By Dapo Akinrefon
THE Southern and Middle Belt leaders Forum, SMBLF, on Sunday, expressed anger over the wave of killings in Southern Kaduna, urging President Muhammadu Buhari to step in and bring the perpetrators of the act to face the law.
In a statement by Yinka Odumakin (South West), Chief Guy Ikokwu (South East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South) and Dr Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), the leaders also warned the presidency against making statements seeming to justify the killings.
The statement reads: “The Southern and Middle Belt Forum (SMBLF) is outraged by the latest wave of killings in Southern Kaduna in which SOKAPU has claimed the death of 63 people.
“It is quite worrisome that the orgy of killings has continued in spite of the curfew imposed by the state government.
“In the past weeks, there have been reports of killings, especially in the southern part of Kaduna state with the most recent massacres at Kukum Daji and Gora Gan put at 33 deaths, aside from the scores who are in hospitals receiving treatment from various degrees of gunshots.
“However, instead of the Buhari-led Federal Government of Nigeria stepping in to find a lasting solution in the midst of tardiness by the state government it is unfortunate that it has resorted to provocative statements. One of such is the annoying claims credited to the Senior Special Assistant (Media & Publicity) to the President of Nigeria Malam Garba Shehu on the 21st July 2020 that “the problem in Southern Kaduna is an evil combination of politically-motivated banditry, revenge killings and mutual violence by criminal gangs acting on ethnic and religious grounds.
“As if the above confusion is not enough, Shehu Garba further misinformed the Nigerian and the international communities that “Southern Kaduna enjoys comprehensive security deployments, including the Army, Special Forces of both the Army and the Air Force, surveillance aircraft by the Air Force and mobile police units that are on the ground on a 24-hour basis to forestall criminality and keep the peace.
“These are not responsible statements from any government in the midst of body bags daily being counted by the people of Southern Kaduna in the hands of alleged Fulani marauders.
“We, therefore, call on the Buhari government to immediately stop the killings bring the perpetrators to book and stop making statements seeming to justify the killings and deceive the world about the situation in the area.
“Only bloody-minded people will refuse to heed this advice now.”