Governor Nasir El-Rufai has alleged “media hype” of the protracted violence that has seen many killed in the southern part of Kaduna State, saying the crisis is not different from those in other states in the North-western zone of Nigeria.
Mr El-Rufai spoke on Monday when leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), led by its president, Samson Ayokunle, paid a visit to the state over the killings.
At a meeting with the delegation at the council chambers of Sir Kashim Ibrahim House in Kaduna, Mr Ayokunle had urged the governor to improve security and end the killings in the area.
“Our coming here is not to point hands at anyone but to ask the government of Kaduna state to do more. It will be enough only when the killings stop,” Mr Ayokunle said.
“We cry against the killings in Kaduna State. These bandits are not spirits, they should be brought to book. If we continue to do repraisal attacks, the problem will not end.”
Reacting, Governor El-Rufai said the crisis was being misinterpreted and hyped in the media.
“We challenge anyone to characterise or differentiate the communal clashes, attacks and killings in parts of Northern and Central Kaduna State, as well as in Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Niger States from those in Southern Kaduna.
“Is it because in all the other cases, the victims are lesser humans or lacking in voice and media hype? What happened to our common humanity?”
The governor denied that the crisis had persisted because some people hijacked land that do not belong to them.
“We have requested and encouraged anybody to present evidence of an inch of land within Kaduna State that has been forcibly or illegally occupied. Were such a clear, physical and actual transgression to occur, it will constitute not only injustice against the community displaced, but a challenge to the authority of the state within its territory that cannot be allowed to stand,” he said.
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He said the state government would keep doing its best to secure the state and its environs.
Powerpoint presentations of the history of the crisis were done by the state Commissioner for Security and Homeland Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, and the Senior Special Adviser to the governor on Media, Muyiwa Adekeye.
In her remarks, the state deputy governor, Hadiza Balarabe, thanked the leadership of the religious body for coming to Kaduna at this critical time.
Also speaking, the speaker of the state House of Assembly, Yusuf Zailani, called on religious leaders to be adherents of peace.
“We should always preach peace to our people. We cannot get peace if we preach the opposite to our people,” Mr Zailani said.
Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES after the event, the senator representing Kaduna central district, Uba Sani, called on the government to also sanction people caught perpetrating crisis in the region and the state.
“The state government is up and doing to make sure these killings stop. The governor is leaving no stone unturned, he has achieved a lot and more will be done,” he said.