The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, Monday in Kaduna, condemned incessant killings in southern Kaduna as nothing but “madness”. Speaking during the meeting of Northern Traditional Rulers Council, the monarch described the crisis as “madness that must stop immediately”. He called on those involved in the killings to stop “the dastardly act”, declaring that “enough is enough”. According to him, “no man in his right senses goes on a killing spree of innocent people under whatever guise.” He accused politicians of fueling the crisis, appealing to Nigerians to not be used as tools of violence. “You can’t keep on igniting killings based on ethno-religious differences because it is innocent children that are killed while the elites are protected,” he said.
Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna State, said the southern Kaduna crisis has lingered since the first Kasuwan Magani riot in Kajuru local government area in 1980. He said his administration was doing everything possible to end the killings and restore peace. A military base and mobile police depot were established in the area while the Air Force and a strike force had been deployed in the zone. He said equipment like drones and GSM trackers were being used to neutralise bandits in the state. “Kaduna is a mini-Nigeria with over 52 ethnic groups, meaning that 10 per cent of Nigeria’s ethnic groups are in Kaduna state,” he said. The danger of it is that crimes committed by criminals for their own selfish motives are given ethno-religious interpretations.”
The Sultan’s comment on the violence in southern Kaduna was the second in less than a month. He had earlier paid a courtesy visit to Kaduna governor to give him “advice” on how best to handle the security challenge. Before him, President Muhammadu Bihari, in July, condemned the killings and asked locals to give information to security forces to work with.
The concerns of the Sultan and political leaders over the perennial attacks and reprisals that have taken a huge toll on life and property may be genuine. The problem is that they are not followed through with real action. Take the case of a former deputy governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia. He alleged in a recent radio interview that Boko Haram commanders confided in him that the killer sect had a serving state governor as its financier. The security forces started to harangue and persecute him, instead of asking him to work with them to get to the root of the matter. Hostile interrogation and cooperation are not the same. It is this contradiction between policy and action or lack of it that is costing the military the support of the civil community in the fight against terror. It is high time this changed.