Terrorists’ parallel government in Kaduna: ‘ungovernable space about size of Abia’
They Established Authority Since 2019 – SOKAPU
• Says El-Rufai’s Outburst Belated
• Sovereignty Of Nigeria Under Threat – Northern Leaders
• We have A Govt That Has Been Defending Terrorists – Kaduna CAN
• Gumi Blames FG For Escalation Of Insecurity In North
• 35 Kidnapped Victims Regain Freedom
Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai’s alarm on activities of terrorists now running a parallel government in the state has been described as “belated and an unfortunate admission.”
This is as the people of Southern Kaduna revealed the area that has now become ungovernable space in the state is about the size of Abia state.
Speaking under the aegis of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), yesterday, its Acting President, Awemi Dio Maisamari noted that, indeed, the terrorists have not only taken over the state but had been “running the government since 2019.”
Maisamari said: “Consequently, most affected rural communities are deserted. That is the lot of rural villages in Kaduna State, especially in Chikun, Kajuru, Kachia, Zangon Kataf, Kauru, Lere, Birnin Gwari and Giwa Local Councils. The area that has now become an ungovernable space in Kaduna state is about the size of Abia state.
Maisamari noted that El-Rufai’s admission was a confirmation of the various alarms continuously raised by SOKAPU and Southern Kaduna community development associations since 2019.
The people bemoaned the fact rather than take the alarms serious at the time, El-Rufai’s government chose to challenge anybody to name communities that had been taken over and occupied by terrorists.
“In response to that challenge, SOKAPU variously reeled out more than one hundred communities that had been displaced and some occupied in Southern Kaduna way back in 2000,” the group said.
In a similar vein, former Kaduna Central Senator and governorship aspirant, Shehu Sani recalled that while at the Senate, he notified the National Assembly of the activities of terrorists in the state and how they had taken over major communities, stressing the need for urgent action by the federal government.
He lamented that rather than join forces with him on the call for action, Governor El-Rufai engaged in personal attacks, alleging that he was out to discredit his government.
Sani said El-Rufai contributed to the poor state of insecurity in the state because he played politics with the sensitive issue by ignoring the calls made at that time.
El-Rufai was quoted in a leaked memo to President Muhammadu Buhari that terrorists have taken over communities and formed a parallel government in Birnin Gwari local council, collecting taxes and administering justice in the areas.
The memo was said to have been written to the President late last month, informing him that the terrorists who are members of Ansaru al-Musulmina fi Bilad al-Sudan, otherwise known as Ansaru, had promulgated a law banning residents of communities under their control from participating in the 2023 general elections.
The development has now elicited fears among Northern leaders, elders and other stakeholders, who warned President Buhari of the threat to the sovereignty of the nation by the bandits if an immediate end is not brought to the security challenges in Kaduna.
Representatives of the Northern leaders, including Arewa elders, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Jama’atu Nasir Islam (JNI), and other Islamic leaders who spoke with The Guardian, said the acceptance by the governor of the parallel government operating in the state is a confirmation of the outcry they made severally in the past that the state government has not been in control of affairs a long time ago.
Many of the opinion leaders opined that with the effrontery displayed by the terrorists in capturing communities, President Buhari must wake up to his responsibility in avoiding a situation where terrorists overrun the country.
Chairman of Kaduna Chapter of CAN, Reverend Joseph John Hayab while reacting yesterday, said that “if you check the records, we have said it several times that Kaduna has two governments – one, the Government of El-Rufai and second, that of terrorists.”
He observed that at the mention of the terrorists and bandits, people are scared, and run and find places to hide. “They have killed, maimed, kidnapped and wreaked havoc. El-Rufai has just confirmed and admitted what we have said several times.”
Hayab, who is also the Vice Chairman of Northern CAN, said: “We have a government that has actually been defending terrorists and bandits. That is why these people have a field day doing what they have been doing and that is why we are where we are today.
“We have always said it, and the Governor has always criticised us. Thank God he said it by himself now that terrorists are running a parallel government,” he added.
Hayab called on President Buhari to immediately end the regime of terrorism in the country; otherwise, they may take over the nation.
Spokesman to renowned Islamic Cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, Mallam Tukur Mamu also blamed the Federal Government for the escalation of insecurity in the North and Nigeria, saying that the government’s poor handling of the situation is responsible for bandits forming parallel government in communities in Kaduna State.
In an interview with The Guardian, Mamu said the taking over of government in Kaduna was not unexpected, but a reality the nation had been running away from.
He said: “I think this reality coming from the Governor, El-Rufai must have been an eye opener on the need for the Federal Government to take decisive action against terrorism in the country.”
Lamenting the state of insecurity in the North and Nigeria in general, “, especially in Southern Kaduna areas and Birnini Gwari,” Mamu urged the FG to change its approach to combating insecurity.
He noted that corruption in the military was one of the factors militating against ending security challenges in the country.
Said Mamu: “To find a solution to insecurity, the government must tackle the issue of corruption in military spending. As it is now, a lot of people are benefiting from this insecurity, especially at the highest level of government. And there is the proliferation of arms. The terrorists are also getting sophisticated weapons through the borders. If the government does not check these problems, there is no way insecurity will end.”
Meanwhile, a former Secretary General, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Elder Anthony Sani who also spoke on the current escalation in the security situation in Kaduna, noted that “the activities of bandits and kidnappers surged soon after the 2019 elections.
He, however, expressed the belief that with trained and equipped security personnel who are well motivated to take the fights to the terrorists in the forests, overrunning them would be just a matter of time.
“Resorting to the use of mercenaries and indiscriminate bombing of the terrorists may not be the best approach. We have said that the federal government should prioritize security by scaling down some of its programmes and free some money for the needed campaigns against insecurity across the country. It is what can be done,” Sani said.
Acting President of SOKAPU, Maisamari, said the challenge confronting the state governor and the people of the state has taken a frightening dimension.
According to him, besides the atrocities committed during attacks, other unspeakable crimes and acts of barbarism perpetrated in occupied communities every day are better imagined than experienced.
“If only the terrorists had limited themselves to strictly enforcing their own brand of civil and criminal laws, that would have been a bit bearable. But we now have a situation whereby most rural communities are daily patrolled by well-armed marauding herdsmen and allied terrorists to stamp and enforce their authority.
“Once that is done, they then embark on widespread abductions, forced labour, systematic extortion, outright enslavement, widespread sexual harassment, confiscation of food and other valuables, dehumanisation, merciless brutality, torture and killings of innocent locals who show any sign of lack of cooperation or resistance to the occupiers.”
Maisamari said: “Consequently, most affected rural communities are deserted. That is the lot of rural villages in Kaduna State, especially in Chikun, Kajuru, Kachia, Zangon Kataf, Kauru, Lere, Birnin Gwari and Giwa Local Councils. The area that has now become an ungovernable space in Kaduna state is about the size of Abia State.
“With the benefit of other recent revelations or admissions made on how we have found ourselves where we are, we very much understand why El-Rufai is now crying foul. While using insecurity to grab and consolidate his power and authority, he rationalised it, defended and appeased the terrorists.”
Said he: “Even now that his power, authority, leadership qualities and reputation are being rubbished, he is still only paying lip service to the primary responsibility of government, which is the security and welfare of peace-loving citizens. Therefore, we regard the belated alarm he is raising as the shedding of crocodile tears. This is because in his administration, his priorities are totally different, as he does not put his money where his mouth is.
“The ugly reality we have had to endure under El-Rufai’s reign is that protecting lives, jobs and securing livelihoods are treated as an obstacle to grandiose elitist projects and programmes. What else did El-Rufai mean when he said the payment of salaries is not a priority of his government? Following this warped logic, in Kaduna state, urban renewal, which is a code name for the demolition of houses, shops, and businesses and the construction of modern markets and a few streets, has become the primary occupation of his government.
“Terrorists have been allowed to declare and wage a sustained war on Nigeria, especially in Kaduna State. Governor El-Rufai’s state government in collaboration with its federal counterpart only facilitates random and intermittent military actions against terrorists just for public relations purposes.
“The end result is that Nigeria in general and Kaduna state, in particular, have become a huge ungoverned space. Gov El-Rufai has never demonstrated empathy for the hundreds of thousands of victims of this preventable crime, by way of any form of assistance, but has at least, once taken the trouble of combing the killer herdsmen in their various countries in West Africa and paid them compensation to appease their taste for blood.”
SOKAPU expressed dismay that military authorities were yet to create and deploy ingenious strategies that fit the poor security situation. “War has not been formally declared on terrorists of all hues in all localities. Neither has there been extra security and military mobilisation including military reserves if available.”
Curiously, the government has also refused to authorise, support and empower peace-loving and law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and their communities.”
The group called on Governor El-Rufai to redirect his often strong but misguided political will to truly prioritise the security and welfare of Kaduna State citizens.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 35 persons who were kidnapped three weeks ago by terrorists at Keke B Millennium City under Chikun local council have regained freedom.
The victims returned to the Keke B community yesterday and were received by hundreds of inhabitants of the area, in jubilation.
An eyewitness told journalists that one person is still in captivity because the bandits demanded that his family must settle his release with two motorbikes.
The source confirmed that N2.5million was paid before the release of the kidnapped victims.
Similarly, a kidnapped doctor and 15 other victims, including women and children from the Sabon Gero community also regained their freedom.
The leader of the Joint Task Force (JTF) of the community, Uwasu Yunusa confirmed the incident to journalists. He, however, said that no money was paid to secure their release.