BY SAM EYOBOKA
Worried by the collosal damage to human and property extent of human and damage during the post-election violence that greeted the announce-ment of President Good-luck Jonathan as the winner of the April 16, 201 elections, residents of Kafanchan in southern Kaduna have called on the Federal Government to take decisive measures to halt the growing appre-hension to tiurn the turn in to another Jos.
The position of the residents was recently articulated by one of the leading Christian leaders in Nigeria and especially the North West national adviser of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Apostle Emmanuel Nuhu Kure on behalf of the the Southern Kaduna Christian Leadership Council, other people groups who live in Kafanchan including the indigenous tribes that would originally be the foundation of the city.
Apostle Kure, in a state-ment titled: ‘Let the truth be told on the Kafanchan, Southern Kaduna crisis’ saw it necessary to debunk the many falsehoods being dished out by international media to the public by different persons or groups of people, emph-asising: “We just want the truth to be told and a permanent and lasting solution to these problems found. We are tired of crisis in Kafanchan. We pray the Federal Government will seize this opportunity and find the boldness to resolve these matters once and for all. For they can be resolved.”
According to the Vision co-ordinator of the Thron-eroom Trust Ministry, Kaf-anchan, Kaduna State, re-ports of the recent post-election violence and past religious uprisings in the North and especially in Kafanchan by some local and international media are indicative of one fact and that is that, they emanated from the same source carrying the same story of Christians terror-ising Muslims. Said he: “We would want to put the facts straight for the public and everyone to investig-ate for themselves. First of all, it is clear that the whole crisis was thoro-ughly preplanned with logistics set out and lines of action and operation spelt out clearly.”
Wondering how the fundamentalists, wearing black dresses or dark pants besieged the Anglican Cathedral and the Yoruba Baptist pastor’s house and setting them on fire while shooting, without any resistance, if it was not premeditated and plan-ned. “Is this what is refer-red to as ‘peaceful dem-onstration and gathering’ by a section of the med-ia?,” he asked, stressing “in the history of demon-strations in Nigeria, I am not aware of any that has taken place at night between 9.00 p.m. and 10.00 p.m. except if they were clandestine. How come that during their operations, they seem to had reinforcement centres for either arms/ammunition or some form of co-ordination.”
Kure also frowned at the sophistication of the opera-tions, saying “the kind of heavy guns and weapons used by the protesters have never been heard of in the history of unrests in Kaduna State. This was why they overran almost the whole city before the Christian youths could muster sufficient courage to push them back the following day. The first set of soldiers’ intervention further opened the door for more houses to be burnt by the rampaging youth while the soldiers tried to contain the Christian youths. Also buttressing his argument that the whole episode was pre-planned, the Christian cleric averred that the Muslims in Kafanchan managed to evacuate their family members before the holocaust to either ‘safe zones’ or out of the city. “Why was this if it was not premeditated?”, he asked, adding “we want to make it clear that as far as the Kafanchan crisis is concer-ned, what started in other parts of the country as a political crisis as a result of the presidential election was only taken advantage of by Islamic extremists and mediocre politicians in Kafanchan to settle old scores and expand bound-aries and spheres of politi-cal influence.”
According to him, it has always been through simi-lar crises that the Muslims have gained grounds both politically and economic-ally in places where they are minority in the North. “In the recent times there seems to be a new lexicon being added to the mean-ing of Jihad—that of the acquisition of land and political power through violence. There is no other way to explain the mind-less suicidal attempts at attacking people in a place where you know they are ten times more in number just because you have an advantage of arms except if there is a gain beyond the fight. The Muslims sin-ce the time of the Sardauna have fought to control these lands both economic-ally, politically and spirit-ually and have failed. Years after, their sons still fight the same fight instead of respecting the natural boundaries and creation of the Almighty God.
“There will always be Christians in the North. The earlier all the sides accepted this the better. There is the need to sit together and work out the modalities of co-existen-tionalism. There is the need also to respect each other’s boundaries in beliefs and civic rights without the rights of those who originally owned the place being overridden or redefined through violen-ce. Basic rights of all men must be defended always. One side must not be treat-ed as sacred cows while the others punished for being majority. Let the truth dictate punishment and justice. People are afraid to speak up from this part of the country because of fear of retribution and victimization and the many years of deprivation,” he advised.
According to him, the Federal Government must investigate this crisis and isolate it from the other crisis because of its relig-ious tone and not just write it off as another political crisis arising from the recent presidential elect-ions. He agreed with the submission of the chairm-an of the Hausa/Fulani Community in Southern Kaduna, Alhaji Abdullahi Jibrin, that the leaders of the various tribes and their own enter a treaty with ori-ginal indigenous tribes to spell out some realities of the present day constit-utional Nigeria and be bound by is code; other-wise find other permanent solutions that will avert crisis no matter how radical they may sound or look.
The Federal Government should, please, as a matter of urgency order for a house-to-house search of arms or what the military would refer to as “cordon and search” in all the houses in Kafanchan as “we have cause to believe that there are heavy arms still left in the houses which could quicken the coming of a next conflict and lay a foundation to future crisis.”
He also urged the Federal Government to investigate how these arms found their way to the city and arrest those culpable and comp-ensate those who lost their properties and their means of livelihood and resettle them.
“Investigate how foreign-ers from either Niger or Chad and other countries found their way into Kaf-anchan and settled in Matsirga by Madakiya in the last one year and overnight gained the kind of arms they used for the crisis which accounted for a lot of people being killed in that axis,” he added, stressing that this is one of the immediate things the government can do to convince the ordinary man, Muslims and Christ-ians, that this crisis will not reoccur in future.