Where We Stand On The Meeting We Had With His Excellency The Governor Of Kaduna State Alhaji Muktar Ramalan Yero
On behalf of the Southern Kaduna civil society group, a group comprising Southern Kaduna Development Associations Forum, Gurara Forum, SKIPFO and the Southern Kaduna Progressive Youth Movement, we wish to submit the following, being a report on what transpired between us and the government of Kaduna State on the massacre of our women and Children in 3 villages of Moroa Chiefdom, at a meeting held on 17th March, 2014, at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna.
The aforementioned groups, in accord with and with the full and unalloyed support of members of the various other groups in Southern Kaduna, took a firm stand with regard to the Killings of innocent people and acts of brigandry that are taking place at various locations in Southern Kaduna, have adopted a set of resolutions which we have the mandate to bring to the notice of HE Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero.
2.0. SOME FUNDAMENTAL OBSERVATIONS
2.1. ON THE RESPONSE OF SECURITY AGENCEIS
We have serious concerns with the manner and timing of response of security personnel when our people are under attack; they always seem at loss on what to do. At various times in the not distant past, and even with the last attack, frantic efforts were made to contact the soldiers stationed just after the border with Plateau State but none of them responded, stating that they did not have orders to carry out such operations.
2.2. ON THE ESCALATION OF THE KILLINGS
Starting from Bitaro in Jaba LG to Gwong and Kafanchan in Jema’a LGA,to Katsit, Zonkwa and several communities in Zangon Kataf, Kagoro, Attakar, and Moroa, where over 150 persons were mercilessly killed and over 240 houses burnt down, the trajectory of these killings shows an escalation in it’s scope and sophistication. In the last instance, materials of an explosive and incendiary nature where utilized in the killing and destruction.
2.3 ON THE CATEGORAIZATION OF THE ATTACKS
That in one sweep whole villages were sacked, people killed, women raped, livestock stolen and destroyed, barns and food stores burnt to the ground, demands that these various dastardly acts be defined as genocide and crimes against humanity due to there heinous nature. In our view, the perpetrators are specifically attacking the economic livelihoods of our population; and attacking helpless women and children, shows that there is a specific and calculated programme aimed at decimating our population.
3.1 In the light of these observations, we have resolved to go on a peaceful strike to draw attention to the various incidences of killings in the Southern Kaduna region and also make certain demands on government.
4.0 MEETING WITH THE GOVERNOR
4.1 Following the genocidal massacre of defenseless people, mostly women and children, in three communities in Moroa Chiefdom of Kaura LGA, Kaduna State, the youth groups and coalitions of Southern Kaduna decided to stage a peaceful demonstration in Kaduna on Monday, March 17th, 2014 even though the president of SOKAPU our mother body has addressed a press conference to that effect .
After meeting with the heads of security agencies, however, a meeting was arranged for us to table our demands directly to the governor of Kaduna State. We accepted this option in good faith in order not to worsen the already volatile situation in the state, and in the same vein believing the governor will, expectedly, respond adequately and promptly to the security situation in the southern part of the state. After the meeting with his Excellency, the southern Kaduna Development Association Forum, Gurara Forum, SKIPFo, and Southern Kaduna Progressive Youth Movement made the following demands of the Kaduna State Government.
5.1 Explain to the people of Southern Kaduna and indeed all other Nigerians, why the perpetrators of the on-going heinous and genocidal crimes in Southern Kaduna, even when apprehended and handed over to security agencies, have never been brought to book, instead groups speaking for the culprits have at various times attempted to justify such mass murder of hundreds of women and children on grounds that a few of their cattle have been killed.
5.2 That since the security agencies have appeared incapable of stopping the attacks on our peaceful people and their communities, the Kaduna State Government should immediately employ 800 youths from each of the local government areas attacked, starting with Kaura, train and empower them to assist the security agencies in protecting the Southern Kaduna communities from incessant attacks and systematic annihilation by the Fulani gunmen.
5.3 That relief materials and supplies be immediately provided to the victims. It should be noted however that our people do not want to be killed and their economic livelihoods destroyed just for some people or Government to show “concern’’ by giving such materials.
5.4 That adequate arrangements be made to provide security of life and property in Southern Kaduna, in collaboration with the communities therein, in order for government to convince our communities that they have not abandoned them to their own fate
6.0 MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MEETING
After due deliberations on the response of the Governor, H.E ALHAJI MUKTAR RAMALAN YERO, at the meeting with him on Monday, 17th March, 2014, we do hereby observe as follows:
6.1 That the governor, in his response avoided the main issues and chose to address the tangential issues instead. In his response to the training of youths for security duties, he said he had a wealth creation programme that will cater for youth employment and by extension address youth restiveness.
The governor deliberately or otherwise did not make a categorical statement for the training of youths in security duties for their communities after indicting the security agencies for not being able to stem the tide of violence.
6.2 The governor, having commended the various youth groups present for shelving the protest in the general interest of the state, went ahead to state that the government had the capacity to crush any organization aiming to breach the fragile peace in the state. In our understanding, this was directed at SKADF, GF, SKIPfo and the various other Southern Kaduna groups that scheduled to engage in the peaceful protest, even after offering to partner with government to ensure peace.
The valid but uncomfortable question is: ’’If the Kaduna state government has the capacity to crush peaceful groups, what is the hindrance in stopping perpetrators of crimes against the good and peace-loving people of Southern Kaduna?”
6.3 That the governor had to forego his trip to the United States to come back home because of the senseless killing was not enough demonstration of his commitment to remedying the situation at hand ,besides we also view this as a mere camouflage since he has deliberately refused to Visit the Villages attacked. We demand that he should show leadership instead of blaming the security inadequacy in the state on the security agencies.
6.4 In throwing back the questions we raised to us, the governor did not inspire leadership. He showed he was lacking in the understanding of the security architecture of the state.
Simply put, there were no assurances from him.
The resolutions in this report were adopted at a meeting of the various SK associations, held in Barnawa, Kaduna, on Monday 18th, 2014.
For and on behalf of the various groups.