What difference will this article make about the Southern Kaduna killings?
I am winded when it comes to speaking about the killings that happen in the North attributed to Fulani herdsmen.
I have spoken about this from every single angle possible on this column. On my social media platforms, I have spoken time and time again. On the 7th of March 2010, people of Dogo Nahawa in Jos South of Plateau State were visited with the scimitar of death, hitherto unseen for a place like Jos. While in 2001, religious skirmishes had imploded all over the state for the first time in recent history; the Dogo Nahawa massacre was on a different level.
A village was sleeping at night when death in the form of Fulani militia visited sleeping men, women; as well as children. There was no regard for age or gender. Any human found was killed. For two hours, this rampage went unchecked, unrepelled.
Official death toll was placed at 400. Rumours say it was more than that.
This ambush was new. It wasn’t the spill-over of violence that usually started from town and spilt into the villages. This was a planned ambush. Since then, thousands have been killed not just in Plateau State; but in Benue, Kaduna, Enugu, Taraba and other places.
More recently is the renewed violence in the Southern part of Kaduna state. Some places have been attacked while other places are living under the threat of attack.
Danjuma Laah, the Senator representing Southern Kaduna senatorial district complained bitterly about what he said (and I paraphrase); was the indifference being displayed by the governor of Kaduna state. He claimed that this attitude was because people from that district had refused to vote for him.
I do not know if this is true. I don’t even really understand why people are getting killed in Southern Kaduna. But I know for a fact that people are getting killed. Yet, no one seems to be doing anything about it.
But this is a broken record at this point.
Can I even sit down and document all the attacks that have happened in the Middle Belt and even Northern part of Nigeria? Attacks that have left thousands dead and no arrests. Attacks that go on for hours without any militarized response from the security agencies.
I remember once in 2011 a village was attacked in Babale in Plateau State. Babale had active check points in shouting distances. People were killed and houses burnt without a peep from security agents who later claimed not to have heard anything. The shocking thing was that the previous night before this attack, some people were killed in a village called Tatu. You would think that this would heighten security vigilance.
Over and over again. The same template.
A sleeping village.
Attackers come in the night.
They are armed to the teeth so few are able to escape them. I am talking about not just bows and arrows and machetes. I am talking about AK47s and even in some cases, RPGs. So, they plan, have the money to prepare and then they strike.
Thereafter, they get away with it.
It doesn’t matter how long they stay cleaning out a place of human lives. No one counters them. When they are done, there are false statements of them being brought to book. Also, there are even angry statements claiming the Fulanis are simply reprising an attack. From the pattern we have seen repeated over the years; we are yet to be convinced of the government’s willingness to solve this issue. How many documented protests have we seen?
From women bare-breasted dressed in black, crying; to angry youths on the brink of violence. We have seen it all.
However, nothing has changed.
I have completely lost hope that anything will ever be done about these massacres in Southern Kaduna. So why am I writing about this? This isn’t news to anyone in and out of Nigeria.
Our government is not unaware of this. This won’t save the next life that will be snuffed out. So, why bother?
I will tell you why I bother.
The day we cease to speak about such atrocities. The day we shrug it away as a common occurrence. Or the day the number of the dead become just numbers. That day is the day we would have lost our humanity. We must not accept this as normal.
A country supposedly in peace time does not experience that number of violent killings that we experience. This is abnormal. Mostly because there does not seem to be any clear-cut agenda. Why are people being killed in Southern Kaduna? Because of religious or ethnic differences?
Is this an ethnic cleansing? Is this some old-time jihad come to life to conquer and capture? I don’t have the answers. But I will not cease to speak. Heaven forbid that it be normal to me that a human is slaughtered in his sleep and I keep quiet.
I do not have the connections or the power to provide security. However, I do have a voice. And I will keep using it.
Rise up, Governor El Rufai.
Rise up Buhari.
Stop the killings in Southern Kaduna.
Posterity will ask you. History will remember if you do nothing. The innocent blood being soaked into the earth will cry out your names.
You were elected to safeguard the lives of all people living in Kaduna state, El Rufai. The responsibility for the lives of every Nigerian is on you, President Buhari.
We demand security because it is our right as citizens of Nigeria. It is your given mandate. No matter our political, religious and ethnic leanings, you have the mandate to safeguard our lives and property.
Secondly, we need justice. Justice so that the purveyors of death are halted in their steps. That they may see that it is costly to take a Nigerian life. We refuse to get used to this. We refuse to be tired of talking about it.
Justice for Southern Kaduna.