SOKAPU’s cry of alarm

Kenechukwu Obiezu

Kenechukwu Obiezu

There is a reason criminals favour night time when all is dark and silent as the opportune time for their chilling crimes. Not only do they seek the cover of darkness, they choose to move when all is quiet, and people are vulnerable, retired for the day with no voice.

So, when in March 2010, Fulani herdsmen descended from the hills surrounding Dogo-nahawa village near Jos and slaughtered more than 100 people, the crimes were carefully concealed by the cover and silence of night.

As recently as April, SOKAPU, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, reeled out frightening figures  which gave a glimpse of the extent to which Southern Kaduna has been devastated by recurrent attacks in the last six years.

According to the President of the Union, Hon Jonathan Asake,200,000 of his people have been displaced and over 148 communities destroyed by bandits and terrorists in that time.

According to Mr. Asake, mineral deposits and green areas for cattle rearing in the entire Middle Belt are responsible for killings in Southern Kaduna. While calling on Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Foreign Missions, the European Union, United Nations, among  others, the group had alleged that what was happening in Southern Kaduna had elements of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

On June 5, 2022, a couple of villages in the Kajuru Local Government area of Southern Kaduna came under attack by people suspected to be Fulani herdsmen. When the battle came to Maikori, the youths knowing there would be no timely  military intervention mobilized themselves and confronted the attackers which came armed to the teeth with AK-47s  and riding three each on  about 150 motorcycles.

The valiant youths of Maikori were  said to be beating back the cowardly terrorists when suddenly, a helicopter materialized in the sky and began to target the youths. Of course, they retreated and while they did, the terrorists were said to have  razed down the town.

The Kaduna State Government has since come up to debunk the reports that a helicopter targeted villagers in Maikori. It has since explained and credibly too, that contrary to the wild rumours making the rounds, an Airforce Helicopter (under  Operation Whirl Punch) was dispatched to the area  and engaged only the bandits  forcing them to retreat thereby preventing further attacks on the villagers.

It would appear that those who peddle such malicious rumours as these are as dangerous as the terrorists ransacking Southern Kaduna communities, if not more,because they deliberately obfuscate the truth   for their own nefarious purposes thereby complicating what is an already dicey situation.

It remains to be seen when  the good people of Southern Kaduna will again enjoy their ancestral land in peace and prosperity  as was the case for years until insecurity became uncontrollable in  the area.

It beats many Nigerians silly  that for many years, Southern Kaduna has continued to burn with very little being done to check it.

The endless attacks on a long-suffering people does not in any way help the Nigerian project in these days when many parts of the country are enmeshed in one crisis or the other.

If it is true as it strongly appears to be that in Southern Kaduna those who should have no time for anything else save their cattle now allow themselves the diabolic distraction of  slaughtering children and razing down communities in Southern Kaduna , then they should be apprehended and put behind bars where they will be of  better use serving as deterrent examples to those determinedto keep the cage of  Nigeria`s delicate socio-economic and socio-political balance permanently rattled.

Until this is done, Southern Kaduna will continue to feature as an uncomfortable fixture in Nigeria`s clubbed consciousness.

Kene Obiezu,

keneobiezu@gmail.com

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