By Deji Elumoye
The Southern and Middle Belt leaders have condemned the current wave of killings in the southern part of Kaduna.
The leaders, under the aegis of Southern and Middle Belt Forum (SMBLF), expressed concern by the latest wave of killings in southern Kaduna which, according to Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), have claimed 63 lives.
The Forum, in a joint statement signed by Yinka Odumakin (South-west), Chief Guy Ikokwu (South-east), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-south) and Dr Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), stressed that it is quite worrisome that the orgy of killings has continued in spite of the curfew imposed by the Kaduna State Government.
The leaders therefore called on the federal government to wade into the crisis “and stop the killings, bring the perpetrators to book and stop making statements seeming to justify the killings and deceive the world about the situation in the area as only bloody minded people will refuse to heed this advice now”.
The one-page release issued on Sunday stated inter alia: “In the past weeks, there have been reports of killings, especially in the southern part of Kaduna State with the most recent massacres at Kukum Daji and Gora Gan put at 33 deaths, aside from the scores who are in hospitals receiving treatment from various degrees of gunshots.
“However, instead of the Buhari-led Federal Government of Nigeria stepping in to find a lasting solution in the midst of tardiness by the state government, it is unfortunate that it has resorted to provocative statements. One of such is the annoying claims credited to the Senior Special Assistant (Media & Publicity) to the President of Nigeria, Malam Garba Shehu, on the 21st July 2020 that ‘the problem in southern Kaduna is an evil combination of politically-motivated banditry, revenge killings and mutual violence by criminal gangs acting on ethnic and religious grounds’.
“As if the above confusion is not enough, Garba Shehu further misinformed the Nigerian and the international communities that ‘southern Kaduna enjoys comprehensive security deployments, including the Army, Special Forces of both the Army and the Air Force, surveillance aircraft by the Air Force and mobile police units that are on the ground on a 24-hour basis to forestall criminality and keep the peace’.
“These are not responsible statements from any government in the midst of body bags daily being counted by the people of southern Kaduna in the hands of alleged Fulani marauders.”