By Ibrahim Hassan
Southern Kaduna People’s Union, SOKAPU, yesterday said not less than N900 million ransom was paid by kidnap victims in Southern Kaduna to their abductors last year.
National President of the group, Jonathan Asake said between January and December, 2020, kidnap victims paid N900 million to their abductors.
At a briefing in Kaduna, Asake decried the worsening insecurity in the southern part of Kaduna State, saying 80 percent of residents of Chikun Local Government area had abandoned their ancestral land for safer areas because of insecurity.
This came as SOKAPU condemned threat to the life of Catholic Archbishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Mathew Kukah by some groups and individuals over his Christmas Day’s homily and demanded the arrest of those threatening Bishop Kukah with eviction.
He chided President Muhammadu Buhari for alleged discriminatory disposition towards other Nigerians besides those from the “core North,” saying only the likes of the Sultan, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar and emirs from the core north could criticise the current Buhari regime and go scot-free in the country today.
According to him, there was nothing different in Kukah’ sermons that had not been said by prominent Nigerians such as the Sultan, and recalled the treatment meted out to a former Minister of Defence, Gen Theophilus Danjuma (retd) and the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, on their comments on the nation’s insecurity.
He said, among others: “It appears to us, therefore, that comments by Nigerians attract different reactions from the government, depending on the region, ethnicity and religion of the person making such comments.
“It’s sad to note that when persons of core Northern extraction criticize government, they are taken as kind words, but when the same statements are made by people of Southern or Middle Belt extraction; they are harassed and tormented and their comments branded as treasonable by government.
“This discriminatory posture of government clearly shows that the Buhari-led administration treats Nigerians differently; some as first class and others considered as second class. When the respected Bishop Kukah criticised the government in his Christmas homily, all hell broke loose from Northern elements who have consistently exhibited intolerance since the assumption of Buhari as the President.
“Sadly so, his glaring nepotism and bigotry in his governance style seems to lend credence to this perception. All that Bishop Kukah is accused of saying against this government had been said by some other people in a more critical manner but never attracted a barrage of condemnation and threats.
“We note that the Sultan of Sokoto, prominent emirs and the Northern Elders’ Forum, NEF, had condemned President Buhari over his dismal performance in tackling insecurity in the country, with NEF calling on him to resign. The anger and threats that are being issued against the revered Bishop was never served on the Sultan, emirs and NEF which clearly show the discriminatory posture of this government.”
“SOKAPU stands with Bishop Kukah and others who before him had called to attention the subtle and continuing annihilation of our communities. Those who have threatened Bishop Kukah ought to be arrested and be made to face the full wrath of the law. For the Islamic group that issued out a threat and an ultimatum on the Bishop, we must warn here that nobody has a monopoly of violence and nothing should happen to Bishop Kukah.”