By Yinka Odumakin
IT was with pains in the heart being on a zoom conference last Sunday evening with patriots like Ms Ankio Briggs, Col Tony Nyiam, Anthony Asake (President of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, SOKAPU) and Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke beautifully moderating as we looked at the bloody massacre currently happening in Southern Kaduna.
The zone that is land to majority of Kaduna people has been under assault for 37 years in what cannot be called anything than genocidal attacks. The present Governor of the state, Mallam Nasiru el-Rufia, made a confession some four years ago.
He said: “For Southern Kaduna, we didn’t understand what was going on and we decided to set up a committee under Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (retd) to find out what was going on there. What was established was that the root of the problem has a history starting from the 2011 post-election violence.
“Fulani herdsmen from across Africa bring their cattle down towards Middle Belt and Southern Nigeria. The moment the rains starts around March, April, they start moving them up to go back to their various communities and countries.
Unfortunately, it was when they were moving up with their cattle across Southern Kaduna that the elections of 2011 took place and the crisis trapped some of them.
“Some of them were from Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Mali and Senegal. Fulanis are in 14 African countries and they traverse this country with the cattle. So many of these people were killed, cattle lost and they organised themselves and came back to revenge.
So a lot of what was happening in Southern Kaduna was actually from outside Nigeria. We got a hint that the late Governor Patrick Yakowa got this information and he sent someone to go round some of these Fulani communities, but of course after he died, the whole thing stopped. That is what we inherited. But the Agwai committee established that.
“We took certain steps. We got a group of people that were going round trying to trace some of these people in Cameroon, Niger Republic, and so on, to tell them that there is a new governor who is Fulani like them and has no problem paying compensations for lives lost and he is begging them to stop killing.
“In most of the communities, once that appeal was made to them, they said they have forgiven. There are one or two that asked for monetary compensation. They said they have forgiven the death of human beings, but want compensation for cattle.
“We said no problem, and we paid some. As recently as two weeks ago, the team went to Niger Republic to attend one Fulani gathering that they hold every year with a message from me.”
The killing of women and children have started again in Southern Kaduna and we are yet to hear from the governor whether these killers are different from those he paid before or it is Mallam Garba Shehu who said it is “revenge killing” going on, that we should ask those whom he has contacted, and claimed they are on revenge killing.
Asake made some shocking re-evaluation about the killing fields where security forces ignore the killers with the excuse that they have not been given authority to attack them but move swiftly against the victims whenever they move to defend themselves against attacks.
What is the practical evidence of having a government in Nigeria when the government allegedly watches its citizens being killed by foreigners whom the governor of Kaduna State once boasted he had paid ransom?
SOKAPU should find its way to the International Criminal Court, ICC, now as chances of getting justice locally is very slim at the moment under these circumstances.
READ ALSO: Tinubu’s rumoured bid and its amusement
Re: Letter to Dr Chris Ngige
THANK you for article on the above title which dealt with two issues. Please permit me to comment on them. The first part highlighted the employment scandal in the Federal Ministry of Labour.
Your “Summary of recruitment from 2016- 2018 region by region” reveals much about the level of nepotism rocking that ministry. It is likely that if the recruitment records of other federal ministries are examined it will be seen that they are in the same boat.
This will reveal the high levels of corruption prevalent in the government today. Corruption is not only when public funds are stolen. Nepotism is also corruption.
Personally, I am not taken aback by the minister’s actions. If his boss, PMB, is blatantly and knowingly practising nepotism and he is not called to order by the appropriate quarters what will those working under him do?
Obviously, they will do likewise as their boss. What is going on today in government circles makes one to ask: Where are the men and women of character gone in Nigeria? The pull him or her down syndrome if he or she stands on the path of stealing the common wealth is what is keeping most people of character away from government appointments. Recall that it was these men and women of character who fought for our independence.
The second part of your letter to the minister dealt on his handling of affairs in NSITF. The facts on ground showed that his action went against the law establishing that organisation. The minister is not a new comer to public service rules.
What is happening here again is the issue of following his boss’ footsteps. He believes that nothing will happen when he fails to follow due process. Something has, however, started happening. He is being called to order by the appropriate bodies.
Progress will continue to elude Nigeria if things go the way they are presently going. Where is the change we were promised in 2015? When will the false prophets of change stop deceiving Nigerians? Arise O compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey. To serve our Fatherland with….
Tony O. Ekwe.
Re: Letter to Dr Chris Ngige
I JUST finished reading your piece on the subject of Dr. Ngige. I do not know whether or not the allegations are correct but these are not good signals. We cannot be perpetuating what we accuse Northerners of.
Please, whatever the case is, do your best to reverse the trend, but don’t let it dampen your spirit for the fence-mending between the Yorubas and Igbos. We need each other. We should collaborate rather than compete. I know that there are bigots on both sides but please keep up the good fight.
Re: Tinubu’s rumoured bid and its amusement
GENERAL Ibrahim Babangida left office in 1993 and in every election year cycle thereafter, his friends and moles will plant stories of his presidential ambition. When reminded that he was once a president of this country, they will sing a song of him being a military president and now wants to contest as a civilian. Babangida’s chorus boys built so much air around him that you would think the election was his just for the asking.
The demystification came so soon before it even began; the rest is history.
Bola Tinubu’s name has been surreptitiously making some select papers now and then albeit in a subdued manner, looks like testing the waters. Bola Tinubu like every other Nigerian has the right to contest election as long as he is qualified, however, election in Nigeria is won and lost based on the bridges you have built on your journey, resources/capabilities and perception.
Atiku Abubakar has to a large extent not been able to win the presidential election due to his perception deficit judged wrongly though. Finally, this Tinubu’s song has been playing for too long, it’s time to start dancing, if one spends many years learning how to be mad at old age, how many remaining years will be there to practice the madness.
We also know that no matter how many push-ups and pressups a lizard does in a day, it can never be called a crocodile.
Chief Celestine Ukauwa