//Reaction: Godwin Ekosin, Kaduna//
As a result of the invasion and killings of scores of people at a Christian dominated Godogodo Chiefdom, Jema’a local government area of Kaduna State, Northwest Nigeria by suspected armed herdsmen earlier in the week, the affected people said they have been abandoned by both the federal and state government and may be forced to resolve to self defense if urgent measures are not put in place to stop the killings.
Statement signed by President of Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), Barrister Solomon Musa in Kaduna on Monday lamented that, it appeared that Southern Kaduna does not deserve the attention, sympathy or intervention of government.
The statement read in part, “Godogodo communities once again came under very fierce, terrifying, brutal, savage and barbarous attack by Fulani herdsmen without provocation of any nature from Saturday 15th October, 2016 to Sunday afternoon. This is despite the frantic calls for help from the beleaguered villagers to those constitutionally saddled with the task of safeguarding their citizens.
“The barbarians wreaked maximum havoc and destruction by killing uncountable number of our people. So far, the locals have been able to identify not less than 40 corpses aside from the several other corpses burnt beyond recognition. Virtually all houses have been burnt in Godogodo. Property worth hundreds of millions destroyed while crops have been grazed by cattle and the rest destroyed by the invaders. Yet, governments at the Federal and State levels appear quiet and noncommittal. We have been abandoned, deserted and neglected.
“SOKAPU is also curious that the attacks on villages in Godogodo started since May 2016 but has been left to linger despite the Government’s explanation that it spends N200 million monthly on security in the state.
“From the previous attacks on Sanga Local Government to the current attacks on Godogodo towns which haven’t shown any sign of diminishing, lend credence to the fact that cattle rustling receives more attention from the monthly N200 million supposedly spends on security in Kaduna State than on marauding armed herdsmen in Southern Kaduna.
”It will appear that we have been abandoned, deserted and neglected. We do not deserve the intervention or sympathy of the Federal or State Governments. Security personnel are posted to the main highways only; from April to date, it does not appear to be any form of intelligence gathering, any form of surveillance, any form of proactive measures to forestall future occurrences; any form of intervention by government.
“From April to date, neither NEMA nor SEMA has seen it fit to rehabilitate, resettle or to bring any kind of relief materials to the victims of the attacks in the area. No relief materials, no IDP camps; no protection for our villages. What have we done to deserve this? Is it because of who we are? Why have we been abandoned, deserted and neglected? Will this have happened if it is elsewhere? Are we part of Kaduna State? Are we part of Nigeria? If we are not, we then deserve our state and our nation. We can stand on our own.
“More nauseating is the added fact that in villages like Ninte, Akwa, Ungwan Anjo, and Antang – where the people had been sacked from their villages, the armed herdsmen have permanently taken over the villages and boldly grazing their herds on the farms of the villagers. With thousands of people that have been displaced, the current attacks can only add to that number if the State Government does not muster up the will to urgently address the ongoing genocide in our zone.
“If we have not been abandoned, then the government should tell us whether they are ready, willing and capable to defend us; or not ready, not willing or not capable of defending us. They should tell us so that we will know the measures to take”, it added.
SOKAPU however demanded the immediate arrest and prosecution of all the terrorists, establishment of permanent security formations in the area and intensify its intelligence gathering mechanism include aerial surveillance of those attack-prone villages as a proactive measures.