The recent directive by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to broadcast stations not to report the details of attacks by bandits and insurgents has been described by Kaduna indigenes under the platform of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) as a “ploy to downplay killings in various communities.”
Jonathan Asake, the president of the union, stated at a news conference on Thursday in Kaduna that immediate actions are needed to end the orgy of deaths and devastation of communities.
He described some of the recent events as follows:
“Armed Fulani militia sneaked into Kibori village in the wee hours of July 8, 2021, where they slaughtered a widow, her three children and grandchild.”
“On July 11, 2021, the assailants attacked Badawa village in Gora ward, killing four Amawa residents and razing nearly the whole community.
The family house of HRH Agwatyap Dominic Yahaya, the paramount monarch of the Atyap people, was assaulted in Magamiya, and dozens were slain, just as they burnt down a Catholic church in the hamlet.
“The attackers then proceeded to Matyei, where they plundered food and household items before torching around 150 houses, including another Catholic church. Seven automobiles and 15 motorbikes were also destroyed in the fire.
The savage assailants went on to Maj. Gen. Shekari Billiyock (rtd), a former ECOMOG field commander, and destroyed his residence in Abuyab village.
Men in army camouflage traveling in Hilux trucks painted in military colors were observed accompanying the attackers as they used sophisticated weaponry to destroy several homes.”
Asake accused the government of a “conspiracy of silence” and a “deliberate attempt to minimize the gravity of the crimes and genocides perpetrated on the people of southern Kaduna.”
“This plot against our people may have led to the government issuing a decree through the National Broadcast Commission (NBC) prohibiting broadcast media reporting on terror acts and bandit and kidnapping activities,” he continued.
No surprise the government has minimized the magnitude of the murders and devastation, as well as the humanitarian catastrophe that these assaults have imposed on our people, in order to cover the terrible facts of continuous genocidal attacks across our communities.”
He chastised Ahmad Gumi, a well-known Islamic preacher, and Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna, for their contentious assertion that bandits are not criminals and simply seek ransom from their victims.
“We are sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that the government has the capability to confront these daring bandits who have made living in our neighborhoods miserable.
“If the government could lure the Benue militant, Terwase Akwaza, AKA Gana, out of his hideout in September 2021, and later killed him; if they could trace Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to Kenya and blindfold him to Nigeria in June 2021; if they could trace Sunday Igboho to Cotonou and arrest him just a few days ago; and if they could smoke out the commander of Eastern Security Network (ESN), Ikonso, and later killed him in April 2021, then, it clearly shows that government has enough capacity to deal with the situation.
“It is strange to explain how the government is unwilling to tackle banditry and kidnappings in the north, but at the same time hasty in deploying full intelligence and military force against Southern and Middle Belt activists that are engaged in one form of agitation, criminality or otherwise.
“Even after these bandits shot down an air force jet on the border between Zamafa and Kaduna states last Sunday, July 19, putting our country’s sovereignty in jeopardy, the government has taken insufficient steps to address the dangers posed by banditry and insurgency, which have now acquired anti-aircraft launchers and sophisticated weapons.”