by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) has decried foul, following alleged kidnap of five daughters of a Pastor and one other person by suspected gunmen in Kaduna.
A statement signed by SOKAPU spokesman, Mr Luka Binniyat, and made available to newsmen Wednesday stated that armed men invaded Karji suburb of Kaduna, Chikun local government area of the state and kidnapped the five daughters of Pastor Istifanus Tiswan of Christ Embassy Church and one other person, who are their members.
Those allegedly kidnapped on the 7th November, 2020, in the alleged invasion include Faith Tiswan, Godsgift Tiswan, Ruth Tiswan, Damaris Tiswan and Michelle Tiswan, respectively, and Haruna Barde, who had previously escaped violence from his native village and was taking refuge in Karji as an IDP.
Contacted, spokesman of Kaduna State Police Command, Mohammed Jalige, could not respond. SOKAPU statement, however, stressed that the victims were kidnapped from a distance not less than 10km from Government House, Kaduna.
“On the 7th of November, 2020, in brazen impunity, armed men invaded Karji suburb of Kaduna, less than 10km from Government House, Kaduna, and kidnapped 7 persons, five of them the daughters of Pastor Istifanus Tiswan of Christ Embassy Church.
“Till date, the kidnappers are yet to make contacts. Kidnapping of our members, almost on daily basis, has become a source of severe worry for residents living on the fringes of Buyaya, Maraban Rido, Gonin Gora, Karji and Ungwan Juji, all suburbs of Kaduna that fall under Chikun LGA,” SOKAPU stated, while asserting that, “Many have abandoned their homes to take refuge in safer areas.”
SOKAPU also stated that, “On the 6th of October, 2020, 4 Gbagyi men were killed by armed killers. The surviving victims of the attacks and witnesses described the killers as armed Fulani men. The victims were ambushed and killed in Dande Village, which is part of Kasaya Village, in Kunai ward of Chikun LGA.”
According to SOKAPU, those killed are John Musa, 45, married with 9 children; Habila Ibrahim, 42, husband of two wives and father of 9; Maikudi Wasa, 25, single, and Samaila Audu, married to two wives and father of 7 children, while the injured is, David Umaru, 27.
“Meanwhile, the audacity of kidnappers and sundry criminals is on the rise in areas populated by our members, especially in suburbs of Kaduna metropolis, south of River Kaduna,” it added.
The Union stated that, “Meanwhile, natives of Katarma, Chikun ward, in same Chikun LGA are fleeing in droves across Kaduna River and taking refuge with their Gbagyi tribesmen in Sarkin Pawa Town, in neighboring Niger state as a result of fresh assaults over their community.
“These will add to the number of villages that our Gbagyi members have had to abandon and flee for their dear lives after many of them have been destroyed and captured by Fulani militia in the past one year,” it stated.
The Union lamented the ravaging and destruction of good numbers of Ggabyi communities in Kaduna state by Fulani militia and also occupied by the same militias till date.
SOKAPU gave the lists of the affected numbers of local government areas and wards to include Kunai Ward Kudo (Dau), Sunusi Dnakwala, Galu, Aguyita, Galuko, Galiwyi, Atopi, Onkoru, Angwan Badole, Manini, Hayin Damisa, Angwan Nyako, Badimi,
Gnashi, Sarari, Giji, Dnapagbe, Shelbula, Rafin Yashi, Sabongida, Angwan Amos, Hayin Dakachi Manini, Madalla, Abon, Kawuya; all in CHIKUN LGA (2019-2020).
Others are, Gayamm Ward in Birnin Gwari LGA bordering Kunai in Chikun LGA; Rumanan Gbagyi, Rumanan Hausa, Malamo, Labi, Hayin Kozo, Muya, Shuwaka, Polwaya, Kaguru, Kasko, Nasarawa Kaguru, Dabbara Kaguru. Number of displaced and occupied communities = 45.
According to SOKAPU, “This numbers are out of existing total of 100 communities spread in three LGAs of Southern Kaduna.”
SOKAPU appreciated the effort of Operation Safe Haven under the Command of Maj-Gen Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, who stationed enough of his men in Zangan District, in Atakad Chiefdom, Kaura LGA, to make it possible for displaced Atakad IDPs to return to their 9 abandoned communities, saying the action has reduced the numbers of their occupied territories from 109 to 101, if Katarma Village is added.
“We also acknowledge the ongoing efforts of Kaduna State Peace Commission for initiating what look like genuine dialogue among the returnee natives and their long-time Fulani settlers.
“The estimated IDPs from our affected communities are 50,000, and most of them live under sub-human conditions in IDP camps or squatting in squalor among poor communities safe enough to accept them in Southern Kaduna.
“Yet, under this unspeakable atrocity against a large area of Kaduna state, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state has never visited any of the ravaged villages, some less than 30km from Government House Kaduna.
“It would seem that, as far as both Kaduna state and the federal governments are concern, these citizens don’t exist and, if they do, they don’t matter.
“It was, therefore, with shock and bewilderment that we read the visits of our governor, His Excellency, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, to far away Lagos last week, while touring some of the damaged property during the #EndSARS demonstration, which was violently hijacked by mobsters.
“Our governor said that he was ‘almost moved to tears’ when he saw the scale of the destruction of both private and public property.
“We are surprised that our governor has tears to shed and can show some humanity on someone’s else tragedy, not the more humungous one that bothers on genocide and physical destruction of no less magnitude right in his state.
“The question SOKAPU wants to find out is: Had it been it was the Fulani or Muslims in Kaduna state that are in this calamity and not ethnic persons of mainly Christian faith, would he still display such insensitivity?
“All the same, let it be on record that every square inch of illegally occupied or acquired land of Southern Kaduna MUST be returned to the owners one day by all legal means. Justice shall also come to our people, no matter how long.”