From: Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The Catholic Bishops of Kaduna Ecclesiastical Province have appealed to Governor Nasir El-Rufai led Kaduna state government to as a matter of urgency convene a stakeholders’ meeting that will help in addressing the incessant killings in Kajuru LGA and its environs.
The call was contained in a statement jointly signed by the Chairman of the province, Most Rev. Dr. Matthew Manoso Ndagoso of Kaduna Archdiocese and Secretary, Most Rev. Dr. John Mamasa Niriing (OSA) of Kano Diocese.
The Bishops lamented that the resumption of what they considered as the mindless killings in the Kajuru area of Southern Kaduna, Kaduna State have come to them with a great shock again.
They however noted with dismay that in the last four months alone, the communities have suffered a chain of tragedies which climaxed with the gruesome murder of their paramount Chief, the Agwom Adara, Mr. Maiwada Raphael Galadima in October last year.
“We had hoped that this tragedy would alert the State Government of the seriousness of the tragedy and alert all sides of the urgency of peaceful co-existence. Unfortunately, the situation seems to be growing worse among the communities around Adara land.”
They stressed that, “While the people of Adara still have no traditional ruler their other leaders have been rounded up under various allegations and have been in detention for few weeks now.
Clearly, these developments have exposed the Adara people to physical, cultural and psychological insecurity.
“Although these killings continue to carry such labels as farmer herder clashes, ethno-religious and reprisal killings, they do not explain the existential threat that this poses for the faith of our people in a united Nigeria. It is increasingly clear that the perpetrators of these dastardly acts are not acting as lone rangers.
These killings showed every sign of being well planned, well-co-ordinated and targeted.”
They lamented that, thousands of the communities have now lost lives, homes, and all their life savings and earnings. “Ours are communities of farmers and herders. The rains will soon be here.”
The Catholic Bishops therefore appealed to the state government to convene a stakeholders meeting and as well commence a judicial process.
In their words, “First, we appeal to the Kaduna State Government to consider convening a Stake Holders’ Meeting made up of representatives of a wide segment of the entire state. Such a meeting will include the political and business elite, senior citizens and statesmen and women, civil society groups etc.
“This meeting will help us work towards putting the history of violence behind us and laying the foundation for the genuine development and integration of the people of the state.
“Second, we call for the commencement of a judicial process leading to the trial of anyone judged to be involved in the violence while setting free those who are innocent. This will help to build more trust among our people.”
The Bishops, while committing the future into the hands of God and praying that God will bless Kaduna state, however called on the people to remain steadfast and continue to pray that, the ill wind will blow away and that they can smile again.