The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, on Saturday visited communities in Kajuru Local Government Area where at least 66 people were reportedly killed recently.
The governor was accompanied by security chiefs in the state.
Details of the visit were captured in a statement by Samuel Aruwan, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the governor.
On the trip with the governor were Faruk Yahaya, a major general and commander of the army’s 1 Division; I. Sani, an air commodore of the Nigerian Air Force; the Kaduna police commissioner Ahmad Abdurrahman; and State Director of the State Security Service, A.I. Koya.
The chairman of Kajuru Local Government Area, Cafra Caino, also joined the governor on the visit, the statement notes.
“The governor warned against reprisals and urged communities to shun violence and respect the right of everyone to live in peace.
“Gen. Yahaya briefed the governor on the recovery of 66 corpses by soldiers in the Maro and Iri axis of Kajuru local government. The general conducted the governor around the scenes of the crime which were littered with the burnt wrecks of buildings and dead animals.
“Police Commissioner Ahmad Abdurrahman confirmed that some arrests had been made in connection with the incident and that the suspects will be charged to court as soon as investigations are completed.
“Before visiting the scene of the killings, the governor, accompanied by the security chiefs, stopped in Kasuwan Magani for a meeting with village heads and community leaders from Kajuru LGA,” the statement reads.
Many Nigerians have criticised the Kaduna State Government since announcing the killings on Friday.
While some people believe that the state government is not the proper body to announce such incident, others question the government on why it delayed the announcement until Friday evening since the killings started late last Sunday.
Some people have also argued that such mass killings did not actually happen. While appearing on a Channels TV programme on Saturday, a former head of the National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, said he could not confirm the killings took place after contacting several sources in the area.
He said the report of the killings may have been part of the design by senior politicians in the country to create scenarios that could be used as a reason for the postponement of the elections.
The Kaduna government’s Sunday statement dismissed these claims while promising that perpetrators of violence would be brought to book.
“The Kaduna State Government notes the concerted and apparently coordinated efforts by bigoted busy bodies to deny the Kajuru killings, or to minimise the casualty figures, and the specious arguments being deployed in this despicable quest. The Kaduna State Government condemns in the strongest terms attempts to politicise the killings.
“Only irresponsible and insensitive people can recklessly dismiss the deaths of members of a community with whom they have no contact. Private individuals and unelected actors cannot be allowed to reduce weighty matters of state security to the province of their limited networks, inexperienced lenses and narrow agendas.
“The government of a state cannot be detained by parochial, ethno-religious, partisan or electoral calculations from doing its duty to provide security, confirm incidents of security breaches, take steps to reassure affected communities and ensure that perpetrators are arrested and brought to justice.”