By Chuks Onwudinjo
The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) has expressed concern over the resurgence of killings in Kaura, Zango-Kataf, Kajuru and Jema’a local government areas in southern Kaduna, that have left other innocent citizens brutalized, maimed and traumatized.
In a press statement made available to THISDAY, titled ‘Stop the Killings in Southern Kaduna” and signed by the worldwide leader of the organisation, Mr Abiola Owoaje, the association stated that it was worrisome that despite the imposition of a 24-hour curfew by the state government and deployment of security agencies by the federal government in the troubled areas, violence had continued in the state.
The association wondered how suspected Ethnic militiamen could beat military checkpoints and safeguards put in place to kill 33 people in one fell swoop, in some villages in Zango-Kataf Local Government of the state.
NAS noted that the inability of security agencies to stop the blood letting in the state had fuelled allegations of genocide being perpetrated against the predominantly Christians population of Southern Kaduna.
The group also noted the recent statement by the federal government linking the deadly attacks in the southern part of Kaduna state to political banditry by criminal gangs acting on ethno-religious grounds and revenge killings, as instructive, stating that they were not also unaware that at the very heart of the crisis, was the struggle for control and ownership of communal land between the Hausa-Fulani and the litany of over 30 tribes, indigenous to the area, which had resulted in violence since the 1980s.
The statement noted that steps taken so far by the state government towards resolving this carnage, had not provided any amicable resolution of the crisis but rather had largely been viewed in some quarters as divisive and unresponsive.
The group said this view was further strengthened by the impunity with which these attacks were carried out mainly because of the lack of prosecutorial consequences resulting from previous attacks.
Regrettably, they added, “the state governor Mallam Nasir El- Rufai has not been able to rise above the fray with his utterances as the Chief Security Officer of the state”.
‘Times like these require statements that unite rather than disperse. The situation requires a state leadership acting in the desirous objective of bringing the crisis to an end. The governor’s tirades against critical stakeholders of Southern Kaduna extraction, clearly portends a betrayal of neutrality and could adversely jeopardise any attempt at a peace process”.
They also averred that the Federal Government had not fared better by its lukewarm attitude to the worsening security situation in Southern Kaduna and the nation in general.
The federal government’s indifference, the association noted, has allowed the crisis to fester, creating the impression of a national security architecture lacking in strategy and failing to protect lives and properties in the crisis-ridden southern Kaduna area.
The National Association of Seadogs, as an organisation that advocates for a just and egalitarian society, therefore called on the Federal Government to wake up to its responsibilities and lead the charge by urgently arresting the security situation in Kaduna and preventing it from deteriorating further.
The group said cross section of stakeholders had advocated for a shake up of the federal security framework by urging the redeployment if not outright sack of all heads of federal security institutions in the state as a warning that government would no longer tolerate the constant outbreak of violence right under the watch of those charged with intelligence and protection of lives and property.
In providing solution to the crisis, Seadogs urged the government to immediately “commence the healing process by ordering the release of all innocent Southern Kaduna youths in detention over the crisis, including all those arrested over the Saturday 8 August 2020, peaceful protest in Kaduna, while bringing those found guilty to book.
“The security agencies should be tasked to be professional in their rules of engagement while being firm in apprehending all those found complicit in the murder of innocent people and destruction of properties, no matter how highly placed and the ethnic divide they belong to in the state.”
They also recommended that the federal government acting in tandem with the state leadership, should as a matter of urgency convoke a peace summit of all stakeholders in Southern Kaduna to resolve all lingering disputes pertaining to ownership of land while reaching a consensus and providing adequate funds for compensations where necessary and also addressing the issues of mutual suspicion among the populace.
The statement said Federal Government needed to take a second look at the reports of the different Commissions of Enquiry set up on the Southern Kaduna crisis, since the Kasuwan Magani Crisis of 1980, and summon the required political will to implement the recommendations in the interest of peace.
In a chat with THISDAY, Owoaje stated that “The people of Southern Kaduna deserved to live in peace. Enough of the tears and blood.”
The association had earlier endorsed the election of Owoaje as her worldwide leader, known as NAS Cap’n, at a virtual annual general meeting of the group attended by members and delegates from across five continents, held on August 1, 2020.