- SOKAPU blames Kaduna gov for crisis
John Shiklam in Kaduna and Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The Kaduna State Police Commissioner, Ahmad Abdulrahman, has stated that he advised Governor Nasir el-Rufai against quoting figures arising from the killings in communities in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state until investigations are completed.
This is coming as the National President of the Southern Kaduna Peoples’ Union (SOKAPU), Solomon Musa, has blamed the governor for the killings in the entire southern part of Kaduna, accusing him of acting out a script.
Addressing journalists in Kaduna yesterday, the police commissioner added that the state police command cannot confirm the death figures until investigations are completed.
The death toll had been a subject of controversy in some quarters.
“I told the governor that figures in a crisis of this magnitude should be left (unquoted) until all investigations have been concluded and all the areas where we are getting information from are covered.
“You cannot come up with a figure otherwise you will quote a particular figure now and quote another later.
“This is what is happening now. As far as police is concerned, we are investigating and the investigation is still in the embryonic stage, until the time we covered all the areas, we cannot quote any figure,” the police commissioner said.
He said further that “as we speak my men are still in the bush with humanitarian workers trying to actually find out the true position of things.”
“The crisis occurred in a terrain that was full of hamlets, which were difficult to assess with our vehicles. We are still uncovering areas where nobody had visited. We are now at the stage of crisis management, which is very delicate.
“That is why nobody should stampede our investigation. If the governor tells you that the casualty figure is 200, he is just quoting figures.
“ It could be more than that or less than that. For example, the place where 36 people were said to have been buried, was not at the purview of the security agencies at the commencement of the investigation.
“We didn’t even know that something happened until when the Fulani themselves came out to tell us after we have secured the place in conjunction with the military, that they approached to accompany them to their hamlet in order to bury their dead relation.
“There was a mix-up in the assertion by the Fulani that the policemen took pictures of the corpses they buried one after another.
“That very hamlet where they talked about burying 37 corpses was discovered by the military.
“The terrain was very terrible and we could not even identify areas affected by the crisis between February 10 and 11 when it started. So, no policemen went ahead of the military.
“ It was the military that went there first to assist the native Fulani that were affected and helped them bury their dead relatives.
Meanwhile, SOKAPU has called for the exhumation of the corpses said to have been killed and buried in order to confirm the authenticity or otherwise of el-Rufai’s claims.
El-Rufai had within one week claimed that over 66 persons of Fulani extraction were killed, a figure which he said, increased to 130 within four days.
However, eyewitness accounts from the Adara and Fulani affected communities agreed that although there were killings, the number of casualties did not tally with those of the state governor who had revealed the purported killings on the eve of the postponed February 16, 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections.
Mallam Lawal Adamu, a 39-year-old Fulani who led a team of journalists, alongside his sibling, Ibrahim Lawal to the graveside where he claimed to have buried single-handed, 37 Fulanis as well as others in batches of 18, three, two, four, and seven persons, narrated how a group of unknown gunmen, whom he said are the Adara- speaking ethnic group had invaded the community to carry out the killings.
In his reaction, the National President of SOKAPU blamed the governor for the killings in the entire Southern Kaduna, accusing of acting a script.
He recalled the colossal loss of lives in a neighbouring community towards the end of 2018 in which he said the governor never deemed it fit to announce.
While calling on the federal government to take decisive action against the state governor whose tenure has become known for killings, bloodshed and the destruction of properties, Musa said what is happening was simply an act of terrorism and genocide which has been given various colourations.