MEMBER of the civil society group the Voice of Northern Christian Movement in Nigeria (VNCMN) have reported Kaduna State’s Governor Nasir El-Rufai to US President Donald Trump accusing him of persecuting Christians within the state.
Over recent years, Kaduna State has been plagued by communal clashes involving heavily armed Muslim Fulani cattle herdsmen attacking Christian farming villages in the south of the state. Within the state capital Kaduna City, the situation is arguably worse as the metropolis is segregated, with Christian and Muslim sectors.
Earlier this year, the situation came to international when attention when armed gunmen stormed the German-built Kajuru Castle in the south of the state, killing a British aid worker during the attack. VNCMN, has alleged that since the emergence of Governor El-Rufai as Kaduna State governor, peace has evaded the erstwhile peaceful Kajuru chiefdom.
In a letter to President Trump titled Ethno-religious Clean-up of Southern Kaduna by Governor Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai, VNCMN executive director, Reverend Kallamu Musa Ali Dikwa, accused the state government of complicity in the attacks. VNCMN then demanded the intervention of President Trump and the international community for a lasting solution to acts of lawlessness and intimidation of the Christian community in Nigeria.
Reverend Dikwa said: “It is very important to state that the Adara Chiefdom in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State has had a good, cordial and peaceful working relationship with the successive administrations of former governor’s Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, Namadi Sambo, Patrick Yakowa and Labaran Yero respectively. However, since the emergence of Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai, peace has evaded the erstwhile peaceful chiefdom.
“By virtue of his divisive poisonous utterances and policies, the people in Adara chiefdom have never been more divided along religious lines. He unilaterally proposed to create a purely Islamic Emirate for the handful of Muslims in Kajuru town over large swaths of ancestral Adara land.
“This coupled with vindictive arrests and detention of any outspoken Adara citizen has shattered any existing cordial relationship in the area. In the light of the foregoing, the chief of Adara, Chief Dr Maiwada Raphael Galadima was invited for a meeting with governor El-Rufai and while on his way returning from the meeting with the governor, he was ambushed and abducted together with his police guard, wife and daughter.
“The wife and daughter were eventually released but the police guard and the chief were murdered and since then, the Adara chiefdom and the entire Kajuru local government area are faced with constant threats, attacks, killings and mayhem. This same governor Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai in public told the entire world that he has given millions of naria to the Fulani terrorists to stop attacking people of Southern Kaduna.
“He saw that the Fulani terrorists cannot complete the work of cleansing the ethno-religious southern Kaduna, Governor Ahmed El-Rufai took over from the Fulani using the power of government on Southern Kaduna people to take over communities for Islam and Fulani ethnic groups abusing the power of government. This scenario raises the question why this unpleasant situation is only focused on Southern Kaduna which is predominately inhabited by Christians.”
VNCMN added that it is clear that the focus of Governor El-Rufai and the federal government is pointing to the Islamic agenda with a view to taking over all Christian settlements, villages, towns, districts, local governments and the entire state to the detriment of the Christians. According to VNCMN, the government has taken Christian tolerance and kindness for granted thus the incessant hostility and ceaseless threats, attacks, kidnappings and mayhem leading to destruction of lives and properties.
Reverend Dikwa added: “The government has backed the Fulani herdsmen’s perpetuation of evil under the guise of cattle rearing as a profession by enacting government policies such as cattle ranch business and grazing reserves to the detriment of the Christian communities. No wonder that the news going round is that they are to disburse over N100bn to Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen ethnic militia as part of amnesty programme.
“These are all smokescreen policies to equip them with lethal weapons to harm the Christians. The Voice of Northern Christian Movement in Nigeria maintains that all security organisations in the country have failed to bring the menace to an end, noting that no single terrorist organization can be more powerful or stronger than the whole armoury of a nation.”