An Address Presented to the Governor of Kaduna State, His Excellency, Nasir el-Rufai on the 17th of August, 2020 on the Issue of Continuous Killings in Kaduna State and the Need to Stop the Killings.
By His Eminence, the President of Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Samson Olasupo A. Ayokunle, PhD
Your Excellency, Sir,
A Clarion Call on the State and Federal Governments to Do More in Stopping the Continuous Wastage of Lives and Property in Kaduna State.
On behalf of the leadership of the Church in Nigeria, the Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN) I bring you greetings of peace from the Prince of Peace, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
We are grateful to you for adjusting your crowded schedule to allow us to see you today. CAN hopes that this gesture would open more avenues of encouraging interaction between the Church and your government and that the interaction would form part of the solutions to the recurring senseless killings and wastage of resources in Nigeria in general and Southern Kaduna in particular in the name of Jesus.
Let me first underscore the fact that the crisis in Southern Kaduna predates the emergence of your government. However, the fundamental reason that we are here is for your government not to allow the crisis to linger. It is on record that other administrations achieved some level of peaceful coexistence among the various ethnic and religious groups in the state. Hence, in finding a solution to the ongoing crisis, CAN believes some lessons could be learned from the past in order to draw a roadmap for the future.
You would agree with me, Your Excellency, that one of the main responsibilities of leadership is problem-solving as it is not about the benefits or the paraphernalia of office alone. Accordingly, it was because the state had problems that was why the people recognized you as the right peg in the right hole and you were elected. Hence, your office as the governor is a trust which by the grace of God, as I pray for you, you would be able to keep and put smiles on the faces of all by working sincerely to restore peace to the places of trouble in this state in Jesus’ name.
Secondly, sir, our coming here is not to place accusation against anyone concerning the crisis nor is it to say that the government of the day has not done anything to stop the continuous killings. It is rather to say that the present best of the government and the security agents are not good enough. It would be enough and praiseworthy when the killings stop.
Sir, whenever CAN in the state and at the national level cry out against the insecurity, it is because we are tired of seeing human beings being slaughtered like animals. It is because, not only our heart is bleeding, but that of God our Creator and Maker as well. Whenever you see us complain to your government or the federal government, it is because we have no other person to cry or look up to but you and the security agents. We equally cry because of the economic downturn this perennial crisis is bringing to the state. We cry out against the killings because of the negative image the continuous crisis is bringing to the state and our nation in the international community. If people say that it is religious or ethnic, we do not have the right to say they are foolish or should shut up because the continuing crisis has given them room to say whatever they are saying as long as the killings continue. So, the government is the one who has our trust and resources to secure our communities and we have the legitimate right to challenge the government to empirically convince us that it is doing that.
On many occasions, when I read of ‘unknown gunmen’ and it ends there, I wonder whether it is not the duty of those governing us to make sure that the “unknown gunmen” are ‘known’ and brought to book! When bandits, herdsmen, Boko Haram, religious fundamentalists or even, cattle rustlers strike, the people would have had the rest of mind and firm belief in the government and security agents if they had pursued them to wherever they came from and made sure that they were brought to book. If such people had been brought to book before, the proportion was a far cry from the frequency of attacks and killings. The people causing trouble are not spirits, so, it should not be too difficult to apprehend them and bring them to book. If there are people sponsoring them, a thorough investigation should be able to fish them out and cause them to face the wrath of the law.
Your Excellency, if we continue to watch people do reprisal attacks without making both sides responsible for taking laws into their hands, we would be guilty of legitimizing criminality. Whoever attacks first and whoever is doing reprisal are both criminals that must be made to face the wrath of the law.
Your Excellency, the Christian Association of Nigeria is ready to partner with your government and security agents in finding a solution to this matter. Let there be a round table discussion and a pledge of cooperation rather than confrontation in finding a solution to this wicked and embarrassing development.
In view of the foregoing, we request sir the following:
- A stop to accusations and counter-accusations between the government and other stakeholders over the killings in Southern Kaduna but rather a round table solution. Every provocative statement over the matter should be avoided. Everybody is looking at the governor as a father of the state and this is the understanding with which he should handle every accusing finger pointed at him. Your office is like that of the dung where all kinds of rubbish are dumped. When you were not in charge of the governance of the state, nobody was pointing accusing finger at you.
- No bandit, gunman or cattle rustler should be allowed to strike and disappear into the thin air any longer without being pursued to his or her base for apprehension and prosecution.
- The guns in the hands of criminals should be recovered. Bushes should be combed through surveillance to do this.
- Technology should be deployed extensively by the security agents to apprehend the criminals in their hideouts, including the mercenaries that may be coming from outside the state.
- All sources of ammunition the bandits and killers are using should be investigated and blocked
- Community healing, forgiveness and reconciliatory meetings should be held, bringing different ethnic groups in communities together to chart the way forward for peace.
- Your government should further strengthen the State Emergency Management Agency and the Kaduna State Peace Commission for the development and rebuilding of Southern Kaduna and other crises ridden areas. A commission should be set up to cater for many orphans, widows and widowers whose future had been put in jeopardy as a result of the killings of their breadwinners.
- It is apparent that killings are noticed on both sides. Nonetheless, an increase in security forces be deployed to the troubled spots until lasting peace is restored.
In conclusion, we pray that all the above would be looked into as our way of contributing to peace building in Southern Kaduna, and of course, the entire state. You can count on us to always pray for you to nip this ugly situation of continuous bloodletting in the bud in Kaduna State.
Rev. Samson O. A. Ayokunle, PhD(Liverpool)
President, Christian Association of Nigeria,
President, Nigerian Baptist Convention &
Vice President, Baptist World Alliance.