We condemn the recent gruesome killings in Kaduna State which led to the death of 55 people in Kasuwan Magani area of Kajuru council of the state. A similar crisis had occurred in the area in February this year, which claimed 10 lives. Although there are conflicting reports over the group or religious sect that caused the mayhem, what is however not in doubt is the fact that there has always been animosity between the ‘inhabitants’ and the ‘settlers’, in most parts of Southern Kaduna.
Often, the issue of who owns the land has always been at the centre of most of the violent clashes in most parts of the state. At times, such crises assume religious coloration and interpretation. Following the October 18 mayhem, the governor of the state, Mallam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai, promptly imposed a 24-hour curfew on the community in order to stop the crisis from escalating.
The curfew was later extended to Kaduna metropolis following another reported violence in the area. However, the curfew was relaxed to give residents the opportunity to buy essential commodities. But, three days later, the governor imposed another curfew on Kaduna metropolis and its environs following the tension that trailed the killing of a traditional ruler of Adara Chiefdom, Dr. Maiwada Raphael Galadima. It should be noted that Kasuwan Magani where the October 18 mayhem took place falls under Galadima’s jurisdiction.
Since 22 suspects were arrested in connection with the mayhem, they should be tried. The Police should also expedite action in the trial of 65 people allegedly involved in the February crisis.
We commend the Kaduna State government for the manner it handled the crisis and urge it to do more to unify the entire people of the state. The people of Kaduna State should see themselves as equal stakeholders in the affairs of the state and learn to live as one people, irrespective of their ethnic and religious affiliations. Also, their political differences should not be allowed to divide them.
President Muhammadu Buhari must be commended for promptly visiting the state and making it clear that government will no longer condone such killings. The President stressed that those who were used to going scot-free after such killings, must now answer for their crimes. It is good that the president made this pronouncement. The law enforcement agents should go after those that were responsible for the gruesome killings not only in Kaduna but also in other parts of the country and prosecute them. The security agents should not watch while Nigerians are being killed daily in the country.
Beyond ensuring that the perpetrators of the Kaduna killings are brought to justice, the government must ensure that there is adequate security in Kaduna and indeed other parts of the country. We say this because any violence in Kaduna State could spread to other parts of the North and possibly the entire country. The perpetrators of the gruesome killings get away with them because the government has not demonstrated enough political will to apprehend and prosecute them.
We believe that only diligent prosecution of those behind the killings can deter others from killing other Nigerians. Since peace is essential for economic development, the Federal and State governments must work in concert to ensure that peace returns to the troubled areas. The state government should do all in its power to ensure that the peace is sustained.
Above all, the Kaduna State government must address the fundamental problems that gave rise to the crises. Also, the citizens must be sensitised on the need to live together. They should embrace peace and work together to develop the state.