Rights group, Centrum Initiative for Development and Fundamental Rights Advocacy (CEDRA) has called on Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, to step up efforts to curb incessant killings in the rural areas of the State.
CEDRA on Saturday in Jos in a statement titled: “Spate of killings in Southern Kaduna: You must act now”, decried the deadly attacks, and asked the governor to “do everything possible to help the helpless.”
The statement, signed by Chairman of CEDRA, Dr John Danfulani, said the deadly assaults by “unknown gunmen” on villages were worsening and that the frequency had skyrocketed to its 2013/2014 height.
“These lethal assaults by evil forces have killed many people, wounded scores of others, and burnt homes and farm lands of the people and government’s reaction had not gone beyond mere condemnations.
“The reaction of your government is not different from previous governments’. It has never gone beyond issuing press statements condemning the dastardly acts with unfulfilled pledges to fish out the perpetrators of the evil.”
The group noted that the governor, in April 2016, declared that the killings had stopped, and pointed out that the series of attacks carried over time, and especially in various villages in Jemaa Local Government this week, showed that the conclusion was hasty.
“The conclusions were a bit hasty because many people have been killed in their sleep since that declaration; government should have placed more measures to secure and sustain the peace”, it stated.
The group also noted that El-Rufai, in 2015, constituted a committee led by retired Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, to investigate sources of insecurity in the south of Kaduna, and proffer solutions.
“You have since received its report and applauded their effort. What were the suggestions toward ending these attacks? Have they been implemented or are not working?”
CEDRA said the state had announced a partnership with governments of neighbouring Niger, Zamfara and Katsina to fashion out a strategy to end cattle rustling on the common borders, and called for similar partnership with states bordering areas in the south of the state.
“That partnership with states bordering the south of Kaduna is crucial to checking the violence in the south; every partnership that could promote peace should be pursued and promoted”, the group added.
It reminded governments of its primary objective of protecting lives and property, and called for concerted efforts to ensure that.
Reacting, El-Rufai described the attacks as unfortunate, and revealed that soldiers had been deployed to the affected areas to avoid a recurrence.
The governor, who spoke through his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, said government was “deeply worried” over persistent insecurity in some rural areas of the state, in spite of several efforts to secure lives and property.
El-Rufai said that intelligence gathering had been stepped up pre-empt such attacks and ward them off.
According to him, all parts of the state are precious and are being secured without any special consideration for any segment of the population.