by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Ex-Chief of Army Staff, retired General Martin Luther Agwai, Elder statesman and retired General Zamani Lekwot and other Christian clerics were part of ‘Protest and White Sunday Prayers’ on Southern Kaduna attacks and killings, as well as the devastation of some communities in the southern part of Kaduna State.
The grand finale of the prayers and protest sessions by Southern Kaduna indigenes, which was held at ECWA Goodnews Church, ended late Sunday evening and attracted hundreds of community leaders, residents of Kaduna metropolis and other sympathizers, calling on the government to end the bloody crises.
Both retired Generals Agwai and Lekwot, who were part of the final prayers and protest sessions, wore the same white clothes and attires with several other personalities carrying placards, condemned the lukewarm attitude of government in addressing the violence in Southern Kaduna, despite the deployment of ‘special forces’ of armed soldiers to the areas of conflict.
Although, Agwai and Lekwot could not speak further on the unfortunate incident in the troubled zone after the protest, when journalists contacted them for interview, the however participated actively in the protests prayers, which commenced, from 2pm to 430pm on Sunday.
Guest Speaker at the event, who led Southern Kaduna Christian Clergies, Apostle Emmanuel Kure, in an address condemned the attacks and killings by armed Fulani herdsmen, and wondered how, despite the presence of armed soldiers deployed by the Federal Government, the bloody crises in the communities remained unabated.
He warned that the present situation, if not arrested, may lead to a revolution when people would be forced to come out and defend themselves against the armed ‘herdsmen.’
“I want the federal government and all leaders to look at this problem in the eye and face the reality. I want to warn now also, that, Southern Kaduna is waiting for an explosion that would bring people out in a mass protest.
“For the first time in my life, I want to tell the Fulanis that you have gotten your vengeance; leave the Southern Kaduna people alone. They are already pained.”
He said that even though, the Fulanis were victims of their illiterate leaders, “The Fulanis don’t have leaders. If they have, the leaders should have done something about this problem.
“I want to challenge the Fulani leaders to find solution to this problem. Let them meet with their literate leaders and not the illiterate ones…I think the old negotiation under the colonial era has become archaic. We have to make them understand that all Nigerians and ethnic groups have a right in Nigeria as a nation to leave.”
Kure argued that the problem in Southern Kaduna has gone beyond negotiation, pointing out that “we hold peace meeting without inviting those people, whose relations were killed.”
Besides, Kure, who is also the General Overseer of Throne Room Trust Ministry, Kafanchan, lamented that “It is unfortunate that those in government, who are engaging on peace talk in Kaduna, are doing so for pecuniary motives. They are presently doing all the talks because they have interest.
“They have reward after organising such peace talks, either because the government will remember them tomorrow – there is no way that kind of person will not be bias,” he stated.
Kure further stressed the reasons why the crises in Southern Kaduna must be resolved, saying, “You know, I am a priest, and some of the people are coming to me and asking me that I buy them arms.
“They’re calling on their pastors to take part of their offerings and buy arms for them to defend themselves. Can you see the level of despair? People are no longer afraid!
“Do you know how I feel inside? I wake up in the morning crying. Pastors are burying pastors, even in my house. This thing has to stop even, if President Muhammadu Buhari has to come down to Southern Kaduna; even, if he has to leave Aso Rock for three nights and come and sleep in Southern Kaduna and assure everyone that, the killings will stop,” Kure stated.
Another personality also at the prayer and protest sessions was the former Minister of Environment, Laurentia Mallam.