THE Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Monday called for a stop to accusations and counter-accusations between Kaduna State Government and other stakeholders over the killings in Southern Kaduna.
The Christian umbrella body said there should be a round table solution to the incessant killings noting that every provocative statement over the matter should be avoided.
Samson Ayokunle, President of CAN stated this when he led a team of CAN leadership to a meeting with Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House.
Ayokunle particularly stated that it is the duty of the government to make sure that the so-called unknown gunmen” are ‘known’ and brought to book!
“On many occasions, when I read of ‘unknown gunmen’ and it ends there, I wonder whether it is not the duty of those governing us to make sure that the “unknown gunmen” are ‘known’ and brought to book,” Ayokunle said.
“Every provocative statement over the matter should be avoided, as everybody is looking at the governor as a father of the state and this is the understanding with which he should handle every accusing finger pointed at him. Adding that the governor’s office is like that of the dung where all kinds of rubbish are dumped.”
He told the governor that they have come to let him know that the present best of the government and the security agents were not good enough.
“It would be enough and praiseworthy when the killings stop.”
“Whenever CAN in the state and at the national level cry out against the insecurity, it is because we are tired of seeing human beings being slaughtered like animals. It is because, not only our heart is bleeding, but that of God our Creator and Maker as well. Whenever you see us complain to your government or the federal government, it is because we have no other person to cry or look up to but you and the security agents.”
The CAN president noted that the government is the one who has the people’s trust and resources to secure communities, adding that people have the legitimate right to challenge the government to empirically convince that that it is doing that.
“We equally cry because of the economic downturn this perennial crisis is bringing to the state. We cry out against the killings because of the negative image the continuous crisis is bringing to the state and our nation in the international community,” he said.
“If people say that it is religious or ethnic, we do not have the right to say they are foolish or should shut up because the continuing crisis has given them room to say whatever they are saying as long as the killings continue.”
He stressed that the people would have rest of mind when they know that perpetrators of the attacks would be brought to book whether they are bandits, herdsmen, Boko Haram, religious fundamentalists or even, cattle rustlers.
” If such people had been brought to book before, the proportion was a far cry from the frequency of attacks and killings. The people causing trouble are not spirits, so, it should not be too difficult to apprehend them and bring them to book. If there are people sponsoring them, a thorough investigation should be able to fish them out and cause them to face the wrath of the law,” he said.
He added that the government and all stakeholders would be be guilty of legitimizing criminality if they continued to watch people do reprisal attacks without making both sides responsible for taking laws into their hands.
Ayokunle however assured El-Rufai that the Christian Association of Nigeria was ready to partner with his government and security agents in finding a solution to the matter.
“Let there be a round table discussion and a pledge of cooperation rather than confrontation in finding a solution to this wicked and embarrassing development.”
While speaking during the meeting, Nasir El-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State alleged “media hype” of the protracted violence that has seen many killed in the Southern part of the state, saying the crisis is not different from those in other states in the North-western zone of Nigeria.
“We challenge anyone to characterise or differentiate the communal clashes, attacks and killings in parts of Northern and Central Kaduna State, as well as in Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Niger States from those in Southern Kaduna,” El-Rufai said.
“Is it because in all the other cases, the victims are lesser humans or lacking in voice and media hype? What happened to our common humanity?”
The governor denied that the crisis had persisted because some people hijacked land that do not belong to them. He said the state government would keep doing its best to secure the state and its environs.
“We have requested and encouraged anybody to present evidence of an inch of land within Kaduna State that has been forcibly or illegally occupied. Were such a clear, physical and actual transgression to occur, it will constitute not only injustice against the community displaced, but a challenge to the authority of the state within its territory that cannot be allowed to stand,” he said.