Posted by News Express | 8 April 2017 | 1,670 times
The Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), an umbrella body for ethnic nationalities in the Southern part of Kaduna State has raised the alarm over impending humanitarian crisis, if urgent steps were not taken to assist victims of attacks by herdsmen in the area.
The southern part of Kaduna state had in recent time, come under massive attack by herdsmen, leading to loss of lives and destruction of property, prompting the deployment of security personnel to the area by the federal government in December last year.
In a communique issued at end of a stakeholders’ summit at Bajju Town Hall, Zonkwa, headquarters of Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State, SOKAPU said victims of the attacks, many of whose homes and farm produce were destroyed by rampaging herdsmen, were facing hunger and starvation.
“It is eminently and poignantly clear that there will be huge humanitarian crisis in Southern Kaduna communities through starvation, diseases, lack of shelter et al with children, women and the vulnerable worse hit, if urgent humanitarian assistance is not extended to the hundreds of thousands of surviving victims silently dying of dearth of basic essentials of life in the homes of their equally distressed hosts,” the communique said.
The communique was jointly signed by the National President of SOKAPU, Mr. Solomon Kaptain Musa, a lawyer and the General Secretary, Comrade Anto Ambi Ogah. According to the communique, since last year crops were not harvested as the herdsmen destroyed farms, adding that as the rains approach, “farmers cannot return to prepare their farms. for the incoming farming season due to safety concerns as there are daily killings of persons on farms or on the road to farms.”
The communique noted that hundreds of people had been killed, while several communities were burnt and the inhabitants internally displaced, stressing that, in many cases, the remaining houses that were not burnt, were vandalised and the roofs stripped off to discourage people from returning back to their homes.
The union maintained that what was going on in Southern Kaduna was genocide and pogrom and “not clashes or conflicts or reprisals, skirmish or fighting as is wrongly and misleadingly put by government officials and adversaries of Southern Kaduna,” alleging that the series of violence in the area were well coordinated and organised terrorism, carried out by herdsmen.
The group also “rejected the notion that only three local government areas in the Southern part of the state were affected in the pogrom as every community in Southern Kaduna has lost persons in the genocide.”
The communique maintained that there were thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who had moved to stay with relations within and outside Southern Kaduna, putting severe strain on the ability of host families who struggle daily for means of feeding.
SOKAPU accused the emergency management agencies of failing to play their roles in alleviating the sufferings of the victims.
SOKAPU further alleged that “their presence has not significantly deterred the armed militia from carrying out daring invasions of communities and isolated sniper and other killing of persons on farmlands and bushes.”
SOKAPU expressed worry that aside herding their cattle into farms to graze on crops, the armed herdsmen were now busy harvesting locust beans, crops as well as other farm products owned by communities that they had displaced.
The union also expressed concern about the continuous closure of the Kafanchan campus of the a Kaduna State University (KASU), alleging that “Governor Nasir el-Rufai has not only closed KASU campus Kafanchan but is trying to relocate all the three tertiary institutions in Southern Kaduna using insecurity as the reason for the relocation and in the case of the College of Nursing to downgrade it to a campus with a director answerable to a new headquarters outside Southern Kaduna.”
According to SOKAPU, “The pervasive violence in Southern Kaduna by armed Fulani militia was replete with examples in many places in the Middle Belt and the Southern states, pointing to a common evil agenda against the Middle belt and the Southern states.
The communique however called on all Southern Kaduna communities to cooperate with security agencies sent to their areas, “who in turn are expected to respect the people and not behave like an army of occupation.”
The communique called for the establishment of IDP centres to ensure proper documentation of all those affected by the attacks to facilitate easy distribution of relief materials.
The communique called on the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) the Red Cross, charity organisations and all good spirited individuals to come to the aid of the suffering people, as starvation is imminent if no relief is extended to them urgently.
•Text courtesy of THISDAY.
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