By; Amos Tauna, Kaduna.
Southern Kaduna people in the United States and Canada have called on the federal government to take over the process of securing the communities and protect the people of the incessant killings that have beclouded the area.
They also called on the federal security apparatus not to be succumbed by the Kaduna State leadership to use them to intimidate the people of Southern Kaduna.
A letter written to the Acting President, Professor Osinbajo and made available to newsmen in Kaduna suggested that a comprehensive security policy that would allow the people in the area to arm themselves for self-defense without fear of prosecution.
The statement explained, “With profound humility and the deepest respect, the people of Southern Kaduna ( SOKAD) in the United States and Canada have asked us to reach out to you for help with the protracted ethno-religious cleansing and internal colonization of ethnic and religious minorities in Southern Kaduna State.
“While we weep for Southern Kaduna, we are on our knees praying for the quick recovery of our President, Mohammadu Buhari: By God’s grace, he will get well and return home.
“Mr. Acting President, as you and many Nigerians are aware, the people of Southern Kaduna are engaged in an existential struggle of survival on their own land. Evil men, guided by Islamic religious bigotry, have embarked on a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing and occupation of the ancestral lands of the indigenous peoples.
“There has been little effort by the Kaduna State government, past and present, to prevent or end the genocide. It is clear to us, and many objective observers of events in Southern Kaduna, that the Kaduna State government is either unable or unwilling to end this nightmare.
“The people of Southern Kaduna have suffered for too long and are beginning to believe that, if the state cannot protect them, they need to protect themselves. But because they are not allowed to arm themselves for self-defense, they live as sitting ducks while the terrorists brutally kill, maim, and rape them with impunity — sometimes under the watchful eyes of security forces.
“Hundreds of our people have lost their lives as a result. Thousands have been maimed and many thousands more displaced from their communities and farmlands.
“Based on the policies the state government has developed and the actions it has taken during these difficult times, we have reluctantly come to the sad conclusion that it will not protect the people of Southern Kaduna.
“The complicity of the state government in the brutal attacks on our people can be inferred from the apparently paid money to the terrorists in a misguided and sinister attempt to entice them to end their attacks.
“The state explained these payments by citing the recommendation of the commission that investigated the post-2011 Kaduna State elections violence. However, the state ignored the commission’s specific recommendation that compensation should be made to all victims. Instead, the state paid money to the terrorists and gave nothing to the victims in Southern Kaduna.
“Nigerians of good will at home and abroad, including stakeholders and keen observers from Southern Kaduna, have made useful recommendations on how to end the ethnic-religious cleansing. In response to those recommendations, the state has intimidated, arrested and imprisoned prominent people from the area who wrote and/or spoke against the killings, and who offered solutions.
“The Kaduna State government has neither arrested nor prosecuted any culprit and mastermind behind these heinous crimes against humanity, which has emboldened the terrorists to continue their evil deeds. Instead, the state government has been quick to arrest those who protest the cleansing and those it claims engage in “reprisal” attacks.
“Without credible justification, the state government has indefinitely closed the only two tertiary institutions of learning in Southern Kaduna. In addition, curfews have been placed on some Local Governments in the area, an action that has not affected the capacity of the attackers to strike at will. In many cases, people confined to their homes have become easy targets of attack. With the curfew in effect, attacks have increased, not decreased. This makes the curfew useless and meaningless.
“Youths from the affected area courageously trying to protect their communities and thwart impending attacks or protest against the killings have been arrested and jailed by the state; however, not a single Fulani herdsman has been prosecuted. Such selective treatment has emboldened the herdsmen to continue the ethnic cleansing and colonialization rampant in that part of Kaduna State.”