By; AMOS TAUNA, Kaduna
The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), has said that the recent directives by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government through the National Broadcast Commission (NBC) to ban reportage on terror attacks and activities of bandits and kidnappers by the broadcast media is a conspiracy to silence or a deliberate attempt by the government to downplay the severity of the atrocities and genocides being perpetrated by the suspected Fulani militias in their communities.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, the President of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, Comrade Jonathan Asake said, “From all observable indices, there appears to be a conspiracy of silence or a deliberate attempt by the government to downplay the severity of the atrocities and genocides being perpetrated by these attackers across our communities.This conspiracy against our people may have led to the government’s directive through the National Broadcast Commission (NBC) to bar reportage on terror attacks and activities of bandits and kidnappers by the broadcast media.”
Speaking on the ongoing attacks in Southern Kaduna, particularly in Atyap Chiefdom, Comrade Asake noted that there seems to be a recurring vicious circle of violence meted on their communities that always coincides with the commencement of the raining season which has often culminated into massive destruction of lives and property, including displacement of thousands of people.
He explained that last year when the raining season commenced in May, there were massive onslaughts of genocidal proportion across Southern Kaduna communities, particularly in Chikun, Kajuru, Kachia, Kaura, Kauru, Sanga, Jema’a and Zangon Kataf LGAs, adding that these assaults left in their trail death, destruction and displacements, with a huge humanitarian crisis.
He added, “Again, this year, with the commencement of another raining season, the onslaughts have resumed which coincides with the period when our farming communities need to be on their farms. With particular reference are the recent attacks on communities in Zangon Kataf LGA where no fewer than 100 persons have been massacred within seven days, 12 villages completely decimated and over 90 percent of Atyap land deserted by inhabitants over fears of frightening uncertainties.”
Comrade Asake lamented that it is a deliberate and carefully planned and executed agenda aimed at destroying the totality of the livelihoods of their people by destroying farmlands, their homes, property, including closing down of schools and destruction of churches and displacement of our communities, thereby resulting into thousands of their people fleeing to Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps as refugees in their ancestral lands.
According to him, the recent atrocities unleashed on several Zangon Kataf communities, the usual armed Fulani militia left their communities with tales of horror and sorrow as it sneaked into Kibori village in the wee hours of July 8, 2021 where they slaughtered a widow, her three children and grandchild.
He explained that on July 11, 2021, the attackers invaded Badawa village in Gora ward where they killed four Amawa natives and razed almost the entire settlement, adding that the family home of the paramount ruler of the Atyap people, Agwatyap Dominic Yahaya, in Magamiya was attacked and scores were killed just as they burned down a Catholic Church in the village.
Comrade Asake added that from there, the assailants moved to Matyei where they looted foodstuff and household items before burning down over 150 homes, including another Catholic Church. Seven cars and 15 motorcycles were also burnt down.
“The vicious attackers moved to the home town of former ECOMOG field commander, Major General Shekari Billiyock (retired) where they bombed his home in Abuyab village. Also, the Warkan community under Gora ward was attacked in which 10 people were killed as the village was looted and 20 cows rustled and no fewer than 11 homes reduced to rubble,” he lamented.
He said, “It is pertinent to note that surviving victims of these horrendous attacks have testified that the armed Fulani attackers were seen accompanied by men in army camouflage riding in Hilux vans painted in military colours who teamed up with the Fulani attackers, using sophisticated weapons to bomb some homes, especially that of the paramount ruler and the former ECOMOG field commander.”
He explained that the people of Southern Kaduna find it strange to explain how government is unwilling to tackle banditry and kidnappings in the North, but at the same time hasty in deploying full intelligence and military force against Southern and Middle Belt activists that are engaged in one form of agitation, criminality or otherwise.
He called on the military authorities to investigate claims by attacked villagers over alleged involvement of their personnel that may have compromised their neutrality so as to preserve the reputation and confidence Nigerians have in them.
Comrade Asake noted that government must set up machinery to bring the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to book, return displaced communities to their homelands, rehabilitate and compensate displaced persons.
He urged government to build IDP camps and direct NEMA, SEMA, among other agencies, to provide relief materials to displaced people.
He called on the government to facilitate the formation of Civilian JTF across their communities to forestall incidences of fake security personnel going into our communities to unleash terror attacks on our people.
The President also called on relevant security agencies to carry their out a cordon-and-search operation in the Hausa-Fulani settler community of Zangon Kataf town where these attackers are said to operate from as it was done in Ladduga in 2014 with a view to retrieving deadly weapons in their possessions.
He believed that it is their considered view that the intractable security situation is due to the unwillingness by Governor el-Rufai to tackle the security challenges headlong, and therefore, called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on Kaduna State.
He also called on the Federal Government to immediately declare these armed Fulani Herdsmen, Kidnappers, bandits or whatever name they parade they are called as Terrorists.