Amid gruesome killings and banditry ravaging communities in Kaduna state, A US-based journalist has dared to visit the battleground to get a first hand report of the ills ravaging the area.
MagnaFaith Krimi journeyed from Washington in the United States of America where she runs a media outfit and advocates for women and the girl child to provide humanitarian services to victims displaced by the unrest that has left thousands of people homeless and properties worth millions destroyed.
MagnaFaith’s visit came on the heels of the kidnapping of over 200 school children most of them females. While they have been released after payments of huge ransom by their families, MagnaFaith has chosen to amplify the voices of the girls and their families who will live with the trauma of the events maybe for the rest of their lives.
“The level of destruction in those communities is very alarming, requiring huge funding to fix,” she stated, while returning from her visit.
The Adara community in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna has experienced brutal ethnic cleansing progressing in recent months. MagnaFaith had mentioned that about 500 houses were destroyed by gunmen following recent attacks in the area; these houses need to be rebuilt to give any hope and provide relief to the ordinary citizens of the community.
She lamented that the worst hit were women and children who have been exposed to various forms of diseases, and are traumatised, with no healthcare programme available for their wellbeing.
Speaking to newsmen in Kaduna, Magnafaith said: “I stood right where a gang of 15 gunmen attempted to assassinate Rev. Father Joseph “Big Joe” Kwasau in Kasuwan Magani in Kaduna State. I was emotional as I looked upon the parish that stood before the gate where local residents firing hunting rifles caused the gunmen to retreat, saving Father Kwasau. It was surreal; I thought it could happen while I was inspecting the site and snapped out of my thoughts.”
Father Kwasau’s house security guard, Samuel Jerome, was reported killed in that event.
MagnaFaith interviewed not only the principal and vice principals of the Engravers College, (high school) where six students and two staff members were kidnapped, she spent time with the parents of the students and out of respect for their pain, didn’t interview them on camera. MagnaFaith did take pictures with them and did not leave Nigeria untill the students and staff were released to their families.
Krimi mentioned that she worked closely with the President of CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) Kaduna State chapter, Rev. John Hayab, who courageously negotiated the release of the abductees, ensuring they were released to their families only after a ransom in the amount of N13 million was paid to the kidnappers.
“I saw a brush of death in the eyes of some of the victims at the IDPs and thought what must I do to see that women and children do not experience such evil again.”
MagnaFaith told newsmen that her investigations revealed that some unguarded utterances made by some officials continue to fuel the killings and attacks in Kajuru local government.
According to Magnafaith, investigation revealed that a series of attacks launched around February and March, left at least 148 people dead and 545 houses destroyed.
She explained that according to locals who spoke under anonymity “the attackers in their hundreds have been invading communities, killing people, including a chief, destroying houses and properties.
“There are many communities which came under attacks from Dogon Noma community, to Karamai village, leaving hundreds of people attacked and properties worth millions destroyed.
MagnaFaith explained that “these attacks have displaced hundreds of people including over 2,000 children who are currently taking shelter in camps across three LGAs of Kaduna – Chikun, Kajuru and Kachia.”
Magnafaith called on the Nigerian government, officials at all levels, well-meaning Nigerians, including NGOs and international bodies to come to the aid of the innocent and unarmed civilians of Kaduna and help rebuild their lives so they could begin building what is left of their ancestral homes.
MagnaFaith acknowledged the efforts made by some NGOs, government agencies and institutions for the relief materials provided so far. She groaned in a sober voice, saying more should be done to help women and children with the senseless attacks stopped altogether.
MagnaFaith did not fail to urge the state government to ensure justice and fairness to all, improve security and bring the assailants to book.
She said: “Like I always say, once you have heard these stories, you do not forget. You can either choose to be silent just like everybody else, but more and more you think ‘silence isn’t golden’ for the unarmed and innocent women and children in harm’s way.
“We must tell the world the truth about the pain of the people of Kajuru.
“The international community should pay attention to the pain of these women and children. Attackers must be fished out and brought to justice; then we can say that the murdered victims did not die in vain and we can begin to heal from the wound we bear as a people altogether.”