•Lamentations over 5 vicious attacks in one month
By Sam Eyoboka
DR Gideon Para-Mallam, co-founder/CEO of Gideon and Funmi Para-Mallam Peace Foundation, is a notable activist and hails from Southern Kaduna where there have been unending killings.
Only last week, Southern Kaduna erupted in violence again, leaving on its trail deaths and humungous properties destroyed.
“I am experiencing a clot of pain in my heart right now and this is expressed through the veracity of my fingers. Just before going to bed last night, news of the unjust killing of five innocent and unarmed aid workers filtered in”, the man who has been among the people vigorously campaigning for the release of the remaining Chibok girls; the Dapchi girl, Leah Sharibu, and other captives of Boko Haram terrorist group and Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) said.
“Prior to this, I was in prayer and working the phone speaking to key Christian and Muslim leaders in Kafanchan to discourage the escalation of violence due to pent-up anger as a result of the constant news of attacks and killings along with gory images of innocent women and children; as well as men in Zangon Kataf and Kaura Local Government Areas of Southern Kaduna.
“The banality of periodic Boko Haram attacks in Yobe and Borno recently and the decimation of ethnic nationalities in mostly Christian population villages and towns in Southern Kaduna have finally reached a peak.
“Therefore, silence of any kind and from all frontiers becomes a burden of careless irresponsibility by men and women of conscience.
“Five humanitarian workers killed – what’s going on in our nation? Where is government? Where is the conscience of the terrorists? What became of the ‘victories’ one read about in social media about the last military offensive?”
According to him, unending attacks had forced him to ask whether the Nigerian internal sovereignty was still extant or the country slowly turning into a place where it’s now an eye for an eye as a normative reality?
He went on: “Is the body language of our leaders in general not giving a tacit consent to the blood sucking perpetrators marauding and mauling down defenseless people of Southern Kaduna?
“The primary obligation of a sovereign state is to guarantee the security of its citizens. Even though welfare is a mirage due to evident socio-economic inadequacies, security of lives and property is non-negotiable.
“This is the least any government can offer its citizens. This clearly hasn’t been the case for Nigeria”.
Saying the victims of the Sothern Kaduna violence are Nigerians, most of whom are taxpayers, Para-Mallam lamented, “They are killed at will and the same government, maintained by the sweat of these taxpayers, simply just let them bleed and die.
“These unchallenged horrific attacks, pillaging and destroying the modest existence of common people diminishes not only our President and the governor of Kaduna but all of us as a people.
“We are today almost unprotected as citizens by security agents. This reality increasingly has me questioning the validity of Nigeria’s internal sovereignty.
“This fact jolts me into asking whether the Nigerian government wants the victims of these attacks to act rationally by similarly securing weapons in self-defense, having failed abysmally or so it seems, to protect them.
“Between the third week of June and now, third week of July, there have been no less than five attacks in Zangon Kataf, one village experiencing same twice, one each in Kauru, Kagoro and an attempt near Kafanchan within this week alone.
“The likelihood of frustration-aggression by peace-loving unarmed innocent people, acting to protect their lives and habitat, stares us all in the face.
“This scenario will be too dire in consequence for the survival of our nation; thus, threatening nation-state building which is the ultimate goal of any sane nation.
“It looks like Nigeria is insane right now. Social cohesion within our communities is virtually non-existent. Take it or leave it, Kaduna State is one divided today than it ever was. Is this worrisome?
“Is Nigeria slowly turning into a country where an eye for an eye is a norm?
“In the case of Zangon Kataf, it was first report on June 5th that there was a land dispute, followed by some people getting killed: A man from Chawai and a Fulani.
“Gradually, things began to deteriorate. The Fulani issued press statements to signal they will avenge the deaths and the Atyap people issued their own press statements to try and set the records straight.
“Anybody familiar with how things turn ugly in the North will see the clear signs of rivers of blood and killing fields on the horizon.
“The Fulani were preparing the ground to strike and, in a strange twist, government, both at the state and federal levels, comes in to ‘justify’ their aggression.
“How painful to see Nigeria descend so low because of poor judgment on the part of our leaders. Sadly, we are now reluctant spectators of the bizarre.
“This tragic comedy of deaths and destruction is a pointer to the decadence of the state of security in Nigeria today.
“Kaduna State has shown that we are learning nothing from our past.
That vulnerable Southern Kaduna people have been subjected to incessant attacks by blood sucking Fulani herdsmen is no longer in doubt.
“The unknown is that these continuous attacks might force the people to resort to self-defense.
“From all likelihood, our security personnel are over stretched and unable to cope right now. I have a very strong suspicion that the characterization of the Zangon Kataf attacks to be a two-sided affair by the Presidency through one of the presidential spokespersons, Garba Shehu, represents an unwise lame and unhelpful excuse loaded with dire consequences. How on earth would the Presidency allow the President of Nigeria to be characterized as a local champion – who is always making excuses due to his inability to curb the excesses of his Fulani tribesmen?
“Has the President become so weak and bereaved of leadership ideas to this ridiculous extent? “Hear Garba Shehu: ‘We note that revenge and counter-revenge only create a cycle of violence, thereby making everyone else unsafe, especially innocent people . . . The Presidency advises the people against taking the law into their own hands which makes the job of security personnel more difficult. Instead, they should report any security breach or threat to peace to the law enforcement agencies.
. . .’“On face value, one would think something tangible is being said but, on deeper reflection, this statement falls far too short of any responsible leadership really committed to ending the very cycle of violence they are talking about.
“Haven’t these attacks been reported over and over again?
“Times without number, Fulani herdsmen give flimsy justification for their vicious attacks in the name of so-called revenge attacks – when, in fact, these are acts of aggression against their host communities.
“Where is justice and fairness? They wreak havoc on innocent people in their homes and villages, some in their sleep, yet the Presidency is talking of revenge attacks?
“If the President cannot stop the attacks, can they at least condemn it for what it is? Why seek to excuse the attacks which keep claiming innocent lives?
“How could government look the other way? Look at the cruelty and vicious salivating bloodthirsty attacks which demonstrates man’s inhumanity to man and yet these attackers still walk the streets of Nigeria free?
“Impunity of the highest order. How can this be and yet there is a government in place?
“This is highly inhuman and unacceptable in a society with a functioning government along with their effective security forces.
“As a peace advocate and one committed to pursuing a peaceful agenda for Southern Kaduna, I wish to appeal to the peace-loving people of Southern Kaduna to shun violence and any form of retaliatory attacks as a result of these unprovoked and unjust persecution. “I have never and will never agree to the killing of Fulani. I have always stood to oppose this both in private and in public.
“Therefore, allowing these killings to continue by the Federal Government of Nigeria and excusing them as revenge is evil and wickedness.
‘It is disheartening to see people slaughter like animals in Nigeria’s 21century.
“We are back to the days of barbarians. What a tragic commentary on a nation so promising yet today lies in ruins due to what one is could see as a visionless leadership.
“How could a right-thinking leadership allow its citizens to be killed like flies – all in the name of reprisals?
“How on earth could the same leadership having failed to defend her citizens seek justification in the name of revenge killings by their own admittance?
“Government should in fact have been actively mobilizing her citizens in word and deed to embrace each other in view of our common humanity as God’s creation regardless of gender, religion and ethnicity, now descend so low as to justify the unjustifiable because they have access to control state apparatus of power and official media?
“Isn’t the body language of our leaders in general giving tacit consent to blood sucking perpetrators?
“Judging from multiple social indicators such as the increasing attacks on Christian communities in Southern Kaduna, and the unethical body language of the Federal Government, one is left to think that the government is absolutely indifferent or incapable of securing the lives of Southern Kaduna inhabitants.
“As a patriot Nigerian, a global mission leader and peace advocate, I believe that the Nigerian government can still do more in Southern Kaduna to end the heinous activities of Fulani herdsmen which threatens the peaceful coexistence of Southern Kaduna people.
“The Service Chiefs and our security apparatus are in dire need of overhaul, no doubt.
“It is in the light of this reality that the Senate recently asked for the replacement of the Service Chiefs. “The reaction of the Presidency though coming as no surprise remains a disturbing puzzle.
“It is like a nod for the incessant spate of killings across the country to continue – by what I call the triumvirate of evil: Boko Haram, Fulani Herdsmen and Bandits – to continue terrorizing and decimating the citizens who are non-Fulani.
“It’s obvious that the Federal Government is kow-towing the line and argument of the Kaduna government with respect of Kajuru and Zangon Kataf genocide of Southern Kaduna ethnic nationalities.
“Can the Nigerian government afford to follow the advice of the Kaduna State government and run the risks of re-enacting Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and Central Africa republics? “That would be a sad experiment in a journey of a failed state”.