*As death toll rises to 11
By Luka Binniyat
KAFANCHAN—The death toll from last Saturday’s attack on the village of Goska, near Kafanchan, Jema’a Local Government Area, LGA, of Kaduna State has risen from five to 11, village sources told Vanguard.
However, the Kaduna State Police Command said it was yet to ascertain the death toll.
This is just as Governor Nasir el-Rufai has condemned the attack carried out despite a 24-hour curfew imposed on the area, saying the assailants would not know peace.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari is silent on the ongoing violence in southern Kaduna because Governor el-Rufai is handling it, Presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said yesterday, in television programme.
Citing Nigeria’s federal structure, Mr. Adesina said there was no need for Buhari to speak since el-Rufai was “on top of the matter.”
This came as Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, SOKAPU, said Governor el-Rufai should be held responsible for the violence.
A community leader in Goska, who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity, corroborated other villagers who claimed that the death toll had risen to 11, lamenting that the town was left in ruins by the invaders, said to be herdsmen.
He said: “There is a large presence of police in Goska now. But as far as we are concerned, it means nothing to us. They have burnt the whole town and destroyed our possession. This morning, (yesterday) we counted 11 persons killed, about 15 injured.
“We are still looking for four boys and two women. So, it does not matter whether the police are here or not. They have done their worst.”
We’ve not been briefed—POLICE
On the part of the Police, the Kaduna State Police spokesman, Aliyu Usman, said he had not been briefed on any casualty, but said he would find out and get back to Vanguard. He had however not done so at press time.
He said: “Just give me time. When I am briefed I will get back to you.”
Meanwhile, SOKAPU, the umbrella body of the 67 ethnic groups of Southern Kaduna, yesterday, blamed Governor el-Rufai for the violence.
In a statement, the National Public Relations Officer, Mr. Yakubu Kuzamani, SOKAPU, said: “The Southern Kaduna Peoples’ Union, SOKAPU, has had to send out condolences to the murdered people of Goska village in Jema’a Local Government Area.
“Ironically, on a day that our people ought to be joyously celebrating the Christmas festivities, was the day they were reduced to burying their loved ones, treating the wounded in hospitals and coping with a fresh batch of internally displaced people of Goska village, whose houses were burnt down.
“They were killed while engrossed in preparing for the Christmas celebration, secured in their knowledge that a 24-hour curfew meant to keep them indoors would also keep away their killers.
“SOKAPU is calling on all people of goodwill to personally hold Governor Nasir el-Rufai responsible for all those murdered in Goska village because these killings took place during a 24-hour curfew, imposed on Zangon Kataf, Kaura and Jema’a council by the Governor.
“While people were forced to stay indoors, marauding herdsmen whose presence around Goska has been noticed and reported by people around that area for almost three days, attacked the town and for hours killed and burnt without intervention from security agencies.
“This confirmed our assertion that the 24-hour curfew slammed on the three local governments in Southern Kaduna was to punish the people for daring to protest the persistent killings in their villages on December 20, when el-Rufai visited Kafanchan.”
Speaking on the matter in a television programme, the presidential aide, Adesina, said as the chief security officer of his state, the onus is on el-Rufai, who had pledged to bring the perpetrators to book, to deal with the matter.
He said: “You don’t have to hear from the President on that matter. When it pays us, we talk about federalism and true federalism; yet you want the president and presidency to talk about everything.
“When a thing like this happens in a state, there is a chief security officer and he is supposed to be on top of the matter. Governor el-Rufai was at the villa to brief the President.
“So why should the Presi-dent’s then be talking about it? True federalism means the governor should be in charge and he is in charge of it.”
Adesina said local authorities must play a crucial role in stopping the violence, saying state and local governments have a major role to play in dealing with the herdsmen crisis.
He said Buhari was always in constant touch with governors, whenever an attack occurred, to get timely updates.
The spokesperson said Buhari had consistently maintained that the best way to stop the killings was through collaboration between the states and the grassroots leaders in local governments.
“The Federal Government has roles to play, but not as much as the state and local governments,” he said.