Nigeria’s Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo on Friday met stakeholders on the Southern Kaduna killings, saying that the crisis in the region cannot be put to an end in a hurry, because people have developed hate and anger out of the crisis.
The Acting President was in Kaduna to assess the level of progress at the Kaduna International Airport ahead of the proposed diversion of flights from the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja to Kaduna.
However, the meeting he had directed the State Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai to convene had in attendance, representatives of the religious bodies, traditional institutions and ethnic groups as well representatives of Fulani community.
He said a quick fix solution would not be apt as the crisis has a long history which he is studying through previous reports of commissions on inquiry, briefing from security agencies and other reports.
His words:”I will like to begin a discussion on the very terrible crisis that has gone on for a while in Southern Kaduna. Let me say first that there is no question at all that many have suffered, families have lost loved ones, a lot of bloodletting has taken place in Southern Kaduna in the past few weeks and I want to express my sincere condolence to all of those who have lost families and friends and who have been traumatized by the terrible things that have been going on in Southern Kaduna in the past few months.
“I have talked to his Excellency the governor, that what I would like to achieve is not a quick fix but I want us to begin a process and I want to be a part of that process that will listen to each group separately and then get everyone together.
“And I want us to respect those who have lost their lives that we are not trying to fix something quick, we are not trying to resolve it now however it is resolved and pretend all is well. We will take our time and as I said, to sift through whatever is required so we can find a proper and lasting solution.”
Professor Osinbajo, who told the stakeholders that he had taken enough security briefing on the Southern Kaduna crisis, however noted that, violence, enmity and hate cannot solve the problem, but process of peace building must commence to gradually face out the crisis.
According to him, “I have been briefed by security Chiefs about the crisis in Southern Kaduna, even as I arrived here today, the security Chiefs here have also briefed me. Local government Chairmen have briefed me. But, the crisis in Southern Kaduna cannot be ended in a hurry, because there is hate and anger.
“But, how many more lives do we want to lose before we stop this crisis? We must therefore strive to put an end to this, otherwise it will consume everybody. Violence, enmity and hate cannot solve the problem we are going through. We must therefore begin a process of peace building”, he said.
Osinbajo however promised to convene meetings with representatives of CAN, JNI, MACBAN and other stakeholders separately.
Governor el-Rufai in his opening remarks swore to God that, his administration will fish out and prosecute those who have participated in the killings or instigated killings in Kaduna State in the last 37 years.
“Ladies and gentlemen that we invited here, I will like to say that you are here on the invitation of the vice president. There are some who were not invited for the reasons that they know, because, we suspect they are behind some of these problems and we do not intend as state government to give legitimacy to anyone under investigation for being behind some of these problems.
He said, his government has identified bringing culprits to book, deployment of security and commencement of peace building efforts as panacea to permanently ending the Southern Kaduna crisis.
Gov. el-Rufai however commended the Acting President for his usual assistance to the state government in its efforts to establish military formations in the troubled zone and securing the state at large.
Meanwhile, stakeholders who spoke at the meeting, like the CAN Chairman Bishop George Dodo, Agwan Atakad, representative of the JNI, Alhaji Sanusi Maikudi and National Assistant Secretary of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Ibrahim Abdullahi traced the crisis to 2011 post-election violence and suggested ways out.
CAN chairman, Rev. George Dodo thanked the acting president and the state governor for their intervention in finding lasting peace in Southern Kaduna and prayed that those behind the violence would be apprehended and brought to book
Representative of JNI in Kaduna State, Alhaji Sanusi Maikudi blamed the crisis on the inability of the previous government to fish out those behind the crisis and failure to act on the recommendations of commissions of inquiry.
He said the night attacks on communities started in Jaba local government of the state as result of the fallout of the 2011 post-election violence where he said a report documented that 80 percent of the persons killed were from Southern Kaduna and 35, Muslims were displaced in 18 communities and that only 5 percent have been able to return.
CAN chairman, Rev. George Dodo thanked the acting president and the state governor for their intervention in finding lasting peace in Southern Kaduna and prayed that those behind the violence would be apprehended and brought to o book.