August 9, 2020

Southern kaduna attacks: Coalition tasks locals on credible information to military

Bandits kill 23 in Kaduna villages

Seeks parade of arrested suspects for transparency

*Urges military not to be deterred in restoring law, order

By Joseph Erunke

ABUJA–INDIGENOUS Southern Kaduna civil society groups have tasked locals to only provide genuine and credible information to the troops deployed to the area, saying the security personnel were finding it difficult to determine between genuine and false alarms, a situation they said was not helpful to the security outfits in the area.

The coalition under the aegis of Southern Kaduna Indigenous Peace Practitioners, SOKIPEP, which said the military can bring the pockets of attacks in the area to an end if among other things credible information is promptly provided, insisted that it was time for the people to rise to the occasion and support the military and security agencies.

SOKIPEP, in a statement by its National Coordinator ,Rev. Dr Dauda Fadia, while encouraging the military to continue to work towards the restoration of law and order in Southern Kaduna, observed that the inability of the troops to respond on time to some of the attacks witnessed in recent past in the area were attributable to the many false  and non-credible information to the military which it noted, had made troops to dissipate their efforts in different directions as well as delayed the response to some actual attacks.

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“We observed with dismay that sometimes, the military promptly respond to information given them by our people only to realize the information was fake. This is counterproductive and not healthy for a people that want the security agencies to nib the crisis in their domain in the bud,” it said.

Even as it condemned the remarks by some women protesters allegedly linking the military in the unfortunate and protracted situation, it insisted that the military is doing a lot and should be encouraged rather than blaming them for the once intractable crisis.

“We as SOKIPEP, note with sadness the remarks made by some women protesters recently where they reportedly linked military personnel working in the area to the crisis.

“While we are not holding brief for the military, we wish to strongly state that contrary to the position of these few, Southern Kaduna is today enjoying some relative peace because of the relentless and ceaseless efforts of the military in securing our lives. The troops are usually seen in our villages at night on patrols working with the vigilante groups.

“These unfortunate remarks by the women to say the least, is premature and capable of weakening the morale of the military but also derailing their efforts to restore peace in Southern Kaduna.

We in SOKIPEP appreciate their rights to protest and also to express grief and emotions but we wish to state clearly that the military should not be drawn into the Southern Kaduna issue, “the statement said.

The group explained that its it members who are mostly Southern Kaduna vigilante members are working closely with the security outfits on patrol and intelligence gathering in the area.

It said: “Our members constitute most of the vigilante members and cut across the entire Southern Kaduna. We have been working closely with the military on patrol and sharing intelligence which have greatly reduced the number of attacks and even casualties. We are also aware that they have prevented some attacks”.

The statement read further: “The military men are really cooperating with us and I think we should support them to succeed instead of demoralizing them through our negative statements and false allegations,” the group said: “We have the right to demand for improved security and right to life but we must do that with the fear of God.”

“While not holding brief for the military, what we gathered from our members among the local vigilantes on ground across the area is that the militia don’t use the roads but use motorbikes through bush paths to the villages during odd hours to perpetuate their evils.

“They normally avoid where security men are stationed and since the military men cannot be everywhere, the marauders target villages and locations where the military or other security personnel cannot respond on time due largely to bad roads and terrain.

The group, while commending the military arrest of some suspected perpetrators of these inhuman acts, called for a parade and subsequent handover of the suspects to the police for necessary action.

“While we commend the military for a number of arrest made so far in the crisis, we appeal to them to hand over the suspected militia members in their custody to the Police: after parading them in public for transparency and subsequent  prosecution. We will not tolerate any attempt to shield them.”

The group called on the Southern Kaduna people to cooperate with security personnel so that together we can end the crisis in the area.

“We, therefore, wish to further appeal to the good people of Southern Kaduna to remain peaceful and law abiding. They are encouraged to be giving timely and credible information to the military and other security agencies, false allegations against the military will not help in resolving the crises” it added.