Sunday Aborisade and Godwin Isenyo, Kaduna
The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, on Sunday, appealed to the people of the state not to politicise the killings in Kajuru Local Government Area, where he alleged that 66 people were murdered on Friday.
The governor, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Samuel Aruwan, however, vowed that he would stop at nothing at ensuring that the perpetrators of the crime were brought to book.
Aruwan said the governor stated this after he visited the scenes of the incidents, adding that El-Rufai was accompanied on the visit by security chiefs in the state.
The statement read, “The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has visited the scenes of the Kajuru killings. The governor was accompanied on the trip by Maj. Gen. Faruk Yahaya, GOC 1 Division of the Nigerian Army; Air Cmdr. I. Sani of the Nigerian Air Force; Police Commissioner, Ahmad Abdurrahman and the state Director of the DSS, A.I. Koya; while the chairman of Kajuru Local Government Area, Cafra Caino, also joined the governor on the visit.
“The Kaduna State Government notes the concerted and apparently coordinated efforts by bigoted busybodies to deny the Kajuru killings, or to minimise the casualty figures, and the specious arguments being deployed in this despicable quest. The Kaduna State Government condemns in the strongest terms attempts to politicise the killings.
“Only irresponsible and insensitive people can recklessly dismiss the deaths of members of a community with whom they have no contact.
“Private individuals and unelected actors cannot be allowed to reduce weighty matters of state security to the province of their limited networks, inexperienced lenses and narrow agendas.
“The government of a state cannot be detained by parochial, ethno-religious, partisan or electoral calculations from doing its duty to provide security, confirm incidents of security breaches, take steps to reassure affected communities and ensure that perpetrators are arrested and brought to justice.”
However, the Adara Development Association, an umbrella body of the natives in Kajuru, gave its own version of what really transpired in the area.
In a statement titled, “Adara Incident: The facts behind the deliberate lies,” signed by the Assistant Secretary of the association, Mr Luke Waziri, on Sunday, said Kajuru people were shocked by the governor’s outburst over the incident when everything seemed to have settled down.
He accused the governor of deliberately churning out lies over the matter.
The statement read, “In view of the unfortunate incidents that we are faced with in Adara land and the deliberate lies being manufactured against us as a people by the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El- Rufai, we deem it necessary to state the facts and correct the official and deliberate lies.
“It has also become necessary to highlight the high-handedness and mischievous manner that the governor of Kaduna State has been deploying against us as a people.
“Not satisfied with a deliberate attempt to balkanise our traditional institution and culture, the governor is currently trying to instigate a crisis in our area.
“On Friday, February 15, 2019, on the eve of what would have been our national elections, we watched with shock the governor granting an interview and disclosing that 66 people were killed in Kajuru, Kaduna State.
“The governor went ahead to list the number of villages that were attacked but deliberately excluded Ungwan Barde where our people were killed. He also gave the gender statistics of those allegedly killed and the tribe of the victims but again mischievously left out the 11 Adara people who were killed.
“He insinuated that the incident happened on the eve of the election. But the truth is that the incident took place between Sunday, February 10 and Tuesday, February 12, 2019 in Ungwar Barde in Kufana District, where 11 innocent Adara people were earlier killed without any provocation.
“The district head of Kufana wrote an official report to the police about the incident. The member representing Kajuru in the Kaduna State House of Assembly also informed the government about the incident.
“Even the chairman of the LGA, Cafra Caino, was also aware of the incident. But to our greatest surprise, the chairman did not take steps to set the records straight when lies were being spread against the people he leads.
“We were shocked when on Friday the governor issued a statement about the killings days after the dust had settled and the people themselves were working to understand the incident in order to find measures to address it.”
Also on Sunday, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union urged the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the Director of the Department of State Services to carry out an independent investigation into the claims by El-Rufai, that 66 Fulani were killed by gunmen last weekend.
The group, in a statement by its National Spokesperson, Yakubu Kuzamani, said the senior security chiefs should also disclose to the whole world, the truth of what actually happened in Kajuru Local Government Area.
I didn’t call El-Rufai a liar, says NEMA coordinator
Meanwhile, the North-West Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Authority, Ishaya Chonoko, has explained that he did not refer to the governor, as a liar in the interview he granted Sunday Punch.
Chonoco said, “My attention is drawn to the publication in the Punch Newspaper of today where it was alleged that I, as NEMA North-West Zonal Coordinator faulted the Governor of Kaduna State on his statement about the killings in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state.
“I want to use this opportunity to categorically deny that I ever said that the governor lied over the killings in the local government area. I am fully aware of the limit of my responsibilities, therefore I could not have deliberately contradicted information from the governor who is the chief security officer of the state.”