state security to the province of their limited networks, inexperienced lenses and narrow agendas.”
The statement added that “the government of a state cannot be detained by parochial, ethno-religious, partisan or electoral calculations from doing its duty to provide security, confirm incidents of security breaches, take steps to reassure affected communities and ensure that perpetrators are arrested and brought to justice”.
Aruwan also said the governor visited scenes of the killings on Saturday.
He did not however say whether the places visited by the governor included both the fulani and adara communities affected in the conflict.
The statement said the General Officer, Commanding 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Maj. Gen. Farouk Yahaya,
briefed el-Rufai on the recovery of 66 corpses by soldiers in the Maro and Iri axis of Kajuru local government.
The governor, according to the statement, was accompanied on the trip by Major-General Faruk Yahaya, GOC 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Air Cmdr. I. Sani of the Nigerian Air Force, Police Commissioner Ahmad Abdurrahman and State Director of the SSS, A.I. Koya. as well as the chairman of Kajuru local government council, Cafra Caino.
The statement added that during the visit on Saturday, the governor warned against reprisals and urged communities to shun violence and respect the right of everyone to live in peace.
“Gen. Yahaya briefed the governor on the recovery of 66 corpses by soldiers in the Maro and Iri axis of Kajuru local government.
“The General conducted the governor around the scenes of the crime which were littered with the burnt wrecks of buildings and dead animals.
“Police Commissioner Ahmad Abdurrahman confirmed that some arrests had been made in connection with the incident and that the suspects will be charged to court as soon as investigations are completed.
“Before visiting the scene of the killings, the governor, accompanied by the security chiefs, stopped in Kasuwan Magani for a meeting with village heads and community leaders from Kajuru LGA” the statement said.