…Kidnappers demand N30m for Pastor, 7 other abductees.
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
About 67 Adara, who are natives of Kajuru local government area of southern part of Kaduna State, have been reportedly kidnapped by suspected armed Fulani militia.
Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) disclosed this in a statement on Friday and expressed dismay why Kaduna State Government refused to include the 67 in its daily Security Update up till now.
The statement, issued and signed by the Union’s spokesman, Mr Luka Binniyat, and made available to journalists Friday evening, stated that 67 Adara villagers were abducted from Libere Gari Village, Kallah ward, Kajuru LGA in southern part of Kaduna State last Tuesday night.
He said, “For reasons not clear to SOKAPU, Kaduna State Government did not include in its Daily Security Update, the abduction of 67 Adara villagers from Libere Gari Village, Kallah ward, Kajuru LGA in southern part of Kaduna State last Tuesday night by persons identified by the villagers as armed Fulani militia.
“The gunmen, who arrived at the village around 11pm, went about shooting in the air to scare the villagers as they captured their victims from compound-to-compound. They spent two hours unchallenged.
“One of the most affected is the Village Head of Libere, Mr Bala Yero. His wives and children, numbering 16, were among the kidnapped. They are made up of 9 women and 6 males, mostly children.
“However, 10 of the kidnapped persons were able to escape the following day. No person was killed and no property was destroyed in the Libere Gari crime. There are now 48 females, including small girls and 17 males under the criminal custody of the kidnappers.
“The kidnappers are yet to make contact with family members at the time of writing this press statement,” he stated.
He also disclosed that, gunmen attacked Ungwan Mission, Kasuwan Magani, Kajuru LGA, in the early morning of Friday, around 2am, and kidnapped 8 persons, among them a Pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
He said the criminals have made contact with some of the family members and are asking for N30 million before their release.
“Last Wednesday, two nurses – Afiniki Bako and Grace Nkut – at Idon Rural Hospital in the same Kajuru LGA were kidnapped, not far from a military checkpoint.
“It could be recalled that a private university, Greenfield University, in Chikun LGA, also part of Southern Kaduna, located about 30km from Kaduna Town on the Kaduna–Abuja expressway, was invaded and at least 17 students, mostly girls were kidnapped. The kidnappers are asking for N800m as ransom.
“Meanwhile, 29 students of Federal School of Forestry, Afaka, Kaduna, have now spent over 40 days in captivity in the hands of their kidnappers, who are asking for N500m cash as in exchange for their freedom.
“These are just a small part of the daily kidnapping, murder and arson going on in Kaduna State, especially in the Kajuru and Chikun part of Southern Kaduna.
“Kaduna State Government’s competence in battling the crime seems to be in its daily reportage of the evil, which is on the rise, with each passing day. The double standard of Governor Nasir el-Rufai does not seem to help matters at all. It was el-Rufai, who in 2016 came up on National Television and defended why he traced killer herdsmen, who were carrying out genocide in Southern Kaduna.
“He followed them to their various countries and ‘compensated’ them with the understanding that they would not return to the same crime. He even said he was ready to pay any group planning to kill any Kaduna State indigene, if that would make it stop the crime.
“Today, without recanting his earlier, unfortunate stand, he is on the forefront of the annihilation of bandits. While SOKAPU does not support that those, who are involved in this violence, should be spared, a governor must be seen as being proactive in protecting his citizens rather than making utterances that will make the organised criminals dare him by inflicting more harm on helpless citizens.
“Today, there are over 100 communities in Southern Kaduna overran and taken over by armed Fulani militia. He has not done anything to claim them back to the owners. In fact, with the hundreds of people killed in Southern Kaduna since 2015 and scores of villages destroyed, el-Rufai himself has confirmed that he has not visited a single attacked Southern Kaduna community.
“We believe that there is an agenda to capture more territories and plant a new Fulani population ahead of the 2023 general elections, and we believe that Kaduna State Government, under Nasir el-Rufai, is culpable for his inaction and lack of interest in our wellbeing.
“SOKAPU believes that with the millions of Naira deducted from the monthly allocation of affected LGAs in the name of security, if channelled to train and empower our youths as discipline vigilante groups, they can assist the police and the military in curtailing this evil, which has reached a genocidal proportion. But that won’t happen. And Kaduna is creating more and more ungoverned spaces,” the statement added..
It also lamented that, “Friday makes 24 days of incarceration of 15 Atyap leaders from Atyap Chiefdom in Zangon Kataf LGA in Southern Kaduna in the hands of the Kaduna State Police Command Headquarters without bail or arraignment before a court of law.
“The police alleged that the Atyap leaders, among them 85 years old Waje Laah, killed 706 Fulani cows and 75 rams in a single day in Atyap Chiefdom and buried them in a ditch.
“Meanwhile, not less than 100 Atyap natives have been killed and about 24 Atyap villages burnt and hundreds of hectares of farmland bearing growing food crops destroyed by Fulani cows since July 2020. Not a single Fulani leader has been called for questioning.
“We are calling on volunteers, legal experts, relevant Civil Society Organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations, the international community, men and women of conscience to help us secure their release and ask for damages accrued to them, as these villagers are too poor and ignorant to pursue justice for themselves,” it stated.