Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday met with stakeholders in Southern Kaduna over the attacks and killings, lamenting that the violence in the area cannot be put to an end in a hurry because people have developed hatred and anger over the years due to the crisis.
He was also in Kaduna to assess the level of progress at the Kaduna Airport ahead of the proposed diversion of flights from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
However, the meeting he directed Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai to convene had in attendance representatives of the religious bodies, traditional institutions, ethnic groups and the Fulani community.
Osinbajo, after listening to presentations from stakeholders, said it is unfortunate that bloodletting, which brings about bitterness and hate, has been allowed to be the order of the day, thereby making the crisis difficult to end.
The Acting President, who told the stakeholders that he had taken enough security briefing on the crisis, however, noted that
violence, enmity and hate cannot solve the problem, but the process of peace-building must commence to gradually resolve the crisis.
“The crisis in Southern Kaduna cannot be ended in a hurry, because there is hate and anger. But how many more lives do we want to lose before we stop this crisis?
“We must, therefore, strive to put an end to this. Otherwise, it will consume everybody. Violence, enmity and hate cannot solve the problem we are going through. We must, therefore, begin a process of peace building,” Osinbajo said.
He added: “Let me say first that there is no question at all that many have suffered, families have lost loved ones, a lot of bloodletting has taken place in Southern Kaduna in the past few weeks and I want to express my sincere condolence to all of
those who have lost families and friends and who have been traumatised by the terrible things that have been going on in Southern Kaduna in the past few months.
“But I must say there is no question whatsoever that violence would never stop any of the problems we are experiencing today; there is no way we will resolve it that way.
“On this matter, I have read documents, quite a few of the reports, as a matter of fact, I have tried very hard to study the crisis in Southern Kaduna, including reports of past crises and since I got in today, I am also taking briefing from some of the senior officials of the armed forces and state security.
“I want to say that I don’t want us to be in a hurry. I am certainly not in a hurry, because I don’t believe that a crisis where there is so much bloodletting and hatred over the years can be resolved by a couple of meetings. No, I don’t believe that is possible.
“I have talked to the governor that what I would like to achieve is not a quick fix, but I want us to begin a process and I want to be a part of that process that will listen to each group separately and then get everyone together.
“We will take our time and as I said, to sift through whatever is required, so we can find a proper and lasting solution.”Osinbajo, however, pledged to convene meetings with representatives of CAN,
JNI, MACBAN and other stakeholders separately.
El-Rufai in his opening remarks vowed that his administration would fish out and prosecute those who have participated in the killings or instigated killings in Kaduna State in the last 37 years.
He said his administration has identified some of those behind the crises and would bring culprits to book; hence the deployment of security and commencement of peace building efforts as panacea to permanently ending the Southern Kaduna menace.
El-Rufai commended Osinbajo for his usual assistance to the state government in its efforts to establish military formations in the troubled zone and securing the state at large.
Meanwhile, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), in a statement, urged the security agencies to intensify efforts, so that
isolated killings of people on the farms would be a thing of the past.
It expressed optimism that the military would soon put an end to such guerilla and sniper attacks in the area, just as it commended other security agencies for combing bushes around attack-prone communities.
A statement issued by the National Public Relations Officer of SOKAPU, Mr. Yakubu Kuzamani, particularly expressed satisfaction with the security agencies for going into the bushes near villages like Goska, Ambam, Bakin Kogi axis in Jema’a Council, as well as Ashim in Kaura Council that were previously attacked by bandits.
The union reiterated its support for a permanent military presence in Southern Kaduna as a means of securing the area from terrorists who have turned the communities into killing fields.
Osinbajo, while fielding questions from journalists shortly after inspecting Kaduna Airport ahead of flights diversion from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, said the international community has been sensitised to endure the temporary arrangement.“We are persuading them that this is a good temporary arrangement,” he said.