Tension may be rising in the Christian-dominated southern part of Kaduna State, Nigeria. No less a personality than a catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Alexander Thomas Yayock, of Kafanchan Diocese, has issued a statement advising against a repeat of the Zango Kataf crisis of 1992.
‘WE CAN NO LONGER ACCEPT THESE’
A press statement by the Director, Catholic Social Forum, Kafanchan Diocese, Kaduna State
It is no longer news that Southern Kaduna, a predominantly Christian area of Kaduna State, has become the theatre of insecurity – kidnappings almost on a daily basis, killings and raping of women by alleged Fulani men — the result of which is the untold hardship that has visited our people in no small quantum and has also affected the religious and socio-economic life of the people.
Recently, a former national president of the Catholic Women Organization of Nigeria (CWO) – an illustrious daughter of this area, Mrs L.L. Mallam — was, along with her husband, kidnapped, while hundreds, if not thousands, are leaving their homelands especially in Sanga and Jema’a local government areas as a result of these tragedies. Our people who have farming as their common means of survival can no longer go to their farms because, as it is now, the fear of the Fulani is the beginning of wisdom.
- Amidst all these abnormalities, the status quo seems normal for the Kaduna State government whose primary responsibility, as it is of any government, is the protection of life and property of her citizens, seems to be sitting on the fence. All we hear today is the effort of the El-Rufai-led government to lure some of our traditional rulers into leasing some of their farmlands for yet another grazing reserve at a time that the Ladugga grazing reserve which is probably the largest in West Africa has become a breeding ground, nursery, brewing factory and the incubator that has continued to hatch all sorts of criminals that are responsible for the misfortune that has come to stay with us. This is really unfortunate and unacceptable.
- This is also coming at a time that the Southern Kaduna Peoples’ Union (SOKAPU), which is probably the only platform that has the locus standi to speak for the people of Southern Kaduna, has taken itself to the court. More worrisome is the fact that our politicians have become so lackadaisical to the extent that they cannot speak for the people they represent. And this is no surprise because Southern Kaduna is one area with so many politicians without a political class or an agenda.
- It is also difficult to understand the rationale behind the fact that these attacks are only prevalent in the southern part of the state and not in the northern part. This raises reasonable suspicion that someone somewhere has a hidden agenda that is for anything except the good of the area.
- May we use this opportunity to also humbly and sincerely call for the cancellation of, especially, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) which came into being in the 1970s with the sole aim of uniting Christians but which has in recent times been turned into a platform of survival and ostentatiousness by some charlatans parading as men of God whose sole aim is to enrich themselves with ill-gotten wealth from politicians with questionable character. Little wonder the recent scramble for leadership of the Association has shamelessly dragged them to the courts. An association that is supposed to unite its followers is now itself a victim of division.
This explains why organized nations like Britain, USA, Israel, etc, have no such associations because, by their very existence, the society is reminded of what divides it.
- We are tired of preaching to our people to remain peaceful and tolerant in the face of these tragic events, even when we know they have the capacity to defend themselves. We do not want a repeat of Zangon Kataf crisis. The government must rise to its responsibility of protecting lives and properties of her citizens as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), or else the people have the right to self-defence.
- Finally, we will still continue to appeal to the good people of Southern Kaduna to remain calm, peaceful, prayerful and vigilant amidst all these tragedies because, despite the laxity of the government, the indifference of the Southern Kaduna politicians and our so-called elders, God is there for us.
Rev. Fr. Alexander Thomas Yayock
Director, Catholic Social Forum