By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKPU) has said that Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s comments on the killings in communities in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state was deliberately orchestrated to inflame ethnic and religious violence.
Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command Yakubu Sabo has said that the police commissioner, Ahmad Abdulrahman, will give an update on the Kajuru crisis on Sunday.
SOKAPU, in a statement by its spokesman in Kaduna, Yakubu Kuzamani, accused the governor of “promoting violence through spreading hate speech for the advancement of his waning political survival”.
The spokesman of the governor, Samuel Aruwan, had on Friday, the eve of the postponed presidential and National Assembly elections, announced that 66 people were killed in eight Fulani communities in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state.
The statement said security agencies recovered the bodies of women and children, most of whom were the victims.
While commenting on the killings on Friday on Channels Television, Governor el-Rufai said the 66 people killed were Fulanis.
His comments had attracted various comments with Chidi Odinkalu saying that the governor’s claims are false and politically motivated.
SOKAPU also expressed shock over the governor’s statement, saying: “We are at a loss as to the real motive behind the governor’s disclosure, made public less than 24 hours before the commencement of national polls that were postponed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”
The union said: “El-Rufai’s comments over the Kajuru killings was deliberately orchestrated to inflame ethnic and religious sentiments to produce yet another cycle of bloodshed.”
SOKAPU said it had reached out to the various community leaders in Kajuru, including officials of the Adara nation to ascertain what actually happened.
Narrating its findings from the Adara leaders, SOKAPU said: “On Sunday, February 10, 2019, the Adara natives residing in Ungwar Barde in Kufana District of Kajuru Local Government Area came under attack by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen.
“The attack lasted from 10pm of Sunday to 4am of Monday, February 11, 2019. By the time the merchants of deaths and destructions were through with their mission, no fewer than 11 lives, including a pregnant woman, were lost.
“Scores of victims of the attack on Ungwar Barde sustained injuries, with some of them presently receiving treatment at some health facilities in the state capital. We have been informed that the attackers, seven of them in number, were arrested by a team of policemen.
“Sadly, not a statement was issued by el-Rufai over that gruesome attack on Ungwan Barde.”
The statement explained further that: “Following the Sunday attack on Ungwan Barde, residents of Ungwan Busa and Doruwa located in Kajuru LGA deserted their villages for safety.
“Presently, the District Head of Kufana and four of his village heads, on the directive the governor, have been summoned to Kaduna and ordered to produce persons behind the ‘reprisals’.
“However, the monarchs have told their interrogators that they are unaware of any ‘reprisals’ and, therefore, unable to identify persons behind such attacks.
“Apart from the 11 corpses of Adara natives that were killed during the Sunday attack, the community leaders have denied knowledge of any attack.
Arising from the above, SOKAPU is shocked at the deliberate falsehood by el-Rufai who found it convenient not to inform the world of an earlier attack that claimed the lives of 11 Adara natives.
“SOKAPU is convinced that Governor el-Rufai is on an irrevocable journey of inflaming ethnic conflagration that has always been in line with his deliberate chronicle of profiling Southern Kaduna people as favourably disposed to violence.”