…berates purveyors of falsehood
…insists peace has returned to area
…sues for calm among ethnic groups
An indigenous peace advocacy group, the Southern Kaduna Peace Practitioners (SOKAPEP) forum, has debunked reports of continuous killings in Southern Kaduna, saying nothing could be farther from the truth.
Specifically, SOKAPEP accused the public relations officer of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), one Mr. Luka Binniyat, of spreading what it described as “deliberate falsehood” in the media.
In the said report, Binniyat was quoted to have claimed, among others, that, “Adara natives of Kallah ward,in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Thursday, 29th October, 2020, witnessed another tragedy where Mr Kaduna Garba, 32, father of two children, who left the IDPs camp in Kallah town with his kinsman, Francis Bala, 38, and heading for their native Magunguna village to see the situation of things, among 18 other Adara communities were ambushed.”
But, SOKAPEP has since picked holes in the said claim, insisting that peace had returned to Southern Kaduna, which had witnessed perennial attacks by armed men, with resultant killings and destruction of property.
In a statement signed, Wednesday, by the National coordinator, Rev. Dauda Fadia, the peace advocacy group warned “conflict merchants” against acts that could rupture the peace of the zone.
This was as it called on people of goodwill to support the efforts of Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El’rufai, to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people of Southern Kaduna, and other parts of the state.
“Our attention has been drawn to reports of alleged renewed killings in Southern Kaduna by suspected Fulani militiamen, credited to one Luka Binniyat, who purports to be speaking on behalf of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Assembly
“We hasten to state that the claims made by Binniyat, the National PRO of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), were deliberately concocted, to achieve a premeditated agenda of hate, incitement and confusion”, SOKIPEP”, Fadia said in the statement.
The group said as an indigenous peace advocacy group committed to harmonious co-existence of the various ethnic groups in Kaduna South, it could easily see through the antics of the person of Binniyat and the group he seeks to represent.
The organisation said it was at a loss as to what he stands to benefit with this kind of bare-faced falsehood, which end, is likely to instigate another wave of crisis.
The statement reads: “Our only fear here is that Binniyat and his co-travellers may be crisis merchants, who depend on such tendencies for their survival.
“Or, how else do we describe a man, who engages in such dangerous spread of falsehood, at a time the Federal,state, local Government, military and other sister security agencies were working tooth and nail, to address the security challenges in our beloved Southern Kaduna?
“We make bold to say that, upon reading the wild claims, we immediately undertook assessment visits to the villages he claimed were taken over by militias and we discovered that no inch of our land was so annexed by anybody.
“May we apprise Binniyat and his pay-masters with the fact that, from the beginning of Southern Kaduna, the Fulani tribe had always lived among us, and are still there till tomorrow.
“The co-habitation has been for ages, resulting to inter-tribal marriages, business concerns, as buttressed in the discovery during the tours, that the Fulani and our local tribesmen lived in the same communities in peace and harmony.
“Who, then, are the militias Luka Binniyat is referring to? Is it the Fulani or the locals that leave in those villages? If there were the so-called militias in those villages assessed, would our brothers and sisters be able to access them?”.
While wondering what he stood to benefit from peddling lies and hatred against Governor Nasir El’rufai and the Fulani tribe, the group reiterated its position that peace has since returned to the troubled Southern Kaduna and what every reasonable person and lover of southern Kaduna should do now, is to support the consolidation of the existing peace, to make it lasting.
It, therefore, warned against distortion of facts deliberately geared towards division and stoking of ethnic and other tensions.
The statement continued: “We warn against the continuous attempt to stereotype a particular tribe as terrorists and our own people aa saints? Crime is blind, and criminals exist among all tribes and peoples.
“Until we begin to speak the truth and call a spade a spade, the Almighty God in heaven will be angry with us; our God is a just God, and so will lasting peace remain elusive.
“However, we sympathise with the people of Kajuru, Chikun, Zango Kataf and kachia local government area in southern kaduna, over the recent killing of some members of the communities.
“Nonetheless, we urge them to remain calm and wait for the outcome of the investigation by the authorities, to unravel the suspected criminals behind the wicked act.
“This is because, cases abound where Fulani were accused of killings, only for investigations to reveal otherwise. Hence, the urgent need for circumspection on the part of all well-meaning indigene of Southern Kaduna”.
On the claim of having 50,000 IDPs in Suthern Kaduna, we submit that this figure is not only outrageous and unsubstantiated, but a deliberate attempt to extort people of good will and international communities by Mr Luka and his cohorts.
“SOKIPEP, therefore, calls on all donors to disregard this false hood. For the record, we have less than 3000 genuine IDP’s in the entire Southern Kaduna scattered around all the camps. So, where is this 50,000 Coming from?
“Must we lie to justify our hatred for the State Government and our Fulani brothers? Yet we claimed we are followers of Christ?. We are therefore calling on our people of Southern Kaduna to speak up against this unillustrious son, Mr Luka Binniyat, who has used the SOKAPU platform to insult everyone in the society, including our paramount ruler and elder statemen.
“Mr Binniyat must be reminded that SOKAPU is our collective and respected platform, and not his personal association, hence he cannot use it to be carrying out personal vendetta against the Governor of kaduna state Mallam Nasiru El rufai and other respected stakeholders
“Governor El’rufai has always meant well for the people of Southern Kaduna, safe for people like Binniyat, who have been using some youths to frustrate developmental projects in the community by government.
“Even in the face of this, the Governor has remained unfazed, delivering dividends of democracy to the region”.
It concluded by making the following declarations: “We, the Southern Peace Practitioners Forum ((SOKIPEP), wish to categorically state that, contrary to the lies being bandied about by Mr Binniyat, peace has since returned to Southern Kaduna, against the wishes of some people who benefit from the misfortunes of our people.
“We wish to further debunk the false narrative of continuous attacks’ on Southern Kaduna communities, and to note, however, that the few cases of criminality in the area, are not peculiar to any particular tribe or ethnic origin.
“In one word, we dare to say that there is no empirical evidence to show that some villages in Southern Kaduna have been sacked, neither is there any occupation of communities by a certain militia group.
“No doubt, the pockets of crimes that assail Southern Kaduna, are only a defining characteristics of globalisation, and the attendant challenges”.