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CAN flays presidency’s stance on southern Kaduna killings

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• Military says attacks not an ethnic war
• We’re committed to peace, vows El-Rufai

Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has slammed the presidency for describing the current bloodshed in the southern part of Kaduna State as politically-motivated crisis along ethnic and religious lines.

According to CAN, while present bloodbaths in southern Kaduna have been shown to be acts of criminality that should have attracted sanctions, the lacklustre disposition of the Federal Government in stopping further massacre of Christians and decimation of their communities by killer herders speak volumes on how government values human lives.

In a statement yesterday in Abuja, Special Assistant to the CAN President on Media and Communications, Adebayo Oladeji, observed that the crisis in Kaduna in recent weeks, with the attendant destruction of lives and property, painted Nigeria as a nation at war with those the state regarded as enemies.

Oladeji warned that if the situation did not improve, self-help might be the last resort because nobody would want to watch bandits snuff life out of them.

His words, “There is no doubt that the victims of these incessant assaults are indigenes of Kaduna who are mostly Christians. Why is it the predominantly Christian Southern Kaduna all the time?”
BUT the military has countered that the attacks were not ethnic cleansing.

The Commander of Operation Safe Haven, Maj-Gen. Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, described the mayhem as the activities of criminal elements on both sides of the aggrieved communities.

Briefing journalists after a high-level security meeting at Government House, Kaduna, yesterday, Okonkwo said: “What we have were attacks on some communities and reprisal attacks.”

However, Governor Nasir el-Rufai says his administration has done everything within its constitutional powers to bring peace in southern Kaduna and all parts of the state for over five years.

Addressing the security meeting, the governor said: “We answered the decade-old demand for a permanent military base by working with the Federal Government to deploy a Forward Operating Base (FOB) of the Nigerian Army in Kafanchan.

“Our government purchased an estate to provide accommodation for a permanent mobile police squadron in the area. Also, it deployed in the area troops from Operation Safe Haven and Nigerian Army Special Forces, complemented by two mobile police squadrons,” he added.

Despite all these measures, “the best guarantee of peace is the willingness of communities to live in peace and harmony, and a resolve to settle differences through exclusively lawful means,” he added.


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