Elders of the Southsouth, Southwest, Southeast and Middle Belt represented by the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and Middle Belt Forum (MBF), yesterday, rose in defence of the Southern Kaduna natives, warning the Federal Government against the genocide allegedly perpetrated by the armed Fulani herdsmen in the Southern part of Kaduna State.
The recent attacks and killings in Zangon Kataf, according to locals, claimed 33 lives, the Police in the State however said 21 people dead.
The socio-cultural groups sent delegations to the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) leadership, who led them to visit Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps, where they gave relief materials to the victims of the attacks and killings by herdsmen.
Leaders of the group were at the camp to declare their support for people of Southern Kaduna, who have been attacked and killed in their various communities by the Fulani herdsmen, saying that “what affect anybody in Southern Kaduna affects us all”.
The group announced a collective donation of N2m to the Internally Displaced Persons through the President of the Middle Belt Forum, at the Goni-gora IDPs camp, where some relief materials were also handed over to them (IDPs).
National Chairman of PANDEF, Air Commodore Idengesit Nkanga (rtd), who was the first to speak at the IDPs camp, said the groups were in the state to identify with the long-suffering people of Southern Kaduna.
Nkanga said: “The overall leader of the PANDEF, Chief Edwin Clark has asked that we come along with the delegation of the Southern and Middle Belt Forum to identify with you all at this time, to encourage that the season will never remain like this. “He (Clark) said we should encourage you that even if you don’t see us from afar, it doesn’t mean that you are not on our minds.
“We are here principally to assure you that those of us on the other side of the Niger – the Southsouth people are with you in spirit, soul and flesh.”
The National President of the Ohaneze Ndigbo, Dr. Onyia Nwodo, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to save the country from an imminent collapse following the spate of insecurity in the country.
Nwodo, who was represented on the occasion by the President of the Ohanaeze group in Kaduna, Chief Ben Churchill-Aniekwena, also drew the attention of the law enforcement agencies to the senseless killings in the area.
On his part, the spokesman of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin while tackling the Presidency for being the mouthpiece of the attackers, said the delegation were in the state, to commiserate with the natives who had been under “genocide.”
According to him, for the authorities to say that the attackers were out for revenge, means the government knows the attackers.
He said it was shameful that security forces looked the other ways while genocide were being committed on the Southern Kaduna people and
“the people are being told that the killing was a revenge.”
“Who are these people and who spoke for them and who did they complain to? Whoever said that type of thing, knows where the attackers are coming from.
“Our position is that for the Southsouth, Southwest, Southeast and the Middle Belt, whatever attacks one, attack all. So, the attacks against southern Kaduna, is an attack against all of us,” the Afenifere spokesman said.
Also speaking at event, President of the Middle Belt Forum, Dr. Pogu Bitrus renewed the call for the restructuring of the country where power would not be too concentrated with the Federal Government.
The National President of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, Hon. Jonathan Asake while expressing his appreciation on the solidarity of the group, said the visit marked a genuine concern for humanity.
Asake noted with regrets that instead of the authorities to tackle the genocide on his people (southern Kaduna), the governments (federal and state) were explaining the reasons behind the killings.