RIGHTSView, By EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO: CAN BUHARI END THE KADUNA GENOCIDE?

Posted by News Express | 4 July 2015 | 3,328 times

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The Kaduna State governor Mr. Nassir ElRuffai is a maverick, no doubt, but he has one of the closest friendship of recent with the man on the top now in the seat of power in the Federal Capital of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari.

In some political circles the name of the diminutive politician has severally been mentioned as one of the possible successors to the current President in 2019 should he be allowed by the centripetal and centrifugal forces pulling apart his political platform (APC) to anoint his successor going by emerging evidence that age is no longer on the side of the serving President who himself recently made an open confession that old age wouldn’t let him achieve many revolutionary changes in the body polity.

Well, analysis of who is suitably qualified to succeed the current President in 2019 may be too early in the day but if this peculiarly eccentric politician who presides over as governor of Kaduna State wants to stand any fighting chance of winning the hearts and minds of well meaning Nigerians for higher political calling in the foreseeable future then he has to buckle up his sleeves and truly hit the ground running by pragmatically finding a solution to the spate of genocidal killings going on in his backyard in Southern Kaduna. Let this media savvy politician stop his dramatic early or late hour visits to General hospitals in Kaduna seeking to catch unawares the many lazy government employed medical workers but he has to do first thing first.

The first thing is not this media generated populist agenda of stopping the payment to a segment of the populace for the Islamic fasting seasonal feedings which in itself is illegal but he has to save the lives of the ordinary villagers in the Christian dominated Southern Kaduna if he is to be free of accusations of having the knowledge of the plots by some forces both within and without Southern Kaduna to decimate the population of Southern Kaduna indigenous tribes people.  

The immediate past Governor by now should have been dragged to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, for prosecution for his persistent failure to do the needful to stop the mass killings of women, children and the aged by armed freelance fighters thought to be Fulani Herdsmen. That the leadership and elite of Southern Kaduna including the leadership of their organised civil society are yet to take concrete and verifiable action to institute a charge of crime against humanity against the last governor Mr. Yero is a shock to every right thinking observer that have followed the ugly development that evolved in the entire four year tenure of that Zaria born Accountant thought to have been imposed on Kaduna people by his boss and erstwhile Vice President, Mr. Namadi Sambo. So the current governor must learn from the mistakes of the last occupant of that seat and take every citizen of Kaduna irrespective of tribes or creed as his primary constituents.  That he has set up a probe to be led by a former Military General Mr. Agwai is cosmetic. Let him go further than that and round up the sponsors of these spate of killings who may have been identified by previous probe panels since that state is always known for fratricidal warfare between the diverse ethnic and religious components either over lands rights or just mere mischief over their cosmetic religious and ethno -cultural differences. 

Impunity is one factor that motivates these current killers who have for long stockpiled weapons to carry out the so called revenge over perceived opponents who they have nursed longstanding grievances for fundamentally working strenuously to gain their unique traditional rulership far away from the overbearing dominance of other customary and traditional stools that have no identical cultural and religious affiliations.

Few years back it was thought then that the decision of then governor Ahmed Makarfi to create autonomous chiefdoms for Southern Kaduna indigenous people to somehow symbolically free them from consistently viewed as persons under the Zaria powerful oligarchs. But years down the line the indigenous tribal people and the so called settlers especially those of the Hausa/Fulani affiliations have continued intermittently to an extent that at a time when the crazy leader of Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau had the global press at his beck and call he even threatened to unleash his killers on Southern Kaduna indigenous Christian communities to pay back for what he perceived as previous genocides against the Hausa/Fulani. 

So the  killings going on in Southern Kaduna is skin deep and one way of stopping it is to fundamentally round up the known sponsors who as I have stated earlier  may have actually been pointed out by previous investigations whose findings were never implemented. A stroll around the streets of Kafanchan and another around Zaria and Kaduna and with thoroughbred investigative skills it won’t be difficult to fish out the real masterminds of these genocidal killings of all colouration. What us lacking even now in the seats of power at the state and Federal levels is the desired political will and will power to do the needful rather than embark on shadow chasing and cosmetic committee set ups that would end up not really doing much. Genuine reconciliation is needed but justice for victims and judicial sanctions for the suspected killers must be present evidently before any contemplation of a permanent panacea to these annoying mass killings.

All the mass murderers from which ever affiliations must be arrested and prosecuted and if the state government continues to dance around setting up committees after committees then these brutes from both sides will up their game and we will remain in one particular bloody spot and continue to grieve whenever the gangsters unleashes their blood cuddling violence. Let Nassir El-Ruffai meet President Buhari (his new political soul mate) so a permanent solution is found or he be prepared to also be dragged to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity because as the Chief Security officer of Kaduna State you are constitutionally obliged to protect the lives and property of the citizenry within your area of political jurisdiction. The immediate past governor Ramalan Yero would be sleeping only in a precarious corner of his bed with one of his eyes wide open because if my sixth sense isn’t deceiving me then he may sooner rather than later be required to surrender to international prosecutors in the ICC to say what he knows about the spate of genocides that happened under his political watch from 2011 to 2015. The apparent nonchalant attitudes of both the Federal and Kaduna State Political administrations to tackle the Southern Kaduna genocide squarely is disturbing to a lot of people not less the Senator representing that embattled constituency. 

Senator Danjuma La’ah, representing Southern Kaduna Senatorial Zone, said it all when he recently decried what he described as lack of action by the federal and Kaduna State governments over the murder of 13 natives of the area by gunmen in three villages earlier this month.

Addressing newsmen in Kafanchan, Senator La’ah said he wanted the security challenges facing the people of Southern Kaduna to be given equal attention as that of North East region of the country.

Hear him: “The manner in which our people are being killed with impunity still resembles the same fashion of mindless murder of our people under the former government. This is giving me much concern and I want to call the attention of the world to this wickedness that has always been going on without any seeming solution.”

The parliamentarian continued further: “Last Tuesday, June 16, 2015, around 8pm, the peaceful and law-abiding village of Kastak, in Takad Chiefdom, Jema’a Local Government Area, LGA of Kaduna was invaded by well armed men. According to distress calls I received and the reports of my aides shortly after the invasion, nine people were killed, and 13 others critically injured.

“On June 5, 2015, Ayagan village in Bajju Chiefdom in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State, was invaded by armed men. Four people were killed and several others injured when the invaders fired into a crowd of mourners, unprovoked. I have gone there and personally verified these killings.

“On June 11, 2015, one Tanko Nyam,45, from Kyari Daddu village in Jaba, LGA was ambushed by yet another set of gunmen and killed, leaving behind his wife and five kids.

“As a responsible Senator, I cannot sit and claim that it will soon be well when no authority has shown any interest in the insecurity that has bedevilled our people since 2011.

“In the light of the above, I am asking for the following: That the Federal Government should make Southern Kaduna one of the areas needing urgent and immediate security response just like it is doing in parts of North East zone.”

I sincerely think the President must make it a priority to stop these genocidal killings now. As government at the center settles down there is the need for concerted effort to be made to check the proliferation of illicit weapons by securing our international borders especially those porous areas bordering Nigeria with Chad, Niger and Cameroon.  In the interim let the Nigerian State give licences for mentally sound and law respecting adults facing attacks all over to carry arms to defend themselves since the right to life is sacred and the moment someone dies then any remedial process may no longer involve him directly. As the American rap singers would say and I dare state that I agree that “it is more honouring to die fighting than wait and be slaughtered like Christmas goats.” A stitch in time saves nine. Buhari can indeed end the vicious circles of genocides going on multiple fronts in different parts of Nigeria. He is after all a tested and trusted General.

RIGHTSVIEW appears on Wednesdays and Saturdays, in addition to special appearances. The Columnist, popular activist Emmanuel Onwubiko, is a former Federal Commissioner of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and presently National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).


Source: News Express

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