By Boluwaji Obahopo – Lokoja
The Neo Black Movement of Africa Worldwide has raised concern over what it described as the ignored alarm raised by the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) of alleged genocidal ethnic cleansing by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
SOKAPU over the years has cried out over alleged onslaught on their communities by suspected Fulani herdsmen, which it accused the Federal Government of ignoring, notwithstanding huge destruction visited on the affected areas.
NBM of Africa Worldwide in a statement urged the Federal Government to urgently address the disturbing trend.
The statement signed by the group’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr. Oluwatosin Dixon, noted that without the singularity of purpose, the pursuit of development will end in mirage, and therefore called on Nigerians to rally round the President Mohammadu Buhari administration to stem the ugly tide.
It also condemned what it described as perceived ethnic cleansing by suspected Fulani herdsmen and onslaughts on Christian sects by extremists.
“We are appalled by news of Christians facing ethnic cleansing in Southern Kaduna and Christian students routinely kidnapped by suspected Fulani terrorists with predominantly Christian schools inevitably shut down.
“It becomes ever more alarming when citizens contemplates a resort to self help in the face of perceived dereliction of functions by the Nigerian government.
“We note the disturbing call from youths of Southern Kaduna crying ‘It’s time to defend ourselves,’ where the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union National Youth Leader, Comrade John Isaac, condemned in strong terms alleged mindless attacks ongoing in Atyap land by suspected Fulani militia.
Quoting the SOKAPU leader, “According to him, ‘herdsmen killed 100 people in six days, burnt churches, destroyed houses in Southern Kaduna, added to numerous other horrific reports, including that of suspected armed Fulani herdsmen killing no fewer than 100 Atyap natives in the last six days. About 24 villages were also burnt and hundreds of hectares of farmland bearing growing food crops, destroyed’.
“The SOKAPU also said the assailants attacked Matyei village, burning 156 homes. The Catholic Church in Matyei and its pastorium were also burnt, while the Catchiest, simply known as Catchiest Yau, and an infant, were killed in the attack, with six other persons killed in the violence that lasted for over an hour.’
“Also worrying are statements by the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union to the effect that over N2bn has been paid as ransom to kidnappers by families and friends in Southern Kaduna to kidnappers for the release of victims held in the captivity of suspected Fulani terrorists in the past one year.”
“We (NBM) therefore expressed concern that the deteriorating security situation in Southern Kaduna had not improved but continues on a downward spiral.
“The NBM of Africa therefore pleaded with the Federal government to provide adequate security and protection for the besieged Southern Kaduna communities and urged all the parties concerned to allow sanity to reign and begin peace talks; only in such an atmosphere can development be achievable.”