The Muhammadu Buhari administration will not sweep the major issues underlying the crisis in Southern Kaduna under the carpet, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.
Professor Osinbajo gave the assurance on Thursday during a special conversation featuring him and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, at the ongoing Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference.
He listed the issues to include ensuring justice, fixing economic marginalisation and the prosecution of persons responsible for the murders.
The Vice President, who stated that the government would ensure that the impunity does not worsen, urged those who have concerns about the recently signed CAMA legislation to approach the National Assembly for possible amendments.
“I have been involved since 2001 through the work of the Macedonian initiative, an NGO that focused on providing relief materials to displaced persons in Southern Kaduna and several other places, especially in the north-central part of Nigeria,” he said on the way forward in the Southern Kaduna conflict and making reference to his personal experience.
Professor Osinbajo added: “There have been judicial commissions and all sorts, but the problem remains. So, there is the need to address the underlying issues. You can’t sweep under the carpet, justice and the cries of economic marginalisation.
“The fact is that we must prosecute persons responsible for these murders or otherwise impunity will worsen, and also support those who have lost their breadwinners.”
According to the Vice President, the mindless callous killings in Southern Kaduna are heart-breaking and unacceptable as they are avoidable.
He stressed the need to condole those who lost loved ones and those injured or who have suffered loss of property in the crisis.
Possible Peace-Making Efforts
Professor Osinbajo highlighted what the Federal Government has done and was doing to deal with the situation.
He said: “First is the improvement of security in Southern Kaduna. Now, we have a military base there, for the first time. We also have a lot of Air Force surveillance.
“We have about 500 conventional and Mobile Policemen in Zangon-Kataff and Kaura Local Government Areas and then, the combined military team of the army and the navy who are also on ground 24 hours. This is basically to just take care of the volatile situation there.”
The Vice President noted that President Buhari had several security council meetings where the issues were discussed, and the possibilities of engagement have also been discussed.
On a personal note, he revealed that he has engaged community leaders in Southern Kaduna and the state governor to look at what peace-making efforts were possible.
Professor Osinbajo was optimistic that the issues would be resolved, noting that some of the peace-making efforts have been fairly successful.
“But there is also a lot of work going on to ensure that some of these fundamental issues are being addressed and it’s an evolving situation, but it’s something we can’t afford to ignore and it’s gone on for far too long and it’s redressable and possible for us to resolve,” he stated.
On his part, Gbajabiamila spoke about the collaboration between the Executive and the Legislature under the present administration in addressing some of the critical issues facing the country.
He said the actions of the lawmakers would continue to be guided by the legislative agenda adopted by the House at its inauguration in 2019, in line with the vision of the President.