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Fulani herdsmen, southern Kaduna indigenes agree to end attacks, killings

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A milestone for the cessation of attacks and killings in Southern Kaduna communities was achieved at the weekend, when Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), the umbrella body of the Fulani herdsmen, agreed to a ceasefire, and embraced peace.

This is as indigenes of Southern Kaduna, under the aegis of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), described the Fulani group’s decision as a welcome development, provided they are sincere about embracing peace.

At a press conference in Kaduna, yesterday, where the herdsmen also stated their grievances, they claimed that they were not the aggressors in the unending crises.

That notwithstanding, the Assistant National Secretary of MACBAN, Ibrahim Abdullahi, called on the people of the area to forgive what had happened, stressing that both parties should learn to forgive one another.

“This crisis will never end if you think you would go and revenge what happened to you. So, we are appealing to all parties to sheath their swords and embrace peace. We want to also support the steps so far taken by the government of Kaduna State, and all the security agencies in order to return normalcy to the area. We call on leaders in particular, political, religious and otherwise to desist from making inflammatory speeches that could escalate the situation. There should be no hate speeches … We inherited a peaceful Southern Kaduna and I don’t think we are sensible if we bequeath to our children and grandchildren a Southern Kaduna that is fighting itself.”

Abdullahi commended the role played by Governor Nasir El-Rufai, in ensuring that the crises come to an end, including resuscitating the peace process started by the late Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa.

Responding to MACBAN’s ceasefire, President of SOKAPU, Solomon Musa, told The Guardian that the people of Southern Kaduna are ready to embrace peace, provided the peace move is not deceptive.

Musa explained that any development that calls for sincere dialogue or ceasefire is welcomed by his people In a related development, Chairman, Nigerian Catholic Diocesan Priests Association, Kafanchan Chapter, Reverend Father Williams Abba, has described the killings in Southern Kaduna as efforts aimed at ethnic cleansing.

According to him, the killings are sustained in an effort to drive the people away from their communities, and forcibly grab their lands for grazing. Abba, who alleged that religious conquest, political relevance and economic benefits were some of the hidden motives behind the attacks and killings, expressed worry at the level of sophistication of the attackers, and weapons deployed.

He also flayed the state and federal governments for failing the people of region by not quickly intervening saying: “The primary duty of government is the protection of lives and property. The state government has been slow, lackluster and lackadaisical in its response, whenever there is an attack. On many occasions, the governor will not visit the affected areas after the crises.

“The victims are internally displaced without adequate relief materials from the state government. They have not been compensated or resettled till date. Their children are still wandering without schools to attend. Their farm produce are being stolen by the herdsmen because our people are too afraid to go to the farms for fear of attacks by the Fulani herdsmen.”

Meanwhile, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), yesterday, described as reckless, irresponsible and worrisome, the statement by El Rufai that Niger Delta militants have been hired to carry out attacks in troubled Southern Kaduna.

President of IYC Worldwide, Udengs Eradiri, who spoke to The Guardian, said the statement apart from being capable of inciting the people, was also capable of causing more damage, as people may see it as an opportunity to attack innocent people from Niger Delta.

He said: “It could lead to a breakdown of law and order, as some will perceive Niger Delta people as troublemakers. It is a reckless statement and we must put the record straight.

“Our issues have no business with their ethnic cleansing that is going on in the North. The Niger Delta issue is about the economic engagement of our people. We have no business with ethnic cleansing. We want to participate in any activity going on in our environment, period. And that is what led to the agitation today for which we have been labeled as terrorists and all kinds of names.”



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