SOKAPU Press Statement on the Killings in Chawai Chiefdom, Kauru LGA

Reuben Buhari – 15/11/2016

Once again we are faced with another round of unprovoked killings that have become an unfortunate recurring decimal in Southern Kaduna. It has now become abundantly clear to even the worst skeptics that Southern Kaduna has become a killing field, where genocide is taking place unabated. Clearly, our zone and our people under the support of a powerful group of terrorists that are well funded, are systemically being eradicated.

After the recent pogrom in several villages of Godogodo Chiefdom and the intermittent attacks in Pasokori and environs in Kaninkon Chiefdom all under Jema’a Local Government, that left whole villages completely burnt to the ground, Southern Kaduna was once again attacked on 13/11/2016. Without provocation the villages of Kigam, Angwan Magaji, Angwan Rimi and Kitakum all in Tsam (Chawai) Chiefdom of Kauru Local Government Area were attacked in broad daylight with over 35 people killed. The villages were burnt to the ground. No house was left standing in Kigam village. The most pathetic is the picture of children less than two years also killed. Children, youths, women, the aged and the infirm were all victims.

While the attacks have continued to fester, the efforts of governments and security agencies are yet to be felt, seeing or appreciated by our people. The Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) has consistently called on governments and security agencies to bolster intelligence gathering mechanisms to detect early warning signs. We have also called for the establishment of a military Barrack and security formations around the attack-prone axis of Kaura, Jema’a, Sanga and Kauru LGAs as both deterrence and as a quick response strategy but to no avail.

The villages that have come under the onslaught of the terrorists have also been calling for deployment of security personnel in the forest, mountains and flashpoints rather than the highways, but these calls have not received any favourable response. The pattern that has emerged, sadly now, is that attacks occur with impunity usually followed by fire fighting and feeble cosmetic measures by security agencies and the government that have failed to yield any dividend.

The unprovoked massacre of the peace loving, law abiding villages of Kizakoro District, Chawai Chiefdom in Kauru Local Government is a clear proof that our people have more than ever before become endangered. The terrorists have been having a field day from village to village; District to District; Chiefdom to Chiefdom and now the entirety of Southern Kaduna is under siege, under attack, under threats of annihilation. SOKAPU as a Union in its support for peace, law and harmonious living carried out a peaceful protest in Gwantu on Thursday 25/8/2016 and made the following demands that:

1. The government of Mallam Nasir el-Rufai keeps his campaign promise of safe guarding our lives and property by also funding a formidable joint military operation to flush our murderers and restore ‘captured’ lands to their owners.

2. Demanded for the release of all our youths unjustly detained in Kafanchan and restitution paid them over the harrowing experience they have been put through.

3. SOKAPU called for the arrest and interrogation of Haruna Usman of MCBA and to be made to produce or identify the Fulani that were “on vengeance” mission.

4. Called on both the state and federal governments to assist our Internally Displaced Persons. (IDPs) with shelter, food and roofs over their heads as they live under sub-human conditions in public schools and private places they could find.

5. SOKAPU also used the occasion to appeal to all our members their friends, Churches, Mosques, corporate organizations, NGOs and every willing person to generously donate to our IDPS.

6. Finally, SOKAPU called on its members never to take the law into their hands no matter the provocation. However, we encouraged all our communities to take every available legal means of defending themselves, their property and dignity against anyone set out to terrorize them, should government renege on that cardinal responsibility it owes them.

We made the above demands in good faith and in accord with the provision of the Constitution on the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy with regards to the security of lives and property of our citizens. We commended governments’ demonstration of its immense capacity to rout cattle rustlers in Birnin Gwari and Zamfara State consequent upon which we called on Governments at several fora to exercise same constitutional responsibilities in accord with Sections 11,14(b) S. 17 (2)(a) (b) (3) (a), s. 33 and sections 42 of the Constitution to protect Southern Kaduna. SOKAPU is a non religious and non-political group and has always and will always call for the protection of all in Southern Kaduna irrespective of tribal or religious sentiments.

The shocking thing about the attacks on the Chawai Chiefdom is the fact that the attacks came a day after the unveiling of a Public Apology Billboard on 12th November 2016 at the Samaru-Kataf roundabout and the pledge of His Excellency, the State Governor to make available N100 million toward the rebuilding of places of worship. “in recognition of the vital importance of showing concrete manifestations of peace, the government has decided to support civic efforts to rebuild damaged churches and mosques with a seed fund of N100mn.”

While we desire peace in Southern Kaduna and would wholeheartedly embrace any initiative geared towards peace, we urge the state government to start by rebuilding villages and dwelling places to address the immediate needs of the traumatized people in villages that have been razed to the ground; the villages that are still deserted by the inhabitants due to absence of security. To address the issues of security so that the inhabitants of the destroyed villages are restored back to venture out to their farms without fear of being shot. Southern Kaduna calls for rehabilitation, reconstruction; restoration and a Marshalls’ Plan for rebuilding. The rebuilding of Churches and Mosques will not serve useful purpose where the villages are deserted and unoccupied.

Where security agencies do not protect us, we must form our civilian JTF, vigilante groups, civil defence to complement security efforts to defend ourselves from genocide. We have never and will never ask people to kill anybody, but rather insist that, just like a normal man who builds a house, erects a fence and possibly gets a dog to complement government efforts in constitutionally protecting its citizens, we are likewise asking everybody in Southern Kaduna to complement governments effort by responsibly protecting themselves to ensure their survival.

We owe that to ourselves. We are also reiterating our call to the government to genuinely show more effort in halting these attacks by being proactive, increase its intelligence gathering mechanism, encourage and equip local vigilantes in each village, influence the deployment of more security personnel’s to those areas, and bring quick succor to the internally displaced people of Chawai Chiefdom and Southern Kaduna as a whole. SOKAPU Shares in our collective pains empathises and sympathises with the unfortunate situation that has befallen us.

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