Southern Kaduna Diaspora ( SOKAD) continues to be troubled by your handling of the genocide in Southern Kaduna. We have expressed our concerns about this on several occasions, specific to the intimidation of your critics, with the hope that the state will modify its approach, but to no avail. While the Kaduna State government has made pronouncements on its desire to secure a lasting peace in Southern Kaduna, its actions, so far, have directly contradicted its pronouncements.
One important step in the process of securing peace in any community is to dialogue with legitimate representatives of the people of the community. However, when the state arrogates to itself the sole power to decide who it will dialogue with, and ignores the people’s choice, it shows that the state call for peace is not genuine.
A case in point is your attitude toward Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU). SOKAPU is the legitimate representative of the ethnic groups in Southern Kaduna. For the Governor of Kaduna State to refuse to dialogue with this respected group and to refer to its officers as bigots, is unfortunate and unacceptable. Your statement on National Television that you will not meet with SOKAPU to discuss strategies for achieving peace in Southern Kaduna raises serious questions about your commitment to peace in the area. SOKAPU is a nationally and internationally respected group, led by learned professionals in different fields of human endeavors, who are well equipped to offer useful advice to the Governor and others in leadership who are truly concerned about the ethnic and religious cleansing going on in Southern Kaduna.
The recent Operation Harbin Kunama in Southern Kaduna, was initially seen as a positive step toward achieving lasting peace in the area; it was hoped that perpetrators of the genocide-the armed Fulani herdsmen, would be disarmed. Many people in southern Kaduna were leery and skeptical of the effort, just as they were of the establishment of a permanent military presence in the area. Those fears are now confirmed as the Operation Harbin Kunama entered its second phase a couple of weeks ago. As it turned out, it is innocent and helpless people of Southern Kaduna who are having their hunting tools and rifles confiscated and soldiers are reported to be going house to house disarming them. The state has failed these citizens by not protecting them and now it is taking away any chance of resistance against the terrorist that are wiping them out. The state is therefore aiding and abating the ongoing genocide. This is wrong and therefore unacceptable. From available reports, no terrorist has been disarmed or arrested. The Fulani herdsmen are still armed and keeping their weapons. While some elected Southern Kaduna politicians, such as Senator Danjuma Leah have had their legally obtained guns confiscated, the Emirate in Kafanchan which is widely believed to be a repository of illegally obtained weapons, has not been searched.
SOKAD is also troubled that Kaduna State is deliberately undermining the education of Southern Kaduna. Under the pretext of security, you and your Commissioner for Education, have closed the only two tertiary Institutions in Southern Kaduna and have no plan to reopen them.
The State and Federal governments’ actions have clearly demonstrated a half-hearted and biased commitment to finding peace in Southern Kaduna. In several instances, their actions have and continue to undermine the ability of the people to defend themselves. Such actions amount to war crimes that are prosecutable. Their offices are term limited and the actions or inaction of those in power, who have sworn to protect and defend the constitution of the Republic and to comply with international agreements on basic universal human rights will be called to order and tried in due time.
SOKAD will continue to contribute its quota to ending the genocide in Southern Kaduna. We are committed to being a watchdog for accountable leadership from those elected to serve the people. In his recent letter to you, Rev Fr. Paul D.Jatau reminded you of your pledge “…. that you will do your best to restore Kaduna to a State that works for the people regardless of tribe, ethnic or religious affiliation. You said that when this is achieved, we will shout for joy, saying Liberty!, Freedom! Tyranny is dead”Governor, the people of southern Kaduna have had little cause to shout for joy under your regime as the liberty and freedom that you promised as a candidate continues to elude us. Instead, unspeakable tyranny has been visited on us under your watch more than at any time in living memory.
Meanwhile, for real first step to bringing security to our part of the State, SOKAD suggests the following:
- The State should establish dialogue with SOKAPU as the umbrella organization that represents the people of Southern Kaduna.
- The search and seizure of the hunting weapons of Southern Kaduna farmers must stop. The focus of Operation Whatever should be on the real perpetrators of the genocide.
- All Perpetrators of atrocities in Southern Kaduna must be arrested and brought to justice
- All Southern Kaduna indigenes wrongly arrested should be released without preconditions.
- The Kaduna State University Kafanchan Campus, and College of Education, GidanWaya, that have remained on indefinite closure, should be reopened.
Freeman Kamuru, PhD, MD, President, SOKAD
Danlami Ngboze, MA, PhD, Secretary General, SOKAD
Saidu John, B.Eng , Financial Secretary, SOKAD