President Muhammadu Buhari was yesterday advised to exhibit respect for the sanctity of life and speak up on the countless attacks and killings across the country, especially in southern Kaduna.
The Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, said the wanton killings believed to have been masterminded by Fulani herdsmen was not like every other issue that the president was not expected to comment on.
In a statement by its leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, Afenifere therefore demanded that Buhari speak to the people of Southern Kaduna with comforting words as their President on the mindless horrors that have been visited on them.
The group urged the president to set up an inquiry into the killings to identify the remote and immediate causes, identify the perpetrators and also compel Governor Nasir El-Rufai to disclose all the killers he has interfaced with and compensated so that they can be brought to trial.
Afenifere which asked Mr. President to instruct security agencies accused of taking sides in the conflicts to perform their duties fairly, also sought government compensation for the victims of these barbaric attacks.
The statement read in parts: “It grieves us that the Federal Government has been quiet on these killings, relying on the governor of the state who has openly confessed that he looked out for the killers to compensate them because they are of the same ethnic stock with him.
“A state of emergency ought to have been declared in Kaduna as the governor, by that claim, can no longer be trusted to perform his constitutional duty of protecting the lives and property of all citizens.”
Afenifere described as embarrassing a statement credited to the spokesman of the President, Mr. Femi Adesina that Buhari had been quiet on the killings because he could not speak on every issue.
“How can the killings of citizens in hundreds be ‘every issue’? Has our President not sent messages to other countries where tragedies of lesser proportion occurred?
“When Mr. President was to visit Bauchi a few days ago and couldn’t make the trip because of bad weather, did he not speak directly to the people in Hausa language?
“The disappointment the people of Bauchi experienced over cancellation of a visit cannot be compared in any way to the sorrows, pains and anguish of the people of Southern Kaduna.”
Afenifere’s reaction was based on the report by the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan in Kaduna, which disclosed that a total of 808 people were killed in 53 villages across the four local governments in the crisis-ridden states.
Giving statistics of the killings and destruction in a statement in Kafanchan, the church leaders said 57 people were injured while farm produce estimated at N5.5 billion were also destroyed.
The statement disclosed further that a total of 1,422 houses and 16 churches were burnt during the attacks which spread across Kaura, Sanga, Jama’a and Kauru councils where there had been persistent attacks on communities by gunmen believed to be Fulani herdsmen.
Also, the Bishop of Kaduna Diocese of Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev Timothy Yahaya yesterday urged Buhari to declare a national day of mourning over the killing of innocent citizens while fielding questions from journalists shortly after the New Year service at the Saint Michael Cathedral Church, Kaduna. “Killings in Nigeria is almost handled with levity, death in a nation attracts national mourning. The President must see to his constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and properties of the citizens,” the cleric said.