With every bloodbath in Southern Kaduna, life becomes cheaper. Grilling and smelly, streets are now occupied by vacuum. Chaos is the order of people’s minds. Life is low-priced. Politics has consumed humanity. Religion is the biggest victim. Dead bodies cry foul of their untidiness. There is deafening silence from saviours. Very loud silence, the commander-in-chief doesn’t have to speak all the time, not even when dead bodies are competing for space to rest in peace. It is sad. It is dangerous and sounds like fart. Irritating!
According to unofficial estimates, the December 2016 attack in Southern Kaduna put death toll at 808, with 1,422 houses, 16 Churches, 19 shops, and one primary school destroyed. But the Nigerian Police has another numbers, though not released.
Southern Kaduna doesn’t need another fact finding committee. There have been committees in the past, there are have been recommendations, there have been no actions. Another committee is sinful and doesn’t speak right to sense. There was a Mrs. Hansine Donli committee set up by the state government post Kafanchan crisis in 1987. In parallel, there was another Justice A.G. Karibi-Whyte tribunal set up by the Federal Government for the same crisis where 19 people were killed.
In February 1992, there was an outbreak of ethnoreligious rioting that had far reaching fatal consequences than the Kafanchan crisis. In Zango, a town in the Zangon Katab Local Government Area of Kaduna State, according to official estimates, 95 persons (mostly Hausa) dead, 252 others injured and 133 houses and 26 farmlands destroyed, all due to the relocation of a weekly market. Years after, it would seem that the market relocation issue had merely provided a convenient opportunity for the outpourings of Kataf resentment of Hausa-Fulani domination of cultural, political and economic life in Zangon Katab. In response, there was a Justice Rahila Cudjoe Commission of Inquiry that barely concluded its findings in May 1992 when another crisis engulfed Southern Kaduna. According to official estimates, 471 persons were officially confirmed killed in the May disturbances, with 250 and 188 of these deaths occurring in Kaduna city and Zangon Katab respectively. According to police sources, 518 persons were injured and 229 houses and 218 vehicles were destroyed in the same riots.
So there have been committees in the past and that is why it is a sheer waste of human beings to set up another committee. People have been killed aimlessly, even recently when there was a subsisting curfew which gave rise to an outcry that attackers have state sponsors. More like, the country is used to generating dead bodies than electricity!
To think that Kaduna State government is setting up another committee for the recent attack is genocidal! To think that the Police is setting up a committee and engaging in media war against CAN is the heights on unprofessionalism. To think that Federal actors are helpless is just too lowly!
But it seems state actors are scared of confronting the orgy head of the ethno-religious crisis. They did beg some vengeful herdsmen with some ‘settlement’ to placate them, even though that was done out of desperation for peace to reign. But sorry, we are in deep shit!
Southern Kaduna crisis predates the present administration in the state, so the state actors have an excuse. But they don’t have excuse for their seeming passivity, killer silence and poor crisis management strategy! This is fatal than a nuclear bomb!
There is a war of resentment in Southern Kaduna and it is of the mind. And that is the difficult truth that actors must come to terms with. Actors need more soft counter war than hard counter war.
Southern Kaduna is on its knees, it is in need of a comforter, someone who is truly bipartisan. These things are not difficult but they are made difficult because of politics. Someone somewhere has a stake in crisis, fueling it to make gains!
Someone needs to jump from street to street, from church to church, from mosque to mosque, from monastery to monastery, from school to school, speaking to minds and preaching the gospel of peace. Someone just needs to be a comforter-in-chief and rally leaders in Southern Kaduna to the same table and have series of dialogue. There and there, misconceptions would be thrown up and smashed! There and there, arguments would be put forward and there would be ‘gives’ and ‘takes’.
So when governments fight on the ground to protect territorial integrity, they should also fight to protect the integrity of people’s mind.
This piece was originally published on Huffington Post