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Southern Kaduna crisis: Let my people go – Apostle Kure

•’We have pictures of killings that may make your heart fail’
•Says daring herdsmen slaughter locals in the presence of soldiers

APOSTLE Emmanuel Nuhu Kure, the National Secretary of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and President of Throneroom Ministries, Kafanchan, Kaduna State, will be remembered for his revelation that there was something in Aso Rock that poisoned  the character of a good man and limited his performance, warning the late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua to be careful, so that Aso Rock did not consume his presidency prematurely.

Apostle Kure

He was also one of the four Christian leaders who prayed for the late President  three weeks before his death where he claimed to have warned the presidential handlers to evacuate the ailing Yar’Adua from the Villa within three weeks or risk the inevitable. The PFN scribe talked to Sunday Vanguard  on the  violent eruptions in Southern Kaduna, saying the Federal Government must begin to consider creating a new state for Southern Kaduna in addition to raising a Civilian JTF to defend the people.

I want to know if there’s any update on Kaduna. What is the situation?

The situation is under control, it’s like a guerilla warfare. There are surprise strikes, and, most of the time, the military and the police are not ready for them, and it is  the villages and locals that suffer. The people are always the victims. But we are doing well; we are doing as anybody under a siege can do.

The report we have is that the whole place is now militarized and, if you are under such militarization, how do these people manage to spring surprise attacks?

It is  nice that you ask that kind of  question. Very few people ask. The thing is that they are not spirits, so how do they walk through the soldiers to come in? The truth is that, like these last two days again have shown, our ministry has a hospital in Kafanchan….the General Hospital is closed down because one of the crises that almost erupted in Kafanchan started at the General Hospital. That was day before yesterday. Victims that were rushed to our hospital told us that herdsmen were killing people in front of  soldiers. Even when people drew attention of the soldiers to the killings, they did nothing. The reason the soldiers gave was that their ogas  did not  command them.

Even one or two of the soldiers  admitted in our hospital for minor wounds confirmed the claim that their oga would refuse to give orders as long as the invaders are not shooting at them, its okay. They (herdsmen) openly boast that the president is theirs; the governor is theirs, so even if they are arrested, they don’t expect repercussions. And anybody who is not expecting to be punished would kill.  And at the end of the day, those who rise  to defend themselves are arrested and paraded that they are the culprits, when actually they are the victims. We don’t know what to do with some of our people that have been arrested in Kaduna. There are some that may have been guilty but the truth is that many of them may be a natural reaction. You attack my house, if I’m not there, my children would defend the house and they will go outside the door, if they have arms, they will hold the arms for 24 hours to ensure attackers do not come back since the other people are watching. Now you meet them with such arms, you arrest them. They are not following or pursuing the attackers. I receive a lot of phone calls from our youths asking for permission to go after the people in the bush but I had to restrain them. They are not afraid of death but they believe if they get arrested, at least somebody will come out and fight for them. They will not just be fatherless.

Deploy Civilian JTF

The truth is that Gov. Nasir el-Rufai is doing his best but I think he needs to be more practical about this issue. He’s doing  the best  a human being can do but they need to be more practical and  proactive. They just drop soldiers and police there, it’s like the rules of engagement are not too clear and so everybody is led by the Holy Spirit in this matter, the soldiers and the people. I think they should get our vigilantes involved. Our vigilantes know the path. Let the Civilian JTF begin to work officially and not unofficially. They should raise vigilantes; it will save the people having to defend themselves if they know that there are people of their own stock defending them. That is what they did in Maiduguri. Why are they afraid to do it in Kafanchan?

We have spoken about  it and they will tell you they are doing it informally; we don’t want an informal thing. They should do it officially. Let the people’s defense force be raised, let the people defend themselves. Our people can defend themselves. Why can’t they do that and mix the soldiers with the people? In the vigilantes that we have, we have a combination of Muslims and Christians and animists. Like I said, it’s a border thing. If the people who are fighting us are outsiders, we can meet them at the borders. If the military, the police and government, whether federal or state, really want  to solve this problem, they must raise the people’s defense mechanism. Let the people defend themselves. But this one they are always saying there’s a 24-hour curfew and people should lie down and those  other people become spirits and they walk and kill people and disappear, it’s not fair on our people, it is not fair on the families, it is not fair on the victims.

I am terribly worried because the concept is becoming very blurred now. It’s difficult to follow. You have turned the other cheek so many times, people are dying every day for Christ’s sake and they say it’s not religious. Okay, let’s agree, it is not religious, do the tribes not deserve to be protected? Must it become religious before anybody takes it seriously? I read the governor saying they are trying to turn victim against victim; which is true. The people who have lived in peace with each other will soon turn at each other and I’m happy that the governor already knows that. So can the governor do something very quickly for us?  I know he is making efforts but the efforts are a little bit slow. It needs to be a little bit more tangible so that victims will not turn against victims because both indigenous tribes and the settler tribes that have become indigenous are now about to turn against each other. That was almost tested in Kafanchan. Kafanchan almost got lit up day before yesterday.

Stop victim against victim 

To stop victim turning against victim out of desperation, they should seek the solution and stop those people who are coming in through the borders to deal with us. When I’m talking about borders, I am not talking about Niger: I’m talking about Nassarawa and Kaduna, and then Plateau and the neighboring states. Our people can handle it but they are not officially appointed. Like one of the community leaders was saying, he was pointing at all the community people and said ‘will all these ones be killed one day?’ That ‘what are people doing to preserve these lives that are looking at him today?’. He said how many more will he bury? ‘Get those people, give them arms too or authorize them to carry any kind of weapon that can protect them’. Mix them with the local police and soldiers, then they will feel they are taking their destinies in their hands since they know the terrain much more than the soldiers and the police. If the soldiers won’t shoot, they should allow these people to shoot. Since ogas didn’t  give the soldiers command, the civilians will shoot, the police will shoot.

My own members saw this with their eyes as the herdsmen dared the soldiers by killing people in front of them. One of them called the soldiers attention on Ibadan Street in Kafanchan when one of the killings was going on and the soldiers told him to move on with his car while they watched the person getting killed. So he called me, in tears, saying he watched somebody die innocently. All the soldiers needed  to do was to shoot in the air or pretend they wanted to shoot the man killing the other person. They didn’t! We have full pictures that may make your heart fail. Our hospital, the only health facility standing in Kafanchan, treated everybody, plus soldiers since the General Hospital is closed down.

Create Southern Kaduna State

And that curfew is killing. If you stay in a curfew for two weeks, it’s hard enough. If you stay for one month, it’s suicidal. The few days and weeks I stayed in town under the 24-hour curfew, it was not easy. I’m sure even the soldiers are getting tired of it. So we need to find a solution very fast. That’s why I told you the other day that the creation of a new state might help us because then whichever governor we have can now sit down, call the people together and let them decide their defense like they did in Plateau. At a point, the communities were allowed a little bit of liberty.

The government in Plateau at that time set up a group called Rainbow. It was different from the police and they worked with the police and the soldiers and it was led by a military officer. I think that group is still there, that is why things are under control. Now they use the same Plateau as a base now to attack us.

Creation of a state in a democracy could be cumbersome. But the laws were made by men. Laws were made by men. Let’s be practical, if we had an emergency situation that needs an emergency solution, then if it is a real responsible government that feels for its citizens, it will react instantly to that emergency.

I thank God for Nigerians who are already speaking for Southern Kaduna. I told you with joy early January that everything was calm, but since then, after just a week or two of enjoying that honeymoon of calm, it’s been broken. And the question people should be asking is why is it always one-sided? People are beginning to ask our people. It is not only leaders of the people that are calling the people to defend themselves, some people are asking our people, are they so foolish that they are allowing themselves to be attacked? The thing is that when we start reprisal in serious terms, the focus will shift away from the Fulani herdsmen, the focus will now be on the people who are reacting. Does the Constitution not say we have the right to self defense? It’s like the language is changing.

Sincerely I don’t know what the human law is about concerning these things. But it’s easier for the governor and others to speak the way they speak because they are not in the situation. They are in their Government Houses and some people feed them with political lies, false reports and they use such reports to lie to the people. I am so sure now that some of the information reaching government are false because sometimes we start talking and the government thinks we are strangers talking from Mars and we are on the ground and they argue with us, so we keep quiet. So is it the day we commit murder that they will now realize that we are desperate?

 

They are beginning to accuse people of being partisan. When it is truth, it becomes partisan, when it is a lie, it is not partisan. They are now accusing everybody of becoming partisan on this thing and joining Southern Kaduna people who are still the victims on the whole.

There are Hausas that have been killed, there are Fulanis that have been killed, yes but 90 per cent or more of the whole of Southern Kaduna are Christians or animists. So if you kill one or two or three Fulani or Hausa people there, you still have 50 of the other people who are being killed. So who feels it more? It’s the local people that feel it more, it’s not them. But for the three that they killed, they too want to shout that these people are guilty of genocide.

Longest curfew in the world
I pray they do something very quickly about this thing because it’s been one year now. This thing started since April last year. We’ve spent close to five months under one kind of curfew or the other. This is the longest curfew in Africa. It’s the longest curfew in the world. Any government with conscience, any international group will think twice about that. If you ask me, I support the government of Kaduna State, but the support is growing lean if they don’t do things very fast because I am not talking from Abuja or Kaduna,

I’m talking from the ground. My children are inside this thing every time. When that of day before yesterday happened, my own child ran into where the shootings were going on, trying to take pictures as proof since everybody is saying there is no proof, that frightened me; they are calling every Southern Kaduna man to look for proof. You wake up everyday not knowing who is surviving that week, is that how to live a life? That is the life we live now because we can’t even trust the security people who are there on the roads.
I’m not trying to knock heads together so you will forgive me but I think the police seem to be doing a better job than soldiers.

The soldiers go there, there is no command, so they do nothing. So what is the use of the soldiers? Then they should just leave the place. Maybe that is why the people got angry and went to remove the foundation of the army unit they are building there because they just realized that the soldiers were not doing their work.

There’s no need to build barracks when it’s just there for decoration. I’m just trying to psyche up why the people did that because we were all shocked when they removed those structures and we had to ask because we were part of the people asking soldiers to be stationed there permanently. But with all these i-reports coming up, soldiers refusing to stop the killing, instead when our people come, they arrest them en masse on the grounds that they want to kill and take them to Kaduna and that they caught them with arms. If you were here after many months, won’t you be tempted to look for arms yourself?
The emphasis should be to bring peace. When our lives become normal, then you can trouble us for trying to defend ourselves. That becomes another trouble but at least you are alive to defend yourself.
Are there prosecutions after arrests?

They don’t make it public, so we don’t even know what they do with them. Whether they release them, we don’t know. There are those who say they release them faster depending on whose interest you were defending. That is the situation. So in Nigeria we still have some distance to go. God will help us on both sides. God will have to find a solution and find it very quick. I believe in my heart that all things work together for good, that this will end up for good for Southern Kaduna people and that’s the encouragement I’m sending to the people of Southern Kaduna if you can help me pass it to them. It will end up for our good. They should be encouraged. They should maintain restraint at all times.

They should be diligent and vigilant. If you can defend your family when there is an attack, defend them but please show restraints. It’s very important. I believe that very soon light will come. We have seen it in the horizon, in the spirit and we believe it will happen. We believe that God’s divine judgment is going to speak very clearly very soon. So let the people take heart and be strong.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.