The Christian Rights Agenda (CRA) has raised the alarm over renewed killings in Southern Kaduna region of Kaduna state and calls for lasting solution.
The group in a press statement, Sunday in Abuja, said: “Following renewed violence in Southern Kaduna, the CRA have accused Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Kaduna state Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, of turning a blind eye to the genocide against indigenous Christians in the state.
“It is on record that neither Buhari nor el-rufai has issued a statements commiserating with the victims of #SouthernKadunaGenocide.
Governor el-Rufai in particular even apologised to the people of Birnin Gwari area for his government’s inability and failure to protect them from attacks by bandits. Why has he not done so for
#SouthernKadunaGenocide? Is it because they are #Christians?
“CRA notes with pain that from nonchalance, government’s attitude towards the fate of northern minority Christians in southern Kaduna has risen to the level of deliberate mis-information with a view to changing the entire narrative ostensibly to cover-up an orchestrated plan to annihilate the people and take-over their lands.
“Over 50 people have died in Kaura, Zangon-Kataf, Kauru, and Kajuru local government areas of the North-western Nigerian state in the last one week. This situation is unacceptable,” CRA stated categorically.
The rights group maintained that, “The federal government of Nigeria led by Buhari and Kaduna state government have questions to answer in the carnage and bloodbath that has become the lot of innocent and defenceless Christian peasant farmers of southern Kaduna that at every attack, the state and federal government, respectively, take turns to make excuses for the genocidal criminals.
“In the wake of the latest attack, Presidential Spokesman Garba Shehu quickly attributed the renewed killings in the Christian dominated southern Kaduna to revenge killings and mutual violence by criminal gangs acting on ethnic and religious grounds.
“Garba Shehu’s statement read in part: From available records, Southern Kaduna enjoys comprehensive security deployments, including the Army, Special Forces of both the Army and the Air Force, surveillance aircraft by the Air Force and mobile police units that are on the ground on a 24-hour basis to forestall criminality and keep the peace. But unlike other parts of the country, the problem of Southern Kaduna is more complicated than many critics are ready to acknowledge and understand.
“CRA believes the federal government is not only complicit in the protracted violence that has claimed several lives but wonders what the federal government has done with the security information at its disposal in the last five years.
“Or is the presidency scared of saying the formidable security arrangement is in place to protect the Fulani militia while they kill innocent southern Kaduna indigenes.”
CRA decried the fact that, Governor el-Rufai in a statement through his Spokesman Muyiwa Adekeye said insecurity in Kaduna state was being perpetrated by criminal elements who have been killing, kidnapping people and rustling cattle the entire North West.
According to el-Rufai, “The criminality of the bandits gets coated with ethnic and religious hues when it affects communities in the southern parts of the state, where it tends to exacerbate communal tensions and pitch people who have lived peacefully together against each other. This is how the cycle of attacks, revenge, and reprisals occurs in southern Kaduna.”
While expressing disappointment over the statement by the governor CRA called on international bodies such as the United Nations (UN), and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open an investigation into the on-going killings in southern Kaduna without further delay.
“Specifically, CRA is calling on the ICC to mobilise with immediate effect, and set up a fact-finding panel in order to end the pogrom before it is too late,” the statement further stated.