By John Shiklam
The Southern Kaduna Elders Forum (SOKAF) led by Gen. Zamani Lekwot (rtd), a former military governor of old Rivers State, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take urgent steps to stop the killings and wanton destruction in the area.
In a statement on Tuesday in Kaduna, the forum said it cannot continue sitting and folding its arms in the face of continued violence that portends a bleak future for generations yet unborn.
The statement signed by Elder Peter Buba, the secretary of the forum, also urged the president to call the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, to order.
Buba said: “Southern Kaduna has been in the eye of the storm over the incessant attacks and massive destruction of lives and property in the past few weeks. As elders of the area and indeed Kaduna State, we are greatly disturbed by the unfolding tragedy ripping across our land.
“We cannot therefore, afford to continue sitting and folding our arms in the face of the continued violence that portends a bleak future for future generations.”
The elders commended the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), an umbrella body for ethnic nationalities in the area, saying: “We have come to acknowledge SOKAPU as the voice and hope for Southern Kaduna. And we call on our people to support SOKAPU for the good work it has been doing.
“As everyone knows, in their oaths of office, Mr. President and all the 36 state governors undertook to create a conducive environment for the peaceful co-existence of all citizens irrespective of creed, religious or ethnic, to ensure a seamless development and healthy growth of our country, given the fact that we have lived together in an integrated and symbiotic manner until the brutal invasion of our communities by those who government have come to confirm as foreign Fulani.
“What is happening in Southern Kaduna today and by extension some states of the federation is at variance with the above laudable objective.”
The elders appealed to Buhari “to urgently intervene in a more effective way, given the magnitude and rapid spread of the killings, especially in the past five weeks, notwithstanding the 24 hours curfew imposed by the state governor”.
“More troops and equipment should be deployed to Southern Kaduna to battle the situation urgently just as was done in Birnin Gwari and Katsina State,” the statement added.
The elders also urged President Buhari to call Governor el-Rufai “to order to live up to the tenets of his office being the Chief Security Officer of the state on this serious destruction of lives and property of citizens”.
“What is more, he (el-Rufai) once publicly confirmed the knowledge of where the bandits come from and even paid them money to stop the killings which still persists on a massive scale.
“All in all, the heartless destruction of lives and property in Chikun, Kajuru Zangon Kataf, Kauru, Kaura, Sanga and Jema’a LGAs, despite the curfew, is a serious embarrassment which should worry the power that be.
“The time for government to justify the confidence reposed in it by the people is therefore, overdue,” the statement said.