(By Sola Ojo – KADUNA)
Following the invasion and killings of scores of people at a Christian dominated Godogodo Chiefdom in Jema’a local government area of Kaduna State by suspected armed herdsmen earlier in the week, the affected people said they have been abandoned by both federal and state governments and may be forced to resolve to self-defense if urgent measures are not put in place to stop the killings.
A statement signed by the president of Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), Barrister Solomon Musa, reads:
“Godogodo communities once again came under very fierce, terrifying, brutal, savage and barbarous attack by Fulani herdsmen without provocation of any nature from Saturday 15th October, 2016 to Sunday afternoon. This is despite the frantic calls for help from the beleaguered villagers to those constitutionally saddled with the task of safeguarding their citizens.
“The barbarians wreaked maximum havoc and destruction by killing uncountable number of our people. So far, the locals have been able to identify not less than 40 corpses, aside from the several other corpses burnt beyond recognition. Virtually all houses have been burnt in Godogodo. Property worth hundreds of millions destroyed while crops have been grazed by cattle and the rest destroyed by the invaders. Yet, governments at the Federal and State levels appear quiet and noncommittal. We have been abandoned, deserted and neglected.
“SOKAPU is also curious that the attacks on villages in Godogodo started since May 2016 but has been left to linger despite the government’s explanation that it spends N200 million monthly on security in the state.
“From the previous attacks on Sanga Local Government to the current attacks on Godogodo towns which haven’t shown any sign of diminishing, it lends credence to the fact that cattle rustling receives more attention from the monthly N200 million supposedly spends on security in Kaduna State than on marauding armed herdsmen in Southern Kaduna.
“It will appear that we have been abandoned, deserted and neglected. We do not deserve the intervention or sympathy of the federal or state governments. Security personnel are posted to the main highways only; from April to date, there does not appear to be any form of intelligence gathering, any form of surveillance, any form of proactive measures to forestall future occurrences; any form of intervention by government.”
The group demanded the immediate arrest and prosecution of all the attackers, the establishment of permanent security formations in the area and an intensification of intelligence gathering, include aerial surveillance of those attack-prone villages.