by Juliana K. Tauna, Kaduna
The Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union, SOKAPU, has endorsed all peaceful, fair and sustainable means of restoring normalcy to their troubled motherland and urged their members to do same for development of the zone.
In their position as indigenous inhabitants of Southern Kaduna, SOKAPU also assured the Commander of Operation Safe Haven of their desire to see the end of the violence that has plagued the region for almost a decade.
The group made the assurance in a statement when they met with the Commander of Operation Safe Haven, Maj-Gen Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, and some top members of his command in Jos.
The visit, according to the statement, was based on an invitation he extended to the group, as he had earlier met with leaders of Hausa and Fulani communities in Southern Kaduna.
It added that the group took time to brief the General on the nature of the violence in Southern Kaduna and assured him of the desire to see the end of the violence.
“We told him that, contrary to ongoing narratives, ‘Southern Kaduna’ is not the same as ‘Kaduna South Senatorial Zone.’ While the latter is made up of only eight LGAs in the enclave, Southern Kaduna is made up of 12 LGAs and holds 51.2% of the population of Kaduna state, based on the 2006 census population figures.
“And that, out of 46,000sqkm, Southern Kaduna covers 26,000sqkm and has 57 registered ethnic nationalities with us, out of the 67 identified ones.
“On the nature of the violence, we debunked the ongoing narratives that ‘the crisis has a long history.’ We told him that, past crises were largely urban-based, and looked unplanned, but triggered by identified reasons and, that, it could take years before reoccurrence,” it added.
The statement further explained that, the previous violence was always between Muslims and Christians of any state of origin within affected areas. But, the current one looks preplanned, daily, with our rural communities as the targets of mass slaughter, destruction, and ejection by the invaders, who eventually take over some of the communities.
“SOKAPU assured the OPSH commander that, with no other alternative place or land to fall back to, Southern Kaduna indigenes are much more desirous of peace than any other party.
“We also used the opportunity to thank him for the recent fast response rate of his troops to distress calls from communities under attack or the threat of attacks, unlike in the past.
“We also noted his humanitarian assistance to all parties in Southern Kaduna as exceptional,” it noted.
Responding, according to statement, the Commander promised to be a “neutral party” in the crisis and assured of his desire to see that peace and safety return to Southern Kaduna as the violence was bearing its brunt on the image of the country and posed an avoidable stress to his troops and resources.