Relative peace is gradually returning to southern Kaduna after weeks of serial attacks on communities by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen. A combined team of soldiers and policemen, who were deployed in the aftermath of the attacks, have been able to contain the situation, even as soldiers have arrested and recovered arms from herdsmen and natives of the area.

Addressing reporters in his office, the state Police Commissioner, Agyelo Abeh, said that the situation there had been brought under control. He added that the police and other security agencies had deployed enough personnel to contain any form of lawlessness, but pointed out that “security is everyone’s business. It cannot be achieved by the police alone, but through collective efforts”.

The police boss appealed to traditional rulers, religious leaders and other citizens to help in ensuring peace in Southern Kaduna, saying that “the best way to resolve crisis is through dialogue”.

People Are Returning

On his part, the General Officer Commanding One Division Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, told reporters that his men recovered arms and ammunition from Fulani herdsmen and some locals in Southern Kaduna, as part of efforts to end the crisis.

“We have mopped up arms from the Fulani herdsmen and the locals. Our operations based on intelligence gathering are still ongoing and we are also working with the Department of State Services.

“As it is well known, the army has approved two battalions to be stationed in Southern Kaduna. One of them is in Kafanchan. So, we are not leaving. We will be there for as long as it is necessary.

“We have other fundamental issues in the area which the political leadership needs to resolve. The governor has engaged various stakeholders and as our operations continue, peace is returning.

“People are returning to their villages. However, it will take some time for them to calm down. They are repairing their burnt houses and they are also clearing their farmlands. We have assured them of maximum protection on their farms, and also for the Fulani herdsmen when they need to lead their cows for grazing,” Major General Oyebade told reporters.

Already, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), which is the umbrella body of Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria, has called for all parties involved in the crisis to sheathe their swords and sincerely embrace peace.

The association’s National Assistant Secretary Dr. Ibrahim Abdullahi, asked the people to put the past behind them and chart a new course by forgiving one another.

“The entire people of Southern Kaduna have to forgive what has happened. Both parties should learn to forgive. This crisis will never end if you think you would go and revenge what happened to you. So we’re appealing to all parties to sheathe their swords and embrace peace.

“We want to also support the steps so far taken by the government of Kaduna State and all the security agencies in order to return normalcy to the area.

“We call on leaders in particular, political, religious and otherwise to desist from making inflammatory speeches that could escalate the situation. There should be no hate speech, those speeches that point towards religious sentiment or ethnic jingoism. Let us all work for peace. We inherited a peaceful Southern Kaduna and I don’t think we are sensible, if we bequeath to our children and grandchildren a Southern Kaduna that is fighting itself.

“We want to assure residents of the area that we will continue to work with people of goodwill. In Southern Kaduna, there are good people that are out for peace. And I want to make it clear that there are chiefdoms where you never, ever experience any clash because the traditional rulers there are out to promote peace. Kagoro, Moro’a is one of them even though some people mischievously leave from other places and come to Moro’a and attack.

“We are going to work with people of like minds to ensure total reconciliation,” Dr. Abdullahi said.

There have been several attacks on communities in the area, leading to loss of lives and property. Governor Nasir el-Rufai had said that the attackers were foreigners avenging deaths of their kins and not residents of the state.