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Wednesday, November 22, 2017.

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Nigerian News » Terrorism

Southern Kaduna: A Plea For Peace

While the sectarian violence in Southern Kaduna which has pitched one group against another and has led to the death and displacement of thousands of people is very unfortunate, we cannot but reiterate our earlier conviction that it is essentially a product of the collapse of the political consensus that has for decades held this nation together. However, it is gratifying that the northern traditional rulers and political leaders would meet, as they did last week, in the bid to finding solution to the crisis.

Against the background that there are usually challenges in the process of integrating members of any society into a cohesive social whole, what confronts us in Nigeria today is also not particularly peculiar. But we need honest leadership to be able to confront our demons. On the current situation in Southern Kaduna, we must appeal to our religious leaders to rise above themselves by preaching peace rather than hate. As we have also noted several times on this page, reprisal attacks do not resolve any violence, they only exacerbate the spiral of blood-letting. Rather than allow the merchants of terror to further polarise and set us against ourselves, we need to see through and reject their murderous antics.

Last week, the Sultan of Sokoto led top traditional rulers across the 19 states to meet with governors in the region over the continuing violence in Southern Kaduna. In his remark, Governor of Borno State and chair of the Northern Governors Forum, Alhaji Kashim Shettima spoke to the defining issues in the region. “Our core challenges in the North today revolve around intolerance, absence of peaceful coexistence, poverty, illiteracy and lack of unity,” he said while expressing confidence that the meeting was more than able to provide solutions to those problems. Other colleagues also echoed his words but the challenge is in walking all the talk now that the meeting is over.

The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has disclosed that no fewer than 20,000 people have lost their lives in the Southern Kaduna crises since 1980. Yet, according to him, nobody has been held accountable for the tragedy that has become a perennial affair. That indeed is very telling against the background that both the federal and the state governments have, at different times, established judicial commissions and administrative panels of enquiry to investigate the crises.

So the pertinent questions remain: What are the findings and recommendations of those committees? What actions have been taken on the reports? The fact that people die and Nigerians move on unperturbed is fast depicting us as a people who place little premium on human lives. When this becomes a way of life, those who kill would want to recreate the scenes more often almost like any addict who goes on the high by reliving his addiction. That today is the tragedy of Southern Kaduna as it is with other theatres of violence that dot our national landscape.

While we exhort Nigerians not to give in to inciting statements that are on the increase, we also call on the federal government to show more seriousness in confronting this dangerous national security threat. The people of Southern Kaduna should be protected so they can feel secure enough to continue with their normal lives. It is trite to say that it is the duty of government at all levels to create the enabling environment that would give the citizenry a true sense of belonging and faith in the assertion that this country belongs to all of its peoples, irrespective of ethnic origin or religion. However, the greater challenge lies with the Nigerian people who must understand that our diversity is our strength.
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