Southern Kaduna and Nigeria’s River of Blood

Kaduna people

The recurrent killings of defenceless villagers in Southern Kaduna put a lie to the government’s supposed commitment to the welfare and security of Nigerians

For the long-suffering people of Southern Kaduna, every day grows longer than the last, winding into a narrative of death and destruction that pile every perspective with peril and pain.

In communities that have long known the peculiar vulnerability that adversity offers, the last eight years have seen a marked return to the bottomless belly of bombs, blood, and bullets.

In December 2022, armed criminals fell upon  Kagoro in the area.

By the time they were done, about forty persons had been denied Christmas in a christian-dominated area. For the living, Christmas was to be one drenched in blood.

The killers seemingly took a break for the 2023 elections. But since the controversial elections ended, they have returned as if with a vengeance.

On Sunday, April 16, 2023,Jacob Kwashi the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigerian Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State had some chilling words for the Nigerian army which he accused of bias. Speaking at the funeral of  33 residents who were killed, including a five-year-old boy who was beheaded, the  cleric pointed out the stark differences in the response of the Nigerian army when cattle are killed and when people are killed.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Nasir El-Rufai became president  and governor of Nigeria and Kaduna State respectively in 2015 amidst high hopes. If both men have achieved anything as to leave any legacy at all, that legacy is one tainted by  innocent blood.

That the Federal Government and the Kaduna State Government have roundly failed to secure lives and property in an area that has always been a hotspot adds fuel to the fire that there is a conspiracy against the people of the area.

If there isn’t, how is it that people in the same area have continued to be systematically killed with the government doing very little to support or protect them.

The carnage that has become the lot of the good people of the area under the current administration is a danger signal to Nigeria’s unwieldy diversity, a signal the government continues to ignore at its peril.

While the Federal Government and especially the Kaduna State Government have assumed a posture of helplessness over the killings, those most affected continue to be roundly ignored and abandoned to their fate.

Whenever anyone has stirred from their slumber to confront the nightmare, it has mostly been with the deployment of the wrong tactics and engagement with the wrong people.

Any attempt at solving what has become a mammoth problem must begin with asking the good people of the area what they think can quickly and decisively end what is a great challenge.

Let the Nigerian government and the Kaduna State Government ask the long-suffering people of Southern Kaduna for homegrown solutions to what has been an imported problem.

Let those who have been at the receiving end be asked for their inputs and contributions to how to end the crisis.

But above all, the government must definitively show that it is not letting out less than what it knows about the killings. Let the government show once and for all that it is sincere about what can only be interpreted as a carefully calibrated attempt to exterminate an entire people.

Let the government show that is committed to ending the crisis, no matter the heads that will roll. It is only then that it can be taken seriously on its avowed commitment to end the crisis threatening to annihilate an entire region.

As for the terrorists who comb the communities of Southern Kaduna decimating entire families, it can be easily deciphered that the failure of the Nigerian government to take its responsibilities seriously has helped them thrive.

When and where the ruthless terrorists have engaged Nigeria’s security forces, they have been known to show ruthless superiority. In a country that is supposedly the “Giant of Africa, it is not just scandalous.It is  undeniably sacrilegious.

For Nigerians, many of whom have been sympathetic to the nightmare the long-suffering people of Southern Kaduna have lived for the past eight years, it is hoped that the incoming administration will at least know its left from its right.

Ike Willie-Nwobu,


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