By John Femi Adi:
Kaduna communities leaders of Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw and Igala extractions as well as other non indigenes in Kaduna under the aegis of Community Leaders Forum yesterday gave insights into how the seemingly unending bloody crisis in Southern Kaduna can be curtailed.
Several villages in Southern Kaduna were attacked late last year by suspected Fulani herdsmen, leading to death of many people and destruction of property worth millions of naira.
Addressing journalists at a press conference, Spokesman of the Forum, Chief Joseph Daikwo said if the State government can work hand in hand with the various tribal groups in the State, the antidote of ending the crisis would be proffered.
Chief Daikwo who is the Onu (King) of Igala community in Kaduna was flanked by President, Igbo Community Welfare Association in Kaduna, Chief Chris Nnoli, President General of Yoruba Community in 19 northern State, Chief Abdulganiyu Oguntoyinbo, and Secretary, Urohobo Community, Chief Uruejuomah Joseph.
He however, disclosed that the Forum had written several letters to the State Governor, seeking an audience with him, but to no avail, adding that government will benefit more if it can listen to community leaders on how to ensure peaceful coexistence and harmony in the State.
According to him, “we have what it takes to settle Southern Kaduna problem, but government has distanced itself from us. But we need to work with government as one family.
“We have written several letters to the governor without response. We don’t want to take action after damage has been done; we need to take action before any damage is done in our society because we are the peace makers in our various communities.
“Government need to take care of people in high density area more than in Government Reserved Areas (GRA) where empty houses are begging to be occupied.
“First, we are worried about the crisis that has led to loss of human lives and property in Southern Kaduna. Historically, Kaduna state has witnessed several crises over the past 30 years, and during such incidents, many people, including Muslims, Christians, Pagans, indigenes and non indigenes recorded casualties.
“Up till date, so many families are yet to recover from the crises. Sadly Today, many industries have closed down while many existing investors have left the state and potential ones refused to come in due to the crises.
“All over the world, no development can thrive in an atmosphere of chaos and crisis. And the dream of Kaduna becoming one of the growing economies in Nigeria can only be realised when there is peace and security in the state.
“This is why we are therefore, calling on all aggrieved parties involved to sheath their swords and come together to resolve their differences.
“We believe that as residents of Kaduna state, everybody is a potential victim whenever crisis occurs, hence we must learn to live together as brothers and sisters.
“While we commend both the Kaduna state government and the federal government for deploying security operatives to Southern Kaduna, we also call on government to ensure that justice and equity prevail in the present situation. Security operatives should as a matter of urgency fish out the perpetrators of the attacks and bring them to book.
“We also expect the troops that were deployed to the troubled areas to abide by the rule of engagement and ensure that peace returns to the once peaceful Southern Kaduna. This is the only way that development can come in.
“Our association also call on our leaders, especially, political and religious leaders to desist from making inflammatory statements that could escalate the situation in southern Kaduna.
“We are also happy with the massive transformation of Kaduna state capital into a modern city by the present administration. We therefore use this medium to commend the Kaduna state Governor , Nasir El-Rufai for the massive road construction and rehabilitation going that are on in all parts of the state.
“On the political scene, we appeal to His Execellency, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai that we the non indigenes are available to serve in any capacity in his administration and to contribute our qouta towards making Kaduna state great again.
“To this end, we want to remind his Excellency of his campaign promise to appoint some of our brothers and sisters into his government. We believe as stakeholders in the Kaduna project, we must ensure that we project those things that will unite us as a state than those things that will divide us.
“While sympathizing with the affected families and communities, We once again, call upon all parties to the conflict to also cease-fire and explore peaceful resolution to their conflicts.
“Human life is valuable, minor rifts are inevitable and as a peace-loving country, we should always strive to settle our differences in an amicable manner. We should look into generating more power instead of dead bodies. As a nation, we are stronger together.
“We are looking forward to a greater Kaduna where Muslims, Christians and even pagans will co-exist, tolerate and respect each other. We are looking forward to a new Kaduna where religious tolerance will be the order of the day.
“We are tired of spilling of blood, and we are therefore, appealing to our political , religious and traditional leaders irrespective of their differences , to come together and find a lasting solution to these crises”, he said.