By Kevwe Ebireri, Abuja
A coalition of Southern Kaduna Non-Governmental Organisations, NGOs, from Kaduna State, has decried the systematic and premeditated attacks on the people of the area by an unknown armed militia group, aimed at decimating the inhabitants for selfish interests.
Spokesman for the coalition, Vincent Bodam, who is also vice-chairman of the Gurara Forum, said between 2011-2014, thousands of people have been killed in at least 39 terrorists attacks launched against the Southern Kaduna region which comprises mainly Christians, while over 4,000 have been displaced.
Bodam said the most prominent attacks have been staged in Attakar Chiefdom of Kaura local government, Me Gatah, Me Sankwai, Tekum, Me Kakpang, and Me Kurah, where whole families have been wiped out, some of whom were massacred in their sleep, houses and farmlands burnt, and livestock too destroyed, with survivors rendered destitute and homeless.
“In most of the affected communities, women and children have been killed and brutally murdered in a most barbaric manner. While in some cases they were hacked to death, in others, they were burnt alive or blown up with explosives,” he said.
Bodam said although the people of Southern Kaduna have at different fora and occasions urged both the federal and state government as well as security agencies to ensure the protection of citizens in the area, he regretted that “government has not, in our view, taken adequate steps or actions that would stop the killings or identify the attackers and bring them to book”.
He said even in situations where the affected communities have captured the perpetrators red-handed and turned them over to security forces, no one has so far been prosecuted or punished to serve as deterrent to others; in most cases, they are released on bail by their backers.
Bodam alleged that rather than act to stop the mass genocide, the government engages in fighting and victimizing anyone who protests against the killings, stating that the state governor, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, had issued a query to a civil servant, the head of health in Jamal local government, for daring to stage a peaceful demonstration calling on the authorities to act.
The coalition submitted that unless the federal and state governments take immediate and practical steps to ensure that the Sanga massacre is the last of the genocide against the people of Southern Kaduna, there might be no elections in the zone, as “ghosts do not vote”.
On his part, chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, Chidi Odinkalu, said that the federal government has failed on a large scale to account for the unlawful mass killing of thousands of human lives in the country.
“What is the life of a Nigerian voter worth?” Odinkalu asked repeatedly.
He tasked all political parties campaigning for votes, especially from the region, to come up with a plan to end the on-going crisis there, st
ressing that “if you cannot stand up for a Nigerian life, you are not fit to be a public officer”.