As cloak of insecurity hovers around the country, BABA NEGEDU, in this report chronicles the spate of killings in Kaduna State, explaining while the killings persist
Almost on a daily basis, incidences of attacks and killings have continued to emanate from Kaduna State.
A report by the state government in 2020 a total of 937 died in attacks by bandits and other forms of violence. In spite of government’s efforts to stem the ugly trend, which has engulfed many parts of the state, bandits have continued to run riot, killing, maiming and kidnapping residents and travelers across the state.
Convener, Joint Action Committee of Northern Youth Associations, Murtala Abubakar, blamed the lack of serious will by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration and some utterances of the Kaduna State Government as some of the reasons why killings, especially in Kaduna have continued.
While he acknowledged government’s efforts, Murtala also surmised that sharing boundaries with banditry worst hit states such as Katsina, Niger and Zamfara states, has also contributed to the situation in the state.
He said: “Kaduna shares boundaries with Zamfara, Katsina and Niger states, worst hit by the activities of kidnapping and rural banditry. As a result, Kaduna will naturally suffer from the spillover effect of what is happening in her neighbours. “Also, utterances of Governor Nasir El-rufai in regards to the general state of insecurity in the North appeared confrontational.
It negates the views of his colleagues, even when such utterances are not necessary. This has exposed the state to avoidable attacks, as the criminals want to bring state to its knees.” He continued: “The lack of political will on the side of the Federal Government to decisively deal with the insecurity in the north is worsening the situation.” Also weighing in on the matter,
Director, Media and Publicity, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Kaduna State, Ibrahim Bayero Zango, said, he preferred to speak on efforts to resolve the issues surrounding the clashes in the Southern part of Kaduna.
He said the inability of the leadership of Atyap to adequately communicate resolutions of peace treaty, was responsible for the recent breakdown of law and order in the area. Zango said:
“The killings, especially in the Southern part of the state continue simply because the Kataf community leaders are not on the same page with their subjects. “The people on ground in the Kataf communities are not respecting the terms that we have reached with the leadership of the communities.”
Asked what the terms were, he answered: “The terms that we all agreed to was that everybody should return to where they were before the skirmishes started and continue to live in peace with one another.
“But what we have found out is if some of our people try to come back to where they lived before they were forced to leave. The locals on ground refused to accept them. They even threatened to kill whoever comes back to live there.
Some of them even say they are not part of any agreement.” On the way out he said: “The leaders and the people of Atyap should come to the same page, so that we can understand ourselves because we need each other to live together in peace.” On their part, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) described the peace treaty between the Atyap and Fulani as a “curious one”.
SOKAPU’s spokesman, Luka Binniyat, told Sunday Telegraph that they were aware that, “virtually all the local communities of Atyap land were never involved in the peace deals. We suspect it to be true for the Fulani. It would look like it is the elite of both sides that do sit and append signature to whatever they have agreed upon without reaching out to the locals.”
He added: “But, I know that there are still many Fulani Rugas in Atyap land, who never left, or left and have returned mostly to villages which were not attacked by Fulani militia. The Atyap must be commended for this.”
To Binniyat: “The areas which have suffered mass murder and wanton arson, even the Fulani, who fled and are complicit cannot be comfortable returning to the community that was very kind to them, but were rewarded with evil. Moreso, as the community was not part of any peace deal with the fleeing Fulani. “To show that the several peace deals count to nothing, violence in Atyap land has never stopped since July last year.
If those who sign the peace deals agree to be held responsible for any attack, then we will believe the sincerity of the agreement. “How can you be talking of Fulani returning to Atyap’s destroyed communities without addressing the issue of the IDPs and compensation or any form of assistance to the surviving victims? It cannot work.”
On his take on tackling the general insecurity in the state, the SOKAPU spokesman said, there is “nothing to show that government is committed to stopping the pervasive evil that has engulfed the state because all honest advice and proffered solutions by critical stakeholders have been ignored and the problem is getting worse with each passing day.
“We don’t know how Kaduna State will survive the remaining two years of this government. “There are hundreds of thousands of able body men and women, who are ready to stick their necks out in order to protect their communities and restore normalcy. “Kaduna State should enlist them as volunteers.
There are thousands of serving and retired military and security men and women, especially in Southern Kaduna, who are also willing to volunteer their services and train these youths.
“Government should allow them to bear arms, backed by law. The volunteers would be given basic discipline and their use of the arms would be controlled under a chain of commands.”
The main opposition party in the state, Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), while condemning the recent spate of kidnappings and killings in the state, said the incident, “validates concerns that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and
its administration have become bereft of solutions to fight the spate of insecurity under their watch.” The party, which called for full investigation, also said: “The Party is alarmed by the situation wherein criminals have turned the kidnapping of innocent school students and other vulnerable citizens for ransom, into a lucrative business following the lacklustre approach and media propaganda under the El- rufai’s administration in the fight against banditry/terrorism in our dear state. “Regrettably, our party weeps over the unfortunate situation that our state is being plunged into caused by the ineffective command structure to secure our dear state”.
However, efforts to get what the party believes should be the immediate solutions to the killings was not successful, as Abraham Alberah Catoh, the State Publicity Secretary of the party did not get back on his submission before going to press. Meanwhile, in the recent attacks targeted at the educational sector in the state, not less than four schools have been attacked or attempted to be attacked in Kaduna State alone by gun wielding bandits.
Trouble started at the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, in the Mando area of Igabi Local Government Area, when gunmen breached the perimeter fencing of the higher institution and went away with at least, 39 students.
The state government had initially reported that only 30 students were missing but later increased the number following a proper head count. Apart from releasing a video to show that they were in possession of the abducted students, the bandits had also reportedly demanded the sum of N500million before they could release the students. So far, 10 of the students have been ‘recovered’ by the military while 29 are still in the hands of their abductors.
The state and Federal Government in conjunction with security agencies are now racing against time to see to the release of the abductees.
However, more worrying is the fact that on the same evening the students of the Forestry Mechanisation were abducted, the Defense Headquarters had issued a statement that another attack was averted at the Turkish International Secondary School in the Rigachikun area of Kaduna State.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Mohammed Yarima, in a statement, said, troops were mobilized to the school following a tip off of a planned abduction. The troops also had to swiftly move to Afaka after hearing of the abduction there.
On the following Sunday night, soldiers were able to also avert another attack where about 307 students were about to be kidnapped by gunmen from the Government Science Secondary School, in Ikara, Headquarters of Ikara Local Government area of the state. In Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area, bandits again attacked a primary school in Rema village, in broad daylight at about 9:00am, when the teachers and their pupils were just settling down for the day’s activities.
There was pandemonium and panic as bandits wielding weapons stormed the school in commando style, sending pupils and students scampering in different directions.
When the dust raised by the invaders, who came with over 15 motorcycles settled, three teachers and two students were initially declared missing.
However, the pupils were later found but the teachers’ whereabouts were yet to be ascertained. According to the State Commissioner, Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, the bandits had kidnapped the three teachers.
The commissioner told a press conference in the state capital that following, “the attack by armed bandits at around 8:50am today Monday 15th March 2021 at Rema Primary School, Magajin Gari Ward 2, of Birnin Gwari Local Government Area, and the first update given by the Kaduna State Government, which stated that reports were being received of a kidnapping at the said primary school.
“At this time, the state government has compiled and analyzed all the security reports and can confirm that there was indeed an invasion of the said school. The govern
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