From right: The Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan; former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar; Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, and Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah during a visit to Kafanchan yesterday.
A group of notable Nigerians led by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, has moved to end the circle of communal violence in Southern Kaduna.
Others on the delegation are Archbishop of Abuja John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (rtd) and Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto. They met stakeholders yesterday to find a lasting solution to the crises.
The meeting which held in Kafanchan, Jema’a local government area and Kagoro in Kaura local government area of Kaduna State was attended by religious clerics, traditional rulers and community groups.
Gen Abubakar, who is chairman of the National Peace Committee, told the people of Southern Kaduna to bury the hatchets and coexist peacefully.
He said: “Nobody from outside can teach you how to live in peace. You are the people living together and you know yourselves more than anybody, we have nothing to do more than what you can do yourselves to maintain peace. We are just doing initiatives that will help restore peace.”
The committee had held similar meeting with Governor Nasir el-Rufai in an effort to find lasting solution to incessant attacks on communities by gunmen and reprisal killings in the area.
The committee members listened to presentations by traditional rulers in Kagoro Town hall and proceeded to Unity Choice Hotel, Kafanchan to hear another set of groups make presentations.
General Abubakar urged leaders and the entire people of the area to embrace peace and accept one another as brothers.
Among groups that made presentations were the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Jama’atu NasriI Islam (JNI), Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), Muslim Youth Foundation of Southern Kaduna (MYOFOSKA), Jama’a Foundation, Catholic Diocese and Anglican Communion of Kafanchan.
Meanwhile, the military has commenced the process of deploying troops on operation ‘Harbin Kunama II’ to the troubled Southern part of Kaduna.
Daily Trust reports that about 100 soldiers of Operation Safe Haven presently in Plateau State are part of security men presently preparing for the operation, which the Chief of Army Staff Lt. General Tukur Buratai recently said would cover the Southern Kaduna axis and extend to Plateau and Kano States.
The troops attached to OPSH, the multi-security taskforce maintaining peace in Plateau State are presently undergoing preparatory training in areas of weapon techniques, physical exercises, patrol and ambush, road block search and others at the Nimbia forest which is located along Jos-Abuja way in Jema’a local government area of Kaduna State.
OPSH Commander, Major General Roger Nicholas who inspected some of the troops at the forest told journalists that the men of OPSH were also conducting long-range patrols into the villages of Southern Kaduna including Sanga, Godogodo, Gidan Waya and other communities adding that 60 men have been stationed around the Saminaka axis bordering Kaduna and Plateau.
“Our area of operation normally is Plateau State but when there are issues across borders we also go across the borders to join our sister formations to tackle the security issues.
“Following the incident in Southern Kaduna, we had to move in to act as a blocking force so there is no spill over into the Plateau at the same time helping our colleagues in 1 Division that has been deployed to Southern Kaduna,” he said. He added that the men’s preparation would include mountain climbing and forest operation.
“Since training is a continuous thing, I believe if we continue to train the men, they will likely give you a better output,” he said.
The Federal Government has also announced plans to establish military and police formations in the area to boost security in the area.
Prelate tasks media on accurate reports
Also in effort to find peace in Southern Kaduna, the Prelate of Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr. Samuel Chukwuemeka Uche urged the media to accurately report the crisis without exaggerating it.
Uche who spoke at the two-day interfaith dialogue in Abuja, while encouraging both Muslim and Christian clerics to desist from issuing unguarded utterances, said the peace of Kaduna State was paramount and must be pursued with dialogue and peace-building.
The cleric said he visited the governor over the matter adding: “I told the governor that for any soul lost, God would hold him accountable because he is the chief security officer of the state. So whoever dies whether Muslim, Christian or whatever, God would hold him responsible. He agreed with me and debunked the claim that he had furnished the herdsmen with arms.”
Uche stated that the governor said 10, 000 cattle weren’t worth the life of a little child and also said he was conscious of standing before God and could not preside over the killing of any man.
On how sufficient the measures in place to curb the crisis were, he said there was need for law enforcement, sincere and honest forgiveness and reconciliation to take place, adding that security personnel should be positioned in each of the affected areas. “I know soldiers and police are not biased. Genuine soldiers who believe in Nigeria should be posted there,” he said.
Read more at http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/southern-kaduna-abdulsalami-onaiyekan-others-lead-peace-mission/182794.html#f3uglzeomlgeytuo.99