By Longtong Ibrahim
Kaduna (Nigeria) — The Council of Imams and Ulama, Kaduna state, has called on the Nigerian government to arrest and prosecute the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Samson Olasopu Ayokunle; the Senator representing southern Kaduna senatorial district, Danjuma Laah; and Dr. John Danfulani, an activist in the state for making inflammatory statements that instigated the crisis in southern parts of Kaduna state, North-west Nigeria.
Others include President of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), Barrister Solomon Musa; CAN General Secretary, Rev. Musa Asake; Member representing Zongon Kataf/Jaba Federal constituency, Sunday Marshall Katung; and Chairman of the 19 Fellowship – District Church Council (DCC), Rev. Zachariah Gado.
Chairman of the Council, Shiek Usman Abubakkar Babateni while briefing newsmen in Kaduna accused them of making reckless utterances, which has deprived the state of peace for over a year, leading to the killings and destruction of properties worth millions of Naira.
According to him, “The state has not been in peace in the last one year from activities of mischief makers and reckless utterances of southern Kaduna political and religious leaders.”
He added that, their insinuative statements – urging their people to take arms to defend themselves has made the situation in the area to degenerate into the senseless and merciless massacre of hundredth of Hausa/Fulani Muslims.
The statements the council quoted included that of the CAN president who spoke in Abuja on November 24th, 2016 – “102 Christians were killed, 50,000 houses burnt while another 215 injured since May 2015 by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Kaduna state.
“On December 4th, 2016, Mr. Danjuma La’ah, the Senator representing Southern Kaduna senatorial zone appealed to his people and said; – ‘ Henceforth defend themselves, their lives and property against such attacks’ but contradicted himself by adding that, ‘they should not take laws into their hands”.
“On Tuesday, October 18th, 2016, Barrister Sunday Mashall Katung, a member representing Zangon Kataf/Jaba Federal constituency said in a statement – ‘the people of southern Kaduna might be left with no option than to resort to self help should the federal government failed to act fast.”
“On Thursday November 17th, 2016, the Chairman of the 19 Fellowship District Church Council (DCC), Rev. Zachariah Gado in a press statement on the creation of grazing reserves called on the state governments to restore all occupied areas to their rightful owners saying, ‘failure to do so would not only encourage further lawlessness but could compel the owners of the villages to resort to forceful means to recover their ancestral lands.
“On Monday, December 26th, 2016, the southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) an indivisible part of the Christian Association of Nigeria issued a very inflammatory press statement making a wild allegation against the Muslim as well as accusing the Kaduna state governor of complicity in the crises.”
According to the Chairman, the forgoing statements worsen the security situation in the area, noting that in spite of the efforts of relevant stakeholders to restore peace in the troubled areas, Dr. John Danfulani in an interview with the Authentic news magazine said, “the only solution to southern Kaduna crisis is bearing of arms by everybody.”
The body also faulted previous governments for not punishing the perpetrators of past crisis, saying, that failure has led to all subsequent crisis in the state; citing example amongst others of the Justice Okadigbo’s tribunal of 1992 on Zangon Kataf crisis that found General Zamani Lekwot (rtd) and five others guilty and sentenced them to death but was not executed.
While praying for the peace and economic prosperity of the state and country at large, the body however commended the Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-Rufai and members of the security agencies for not responding to the provocation and molestation of some people in the area.