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Governor Nasir El-Rufai says Southern Kaduna community leaders need to emphasize adherence to the rule of law to avoid the persistent attacks and reprisals.
The Governor said that insecurity in Kaduna State was being perpetrated by criminal elements who have been killing, kidnapping people and rustling cattle the entire North West region.
Governor El-Rufai, who made the statement in a Hausa media chat in Kaduna, According to voice of Nigeria said the attacks by bandits are not localized to a single part of the State.
El Rufi said peace requires that everyone should obey the rule of law and avoid self-help, because ultimately peace depends on the willingness of people to live in harmony and to settle their difference peacefully.
“When bandits attack in Southern Kaduna, security reports show that youths from the affected communities have often responded by mobilising to attack Fulani communities in their area whose members share the same ethnicity with the presumed bandits. Even though many Fulani communities are also themselves victims of the bandits in Kaduna State and elsewhere,” he said.
The Governor explained that the criminality of bandits gets coated with ethnic and religious hues when it affects communities in the southern parts of the State which tends to exacerbate communal tensions and pitch people who have lived peacefully together against each other.
“These criminals attack people irrespective of their religion or ethnicity and they have been perpetrating their reign of terror in Giwa, Birnin Gwari and parts of Igabi Local government Areas”.
According to him, these bandits operate mostly in Katsina, Zamfara and Niger States and their attacks in those States are seen and reported as criminal activity, but these same attacks are perceived differently when they occur in Southern Kaduna and are invested with ethno-religious colorations.
He said the problem is worsened by the response of Fulani communities who often resort to self-help when they are attacked, neglecting to report to traditional authorities or security agents to resolve the matter, opting instead for revenge. “This is how the cycle of attacks, revenge and reprisals occur in Southern Kaduna”, he stressed.
He further explained that the government was compelled to impose 24-hour curfew in Zangon Kataf and Kauru LGAs due to the discovery of the corpse of a man from Kauru LGA who was resident in Zangon-Kataf.
“Subsequently, some youths barricaded roads and burnt a vehicle with its occupants. Security agencies had to use force to disperse them from the highway”.
The Governor said that his administration decided to set up a White Paper Committee to draft the government’s position on the reports of the Justice Rahila Cudjoe Commission of Inquiry into the 1992 Zangon-Kataf crisis and the 1995 report of the AVM Usman Muazu Committee in order to find a permanent solution to these violent conflict in Zangon-Kataf.
He said a dispute over farmland was identified as a trigger of the May 1992 crisis and that such a dispute also flared up on 5 June 2020. The intervention of community leaders was believed to have contained tensions until violence broke out again on 11 June 2020.
“It is only right for government to initiate the White Paper process as part of a comprehensive approach to solve the problem in Zangon-Kataf LGA and restore peace in the area”.
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