Governor of Kaduna State, Nasiru El-Rufai, says part of reasons the killings in Southern Kaduna has continued is because those involved have neither been punished nor prosecuted in the last 35 years.
The federal government says 204 people have been killed in the area since the latest wave of violence between Fulani herdsmen and indigenous people of the area began last year. Some groups say the death toll is far higher.
Mr. El-Rufai, who has been criticised for his handling of the crisis, said on Tuesday he was not a religious fanatic and he was not responsible for the violence.
Addressing a six-member Senate Adhoc Committee delegation, Mr. El Rufai said his government will punish culprits this time.
“I am the governor of Kaduna state if you break the law you will be punished,” he said. “The entire Kaduna city has been divided and there is need to regain the confidence and mixed together.”
“I am not an ethnic jingoist or a religious bigot so those who alleged that I am sponsoring Southern Kaduna crisis are just mischievous, no governor wants crisis in his state.”
He said his government has so far committed about N4 billion naira in funding security agencies in the state.
The Senate committee, led by Kabiru Gaya, was in the state to assess the situation.
Mr. Gaya, chairman Senate Adhoc Committee on Southern Kaduna Crisis and Other Parts of the Country, accused politicians of using the crisis for political gain.
He said the committee was set up to investigate the causes of the frequent attacks.
“Part of the mission of the Adhoc committee are to interact , discuss with government , stakeholders , community leaders, security agencies and other relevant bodies that will contribute to bringing lasting peace,” he said.