Congress of Northern Nigerian Christians (CNNC) has warned that anarchy looms if President Muhammadu Buhari fails to curb the crisis in Southern Kaduna.
Daily Times gathered at a world press conference in Jos, where the National Youth President of CNNC, Engr. Daniel Kadzai, said there are over 40 million Northern Nigerian Christian youths who could be mobilised to take up arms to defend themselves if the federal government continue to pay lip service to the wanton killings which have continued unabated in Christian-dominated areas of Northern Nigeria and the country at large.
Kadzai said unlike the steps taken by the Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, to visit Boko Haram victims, President Muhammadu Buhari has not deemed it fit to visit the people of southern Kaduna since the alleged massacre of its people began 5 years ago.
He cited section 305 of the 1999 Constitution which provides for the imposition of a state of emergency in the country or any part of it. “The section empowers the president to issue the declaration by way of an official gazette,”
Kadzai said. “We will not hesitate to mobilise Christian youths in the country to defend their brethren against bandits, if urgent actions were not taken to end the genocide in the predominantly Christian southern Kaduna.
“The Federal Government and Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna have the emergency task of ending the killing of Christians in Kaduna or the Christian youths will mobilise to defend themselves.”
Christian youths constitute over a quarter of the country’s population, he claimed, saying it would be dangerous to allow them to embark on self-defence.
“El-Rufai’s comment on the issue is a pointer that the government is deliberately playing politics with the lives of Christians in the state.
“The killings in Jos during former Governor Joshua Dariye, where a state of emergency was declared by then President Olusegun Obasanjo, was child’s play to the level of killings going on in southern Kaduna. So, if not politics, the governor has proved that he is incompetent and the president is supposed to do the necessary thing by declaring a state of emergency in Kaduna,” the CNNC youth president said.
But Kaduna State Governor Nasiru El-Rufai said the his government spent about N16 billion on security in the last five years. El-Rufai, who made the disclosure at a meeting with the Council of Emirs and Chiefs, on Tuesday in Kaduna, explained that the money was used to support security agencies and acquire technology and infrastructure to fight insecurity in the state. The governor noted that the money would have gone into developmental projects if the people had chosen to live in peace.
He therefore, called on all the traditional rulers to help persuade people to choose to live peacefully, and address misleading narratives on current communal conflicts in part of the state. He alleged that part of the narrative on the current crisis in Southern Kaduna was what he dismissed as false claims of genocide and land grabbing.
“As governor, I authorize any traditional ruler to please tell the media about any inch of land within their domain that has been forcibly grabbed or illegally occupied by anybody or group and I assure you that security agencies will be there the next day to flush them out.
“But as far as I know – and I receive security reports every morning, there is no such incidence that the state government is aware of. But we don’t know everything, you know more than us because you are closer to the communities, so please report where indigenous people have been displaced by bandits or anyone else.”
El-Rufai assured that the government will continue to support security agencies to restore calm in the affected communities.
“To make this sustainable, we call on the traditional institution to collaborate with the security agencies to expose and report criminals in their communities.”
He assured the Council that the government would review and upgrade the chieftaincy system, to protect the traditional leaders from administrative and executive arbitrariness.
The governor added that a new law would be enacted to protect the traditional institution and ensure that, before any emirate or chiefdom is created, “it will pass through the State Assembly where the representative of the people will have the opportunity to vote and support it before it is done.”
“The reform will also seek to amend the traditional institution as an enabler of inclusion in the diverse communities.
“It will place the Chiefs and Emirs in charge of geographic areas not tribes or ethnic groups, making them the leaders of everyone that lives within their domain.
“It is our intention in this law, to specify the functions of traditional leaders and provide for situations under which traditional rulers can be deposed not just because the governor wants to depose the person he doesn’t like”.
On his part, the Chairman of the Council and Emir of Zazzau, Dr Shehu Idris, appreciated the government for its support of traditional institutions in the state. He also commended the government’s efforts in the fight against banditry and other forms of criminalities, especially in taming the recent killings in some areas in southern Kaduna. The Emir said that the meeting was to update the traditional rulers on the security issues bedeviling the state as well as responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Buhari has challenged the nation’s security agencies to rejig their strategies in the ongoing battle against insurgency, banditry and other violent crimes in some parts of the country. He spoke barely a week after the convoy of Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum was attacked. National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President, retired Maj-Gen. Babagana Mongonu, revealed this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the National Security Council meeting, presided over by Buhari in Abuja, on Wednesday.
He said: “Mr President has also directed that we must rejig our strategy that is both in terms of operation and intelligence we must rejig our strategy to prevent further catastrophe.
“We must bear in mind that we owe a duty to the people that elected his government, our government and at the end of the day without securing the nation all other things cannot be addressed such as revamping the economy and also fighting corruption.’’
According to the NSA, his office presented a memo to the Security Council on the danger of drug abuse in the society as well as the need to urgently address the problem He revealed that between 2011 and 2019, approximately 17 manufacturing laboratories of dangerous substances were located by the various security agencies and destroyed while an increasing activities of illegal cultivators of `Cannabis’ were also recorded.
He said criminals had resulted to the use of illegal substances and dangerous drugs like Tramadol to unleash violence on innocent citizens in the society.
“I presented two memos. The first had to do with drug trafficking as well as drug addiction in Nigeria, and the widespread use of these substances and the dangerous impact on our social, economic situation.
“Basically, what I told the council was that this has taken on a worrisome dimension. Nigeria’s perception on the drug trafficking index has changed from the status of a transit hub to a production centre.
“Between 2011 and 2019, approximately 17 manufacturing laboratories of dangerous substances were located by the various security agencies and destroyed. That is a large number.
“At the same time we have had increasing activities of illegal cultivators of Cannabis in Nigeria. These people basically use extremely large areas of arable land to cultivate this illegal substance, employing militia men to protect their farms and also their storage facilities.
“When you look at drugs, our main concern as security operatives is the ultimate destruction to the social fabric and economy of the nation. There is hardly any violence crime today in Nigeria that is not propelled by the use of these hard substances. And these hard substances have been coming in from all nooks and crannies,’’ he said.
Monguno believed that the reckless use of these dangerous substances had a direct link to the insecurity being experienced across the country.
He, therefore, stressed the need for a collective, concerted effort to deal with the menace of dangerous drugs in circulation to safeguard the country from the bottomless pit of self-destruction.
The NSA boss disclosed that he later updated the Council on the security situation in the northwest and the north central, “in terms of looking at the issue of kidnapping, banditry and killing of innocent people.’’
“The Chief of Defence Staff, army chief, inspector general of Police, heads of the various intelligence agencies also gave synopsis of each of the current security situation and what their various organizations and agencies are doing about these situations,’’ he added.
By Kingsley Chukwuka, Jos