Southern Kaduna Peoples’ Union (SOKAPU)
Gentlemen of the Press,
On 15th July, 2012 Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, then a private citizen tweeted that “Anyone, soldier or not that kills the Fulani takes a loan repayable one day no matter how long it takes”. On 6th April, 2016, El-Rufai on a Channels TV programme ‘Sunrise Daily’ told the world that the population of Kaduna is made up of 30% Christians and 70% Muslims. He added that over 800 people were killed in the 2011 post-election crisis and most of the killings took place in Southern Kaduna when Fulani’s from several countries in Africa were caught in the crossfire and their cattle and themselves killed; and that the killings in Southern Kaduna presently were reprisal attacks by the Fulanis. He added that from the beginning of the year 2016, in the six months preceding the interview. That is, from October 2015 to April 2016, no attack took place in Southern Kaduna ostensibly through the efforts of his Government.
Then on Friday, 3rd December 2016, El-Rufai, briefing journalists on the pogrom, holocaust and genocidal killings in Southern Kaduna made several confessional statements and admission on the killings in Southern Kaduna.
Summarized, the governor reiterated:
a. That the Fulani herdsmen and their cattle from across 14 countries in Africa were killed by Southern Kaduna people in the 2011 post-election in 2011 and “they organized themselves and came back to revenge”.
b. That his Government sent “ambassadors” across African countries to trace the Fulani killers “to tell them that there is a new governor who is Fulani like them and has no problem paying compensations for lives lost and he is ‘begging’ them to stop the killings.
c. That his Government acceded to monetary compensation request from the Fulani foreign terrorists and “we said no problem; we paid”.
d. That about two weeks ago his Government participated in an annual meeting the foreign terrorist held in Niger Republic.
e. That his Government knew about the root cause of killings by foreign terrorist Fulani’s since August, 2015.
f. In a volte face and somersault, the governor in the same media briefing turned round to say that the issue is “a pure case of banditry, they are criminals … what is happening in Southern Kaduna today… has roots in banditry, it has nothing to do with what has happened in the past to a large extent”. The Governor conveniently abandoned his thesis of reprisal to and turned to “criminality”.
g. That 99% of criminals arrested in Kaduna State for kidnapping, cattle rustling and armed robbery in Kaduna state are Fulani’s who now carry AK47 rifle “why is it only Fulani’s that are doing this, is that part of the culture of the Fulani’s, since when did they start carting AK47 rifles and so on”, he said.
h. The Governor conceded that “there is very weak law enforcement or uneven law enforcement,” as SOKAPU had always maintained but asserted again that “you can’t defend yourself if there is a Government …” while there is no security from Government the Governor maintains that Southern Kaduna has no right to defend itself against attackers but to submit meekly as sheep destined for slaughter.
i. That his Government is “deploying more security to the crisis-prone areas” even when SOKAPU insists that there is no security presence in Southern Kaduna or at worse, the security agencies as admitted by the governor are “weak”.
j. That “there are people that are sending a message, defend yourselves, we will get them; defend yourself is hate speech. You can’t defend yourself if there is a government. We are going to arrest and prosecute all those that pass that message… we know them and they are being monitored by the security agencies,” El-rufai said.
The governors’ press briefing clearly revealed that as the Chief Executive of Kaduna State, he has been able to uncover the identity of the terrorists that have been wreaking unprecedented destruction of lives and property in Southern Kaduna; that they are foreigners from some African countries. The logical thing we would have expected from him is to involve the Federal Government as well as international agencies including INTERPOL to arrest and prosecute the terrorists since this involves inter-border crimes against humanity and to demand a closer scrutiny of our borders with those countries. But to beg, patronize, consort and have meetings with the terrorists as well as give them pecuniary rewards in the name of compensation raises a lot of unanswered questions.
We demand, under the Freedom of Information Act, to know the identity of the Fulani terrorists; we demand to know the amounts paid to them; we demand to know the basis and laws used in assessment and computation of compensation paid; we demand to know the court, the committee or legal persons that resolved to pay the compensation; we demand to know the when, where and who appropriated the money used in paying the compensation; and finally we demand to know the identity of the beneficiaries of the compensation paid.
The Governor in the same briefing attributed the killings to pure criminality and banditry. He told the world how his government “convened a meeting of all the North West Governors … and launched an operation to deal with cattle rustling. We were successful …” But in Southern Kaduna, where lives are involved, nothing has been done.
Gentlemen of the Press, as we speak with you, the people of Southern Kaduna have absolutely no protection, I repeat, absolutely no protection from the Kaduna State Government. Unlike Birnin Gwari forest or Zamfara State where security agents went into the forests to confront the bandits, in the case of Southern Kaduna, the security agents told the locals that they have no directives to go into the flashpoint areas – bushes, mountains, forests where the terrorists operate from. Despite the fact that there are reports of a strange helicopter dropping supplies in the forests to the terrorists; there are reports of camps where the terrorists play music in the forest and celebrate their conquest with impunity, yet no action has been taken to degrade them. Rather, it will appear that their financial muscle has been strengthened by the compensations received by them in the sense that rather than abating after receiving the compensations, the attacks have intensified.
While the government has failed in its duty to protect the law abiding and peace loving people of Southern Kaduna, it does not want us to defend or protect ourselves against the attackers. SOKAPU as a responsible Union has always stressed and called its members never to take the law into their hands no matter the provocation. However, we encourage all our communities to take every available legal means of defending themselves. This is in accord with the Constitution and International Legal Instruments. If it is a crime to ask our people to defend themselves against terrorists, then WITHOUT APOLOGY TO ANYONE, WE CALL AGAIN ON OUR COMMUNITIES TO TAKE EVERY AVAILABLE LEGAL MEANS TO DEFEND THEMSELVES FROM TERRORISTS. No amount of threats will intimidate us from performing our lawful obligations constitutionally vested on us by extant legal instruments.
Ladies and gentlemen, Governor El-Rufai’s media briefing and narratives clearly admit that his government has identified the terrorists, meets with the terrorists, pays money to the terrorists, begs the terrorists, and attends international events with the terrorists who are all his kith and kin. Indeed, the Kaduna State Government has admitted to rewarding the Fulani terrorists for their attacks in Southern Kaduna. The government identified the source of the ‘problem in August last year’ and presumably has been paying ‘compensation’ to the terrorists since then from unappropriated and vired State resources. The terrorists with the resources at their disposal given to them freely by the state government have unleashed greater mayhem with more intensity on Southern Kaduna communities, destroying thousands of lives, billions of properties and rendering thousand homeless and destitute in Southern Kaduna without intervention from the security agencies.
Not less than 30 villages have been destroyed by the terrorists in Sanga, Jema’a, Kaura, and Kauru Local Government Areas of the state. The focus of the Government is not to arrest or prosecute the attackers/terrorists but in subversion of the Constitution and international legal instruments, to take away the sacred right of the individual and people to defend themselves from terrorists. The new legal norm sought to be established by the Governor is that the right to defend oneself in accordance with the Constitution and international instruments has been taken away from Southern Kaduna people. Right to defend Southern Kaduna is now “hate speech” but for the terrorists the Governor rewards them.
We cried out to the world that we have been deserted, abandoned and neglected. We told the world that governments at both Federal and State level have placed more premium on cattle than the lives of Southern Kaduna people such that major operations are being carried out to rout cattle rustling in Birnin Gwari and Zamfara State.
In view of the above, SOKAPU wishes to demand:
1. A full disclosure of all the details of the “compensation” paid to Fulani terrorists as well as their identity for immediate arrest and prosecution.
2. Immediate arrest and prosecution of all the local accomplices of the foreign terrorists such as Haruna Usman; Abdullahi Hassan Mohd and Ahmed M. Yandeh.
3. In view of the confessional Statement of Governor El-Rufai, we demand his immediate resignation because of his biased, crass and deliberate ineptitude in stopping the killings in Southern Kaduna.
Finally, we encourage all our communities to take every available legal means of defending themselves, their property and dignity against anyone set to terrorize them”. We are ready for arrest and prosecution. El-Rufai should be ready to arrest SOKAPU EXCO and all Southern Kaduna citizens since he has a terrible bête noire, venom and hatred for the people of Southern Kaduna.
COME AND ARREST US!