Bishop Joseph Bagobiri of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, Kaduna State, has advised the administration of Gov. Nasril el-Rufai to develop the political will to sanction those that had been fomenting crises in the state. According to Bagobiri, there was the need for the state government to address the human rights abuses in the state by bringing the perpetrators to book.
“Those who abuse the sanctity of innocent lives and abuse human rights must not be allowed to go scot-free,’’ he said.
He was reacting to the recent killings in Southern Kaduna by suspected Fulani herdsmen against local farmers in which some villagers lost their lives and properties. The bishop who was abroad on medical check-up while the last attack happened said that sanctioning culprits would curb the perennial crises in the state and serve as deterrents to others.
A similar attack had occurred in late 2016 that recorded fatalities with several houses, churches, shops and cars destroyed in Jema’a, Sanga, Kaura, and Kauru Local Government areas. Bagobiri also said that the state government could initiate dialogue to resolve the crises.
“While one cannot rule out the positive side of dialogue, things such as these require proactive actions from the state government.
“I have been involved in initiating dialogues for over 20 years now involving national and international organisations on issues like this.
“The people you dialogue with are the elite that do not have any problems in relating with believers of other religions, they will be willing to sit with you and resolve the issues.
“But the extremists never believed in dialogue and they are the ones perpetrating the crimes, they are the real problems we have.
“I feel very strongly that what we need now is for the state government to address the human rights abuses and bring the perpetrators to book, instead of bringing people to a roundtable conference,’’ he said.
Bagobiri also advised the state government to be cautious in its utterances and actions so that a section of the state would not conclude that it hated them. He advised that the government should always address its citizens in conciliatory and persuasive manners to give them a sense of belonging in state affairs.