- 6 more persons killed in Jama’a despite curfew
Buffeted by searing criticism of his cold silence over the serial killings in Southern Kaduna, Kaduna State, the presidency said Monday that President Muhammadu Buhari had been mute because the state Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, had been on top of the situation.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, spoke on a Channels Television’s programme: Sunrise Daily saying that it was needless for the president to speak on the bloodletting in the restive part of the North-western state since the governor assured that he was in full control of the violent crisis and had been briefing his boss regularly.
Some critics had said while Buhari was always quick to issue a statement when killings happened abroad, he had been quiet when such killings took place in Nigeria.
Adesina’s comment came on a day gun men mauled six persons in Goska Village, Jama’a Local Government Area of the state, in spite of the curfew the state government had imposed on the troubled area.
Defending the President, Adesina said Nigeria was a federal state, explaining that there was no need for Buhari to speak since El-Rufai said he was on top of the matter.
According to him, as the chief security officer of his state, it is the responsibility of the governor, who has pledged to bring perpetrators of the violence to book, to deal with the matter.
“You don’t have to hear from the president on that matter. When it pays us, we talk about federalism and true federalism; yet you want the president and presidency to talk about everything,” Adesina said.
He also said: “When a thing like this happens in a state, there is a chief security officer and he is supposed to be on top of the matter.
“Governor El-Rufai Rufai was at the villa on Thursday to brief the president, so why should the president then be talking about it?
“In true federalism it is the governor that should be in charge and he is in charge of it.”
Adesina said local authorities must play a crucial role in stopping the violence, adding that states and local governments have a major role to play in tackling herdsmen crisis.
He said the president was always in constant touch with governors whenever an attack occurred.
He also said that the position of the president was that there must be collaboration between the states and the grassroots leaders in local governments to stop such crises.
“The federal government has roles to play but not as much as the states and local governments,” he said.
Not less than six persons had been reported dead in Goska village, Jema’a Local Government Area in the early hours of Christmas.
The victims included a teenage secondary school student, Gimbia Morik, daughter of a former council chairman in Jema’a.
The killings, by suspected herdsmen, occurred despite Jema’a and two other local governments – Kaura and Zango Kataf – being under a 24-hour curfew.
The state government after a meeting of heads of various security agencies in the state, had on December 21 imposed the 24-hour curfew to prevent violence during the festive season.
Although there is no accurate figure of how many people had been killed from the ethno-religious violence in Southern Kaduna in 2016, dozens had been reported dead.
The killings in Southern Kaduna are suspected to be due to violence between the locals and migrating Fulani herdsmen.
Apart from Kaduna, similar violence between locals, mainly farmers, and migrating herdsmen had caused the death of hundreds of people in several other states including Benue and Taraba.
But Adesina came under heavy criticisms for defending his boss’ decision not to talk about the killings.
Reacting through a tweeter handle, RightsAfrica said: “Please note when @MBuhari spoke about killings in Berlin and Paris, it’s because Merkel and Holland aren’t on top there!”
Others said that the spokesperson must work on his human relations while others said he was clueless. One Nasiru Usman said: “All the blame on Jonathan is politics. Why didn’t you blame the state governors ruling states affected by Boko Haram since it was a state issue?”
Several people sustained injuries from gunshots while many houses were burnt by the bandits who gave the Goska villagers a bloody Christmas.
A resident of the community said the invaders stormed the village about 3:00am and started shooting sporadically and setting houses on fire.
He said those who sustained injuries could not be immediately rushed to the hospital as a result of the curfew.
Residents of the community were said to have been taken aback that the attack took place despite the 24 hour curfew imposed on the area.
Jama’a local government is one of the three local governments where the state government declared a 24 hour curfew following the persistent killings by gunmen.
The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has condemned the killings, saying that el-Rufai should be held responsible.
SOKAPU in a statement on Monday in Kaduna by its spokesman, Mr. Yakubu Kuzamani, maintained that the governor should be held responsible for the killings in Goska village “because these killings took placed under a 24-hour curfew, imposed on Zangon Kataf, Kaura and Jema’a Local Government areas by the governor.”
SOKAPU said: “While people were forced to stay indoors, pampered marauding herdsmen whose presence around Goska was noticed and reported by people around that area for almost three days, attacked the town and for hours, killed and burnt without let or hindrance from security.
“This amply confirmed our assertion that the 24-hour curfew slammed on the three local government areas was just to punish the people for daring to protest the persistent killings in their villages on 20th December when el-Rufai visited Kafanchan”.
However, the state government has condemned the attack and charged security agencies to redouble their efforts in fishing out the attackers and bring them to justice.
The government in a statement by Mr. Samuel Aruwan, spokesman to the governor, regretted that while everything was being done to end the attacks, “forces of darkness that represent evil and inhumanity struck again killing innocent citizens, burnt their houses and injured some and terrified many”.
Aruwan said: “Government and security agencies will not be deterred, we will continue to be resilient, up and doing and courageous in tackling this unfortunate situation.”
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) monday sympathised with the families of victims of the killings in Southern Kaduna.
The Christian body also rejoiced with all Christians in the country as they celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ amidst economic recession.
The CAN in a statement by its President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, also identified with victims of Boko Haram terrorists in the North-eastern part of the country, advising Nigerians to confront the prevailing economic recession and its attendant problems with courage.
“I admonish all Christians and of course all Nigerians to pick up courage and move on with their lives in spite of the challenges facing us as a nation,” he said.
A statement by CAN’s Director, Legal and Public Affairs, Mr. Kwamkur Samuel, sympathised with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and condoled with families of victims of the killings in the Southern Kaduna.
He said: “CAN sympathises with the victims of various attacks spread in the IDPs camps across the nation and our members in Southern Kaduna where some murderous groups have been killing despite the heavy presence of the security operatives.”
According to him: “The leadership team is grateful to the Almighty God that despite the excruciating challenges of the economic recession and the act of terrorism by various terrorists groups and militia in the Middle Belt, particularly the Southern Kaduna and other parts of Nigeria, the faithful went ahead with the celebration of the Christmas, they are able to keep hope alive.” he said.