Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja and Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, said latest reports at his disposal revealed that the casualties recorded from the killings in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state have risen to 130, adding that he has names and pictures to back up his claim.
Governor El-Rufai described those doubting the incident as grossly irresponsible.
He made the disclosure while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the almost one hour national security meeting in Abuja, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said: ‘’The last report we got was that over 130 people were killed, not even 66, and the Fulani leaders are providing the names of all these people. We have the list and we will release it to the press.
“I don’t want to be gross, but we can release pictures of the people killed and how the army had to be there to help bury them two days after they were killed, because the bodies were decomposing. But some people are being irresponsible by pretending this has not happened, because it does not fit their ethnic or partisan narrative. It is totally irresponsible because this can happen to anyone of us. And, the day we stop sanctifying human lives and begin to think one life is more important for headlines than another, this country is finished, because, every human being has equal capacity for good and evil.
“Part of the reasons why I went out and was appealing for calm is because I know those who lost their relations can take the law into their hands, unless they see the government is doing something. This is why you see the Commissioner of Police (CP) rushing to court to arraign people, to send a message that we are prosecuting those who did this; so, don’t take the laws into your own hands.”
El-Rufai said the incident notwithstanding, the state is ready for the forthcoming elections and that soldiers would be deployed to areas known for constant ethnic tensions and violence during the polls.
“In Kaduna State, we requested for enhanced military presence in particular locations that are afflicted by rural banditry; these are the local government of Birnin-Gwari/Giwa Angchukwu and areas where there have been history of either electoral violence or ethno-religious intolerance.
“We’ve already mapped out local arrangements with the garrison commander and the commissioner of police and we have made adequate arrangements to ensure every citizen of Kaduna State will be free to vote in an atmosphere of peace and security.
Meanwhile, Secretary General of Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN), Dr. Ibrahim Abdullahi, has corroborated the governor’s claim about the casualty figure which he said was more than 66.
Ibrahim and other leaders of the association, spoke at the Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kaduna, yesterday, said, they were still working on the development and would soon come up with the accurate figure of people killed and properties destroyed.
He said: “The state government and security agencies have confirmed the killing of 66 Fulani persons in the attacks.
“But, we can confirm that, the number of people killed is far more than that figure. The association is working and will soon come up with the accurate figure of the people killed and properties destroyed.”