TEXT OF A SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE COORDINATOR OF COALITION AGAINST KAJURU KILLINGS, REV FR WILLIAMS KAURA ABBA, ON THE OCCASION OF A PEACEFUL PROCESSION, ON TUESDAY MARCH 19, 2019 AT THE UNITY FOUNTAIN, ABUJA
We are a group of men and women, united by our common humanity, from different creeds, tribes and tongues. Saddened by events in our dear state, Kaduna, we have gathered here in Abuja, our nation’s capital, to bring to the attention of fellow citizens and the international community the horrendous attacks on many Adara communities living in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State by herdsmen militia. The latest death toll of this mindless carnage has already surpassed 130, with several communities reduced to rubbles, and setting the stage for a major humanitarian crisis that has so far displaced no fewer than 10,000 persons now living in four camps.
The present spate of killings started on Sunday February 10, 2019 when herdsmen militia, without any form of provocation, attacked Ungwar Barde in Maro ward of Kajuru LGA. In that blistering attack, 10 persons, including a pregnant woman, were killed. To our shock and consternation, not a single word over the killing was issued by the Kaduna State Government. Five days after the attack, exactly on February 15, 2019, Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, on National Television disclosed that security agencies had recovered bodies of 66 Fulani killed by Adara natives. He was later to increase the death toll to 130.
The governor’s allegations over killings of Fulani is still an allegation that is yet to be proven, as he has neither shown the world the pictures of recovered Fulani corpses nor commenced investigation to prove his allegation. The Kaduna State Police commissioner recently debunked the death toll as announced by the governor, insisting that investigation into Fulani killings is still at “embryonic stage.”
The allegation by el-Rufai over killings of our brothers of Fulani extraction set the stage for reprisal killings and weaved the labyrinth of insecurity over the besieged Adara communities such as we are currently witnessing. Within the space of one month, we have been horror-stricken at the barbaric attacks carried out by these merchants of death against children, men, women, including the aged. Communities have been reduced to rubbles and insecurity now stalks these towns and villages unchallenged.
The existential threat to Adara people is frightening and real, as both the Kaduna State and Federal Government are playing the ostrich to the security need and humanitarian catastrophe pervading the communities. In most of the communities under attacks, the difficult terrains and their locations make the task of reaching them herculean.
This peaceful procession today reveals our commitment to the restoration of peace in not only Adara communities, but other areas of Southern Kaduna and indeed Birnin Gwari now under siege by these criminal elements. We call on fellow Nigerians and the international community to mount pressure on Nigerian government to come to our aid by ending the genocide that is rippling across Adara communities in Kajuru and other areas of Southern Kaduna where there is a resurgence of violence, such as Gerti and Sanga where no fewer than 12 persons have been killed by these rampaging herdsmen militia. Most disturbingly is the fact that while Adara nation mourns, Governor Nasir El Rufai rounded up and put in jail Adara leaders and elder statesmen including the Waziri Adara who’s next in the line of seniority in Adara chiefdom on fathom charges.
We cannot remain silent in the face of these gruesome killings and deliberate agenda to annihilate Adara people whose only crime is being natives. The bourgeoning human carnage has the propensity of spreading to other areas of the state if not effectively checkmated. If we must save our shared humanity and salvage what is left of humankind, we need to close ranks and insist on relevant organs of government to perform their obligations without fear or favor.
- Government should, as a matter of urgency, deploy more security forces into these hinterlands, including consistent aerial surveillance to track the terrorists and consequently end the carnage.
2.Government at both Federal and state levels must muster courage and the political will to halt the incursion of these non-state actors. It is our firm belief that powerful retrogressive forces are funding and supporting these well-coordinated militia who come in and strike at our sleepy and peaceful communities and retreat without consequences.
- Government should provide adequate healthcare for the wounded, food and shelter for the victims. We plead with agencies of government to make haste and intervene in the humanitarian crisis that has displaced over 10,000, with many others admitted for medical treatment in the state. On this note, we want to state unequivocally, that at no time did the communities reject Government’s assistance by way of aid or made themselves inaccessible to government agencies.
- We call on the Federal Government to set up an independent commission of enquiry to probe the Kajuru killings, including exhumation of Fulani corpses, if any, in order to bring perpetrators to justice. We cannot allow killers to turn our once peaceful and thriving villages and towns into trenches of warfare.
5.We reject the politicisation of conflict whether it is in Birnin Gwari, Kajuru or any part of Southern Kaduna. We call for accountability and probity in the handling of the crisis in Kaduna State and urge government to prosecute those who aid and abeit crisis through careless speech of incitement for the purposes of stoking hatred and violence.
- We demand the immediate release of Adara elders that have unjustly incarcerated. These leaders have committed no crime other than being leaders of an Ethnic group. El Rufai has taken it upon himself to break the resolve of the Adara and viciously pursue their persecution.
- We reject the balkanization of our traditional institution and therefore call for a return to pre 2015 status as provided by the law. We feel that the action in balkanizing our traditional institution is a recipe for chaos and instability.
In conclusion, together, let us strive to reignite the hope for our common humanity and walk in unity to end this culture of death and destruction in Birnin Gwari, Kajuru and Southern Kaduna. In the same vein, we call on Government to tackle these security challenges posed by these merciless attackers in all states of the Federation in order to restore safety of lives and property. May the Almighty God restore Peace in our land and may love reign in the hearts of men and women.
Rev. Fr Williams Kaura Abba