It may be a sign of a new dawn for the Southern Kaduna people with the appointment of one of their own as the new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), in the person of Major General Christopher Musa.
The age-long killings in Southern Kaduna which have claimed thousands of lives, defiling every reasonable effort targeted at ending the needless bloodshed....CONTINUE READING
The people are not just being killed, but are raped, physically and psychologically tortured, abducted, massacred, executed, mobbed, rendered homeless, and neglected by the government they voted in to protect and give them a sense of belonging, security and safety.
The city of Kaduna, the capital of Kaduna State, is one of the largest in Northern Nigeria and is viewed by some as the symbolic capital of the north.
While Northern Nigeria is predominantly Muslim, Kaduna has a significant population of Christians, from around 30 ethnic groups based mostly in the southern part of the state, sometimes referred to as the South Kaduna minority tribes.
Close to half the population of Kaduna may be made up of Christians. The majority of the population in the northern part of Kaduna State are Muslims from the Hausa/Fulani ethnic groups.
According to reports a total of 518 people have been killed in six years while 18 villages have been razed in Southern Kaduna
The people of Southern Kaduna, under the aegis of Atyap Community Development Association (ACDA), have expressed deep worry over the persistent attacks and killings in Atyapland in the Zangon Kataff Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
They also faulted the security report presented by the onetime sector commander of Operation Safe Haven in the area.
While speaking at a briefing in Samaru Kataf, after a peaceful protest, the President of ACDA, Samuel Achi, said the persistent attacks on his people led to the death of many kinsmen and women, while even children were not spared by the suspected killer herdsmen....CONTINUE READING
He said: “It is with regret that we are addressing Nigerians and the international community at large, on the persistent and recurring attacks and killings in some communities of Atyapland in Zangon Kataf Local Government of Kaduna State by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen, who have enjoyed decades of peaceful coexistence with our communities but have now set out on a mission to displace these communities and take over our lands.
“It is regrettable to state for the records that defenceless communities in Atyapland have been suffering selective killings since 2017, before the sustained attacks by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen in 2020.
”Recently, Atyapland has dominated the headlines for the wrong reasons, following renewed attacks in Ungwan Wakili, Lagson, Atakjei and Runji, where 70 people have been killed, including a five-year-old boy, who was beheaded.
”At the last count, 20 villages have been ransacked, 18 villages burnt down, while 518 people have been killed, with thousands of victims who have taken refuge across many communities from 2017 till date.
“The military personnel drafted to provide security in the area are not helping matters. Instead of performing their primary assignment of securing the lives and property of the communities, they are selective by taking sides with the suspected herdsmen.
”This is evident in the 2023 first quarter security report presented to the Kaduna State government by the Sector Commander, Operation Safe Haven in Southern Kaduna, Brigadier General Timothy Opurum, on the recent killings in Atyap land.
“In his doctored submission, the sector commander gave an unbalanced, lopsided report and was very economical with facts which prompted the governor to note with concern the continued failure of the traditional and community leaders in Zangon Kataf chiefdom to prevent the mayhem and resort to self-help by recalcitrant youths.
“For the avoidance of doubt and to put things in proper perspectives, we hereby straighten the records on some of the issues he raised.
”The Sector Commander, Brig Gen. Opurum, deliberately failed, neglected and refused to highlight the contributions of the traditional council in Atyap land towards maintaining peace in the chiefdom, which facts are known to him and other security agencies in the area.
“His appointment is a very serious plus for us, he won’t say he doesn’t know the terrain,” a Catholic priest in southern Kaduna tells The Africa Report, echoing the renewed optimism felt by most of the
”The report didn’t convey the positive role played so far by the traditional council and other community leaders in checkmating the conflicts.”
“These contributions include visiting all homes of victims of attacks and killings in Atyap land, sponsoring conferences, workshops on peaceful co-existence for Atyap, Hausa and Fulani youth, women and security operatives in Atyap land with the Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, international and national peace advocates like Dr Salim Musa, Barr. Pricilla Ankut to mention but a few, is in full attendance.
”Others include co-operation with Kaduna State Peace Commission on several peace advocacy missions to Atyap, Hausa and Fulani youth and women groups in Atyap land, ensuring the permanent removal of all roadblocks by youth in Atyap land; the setting up and funding of the Atyap Chiefdom Peace, Security and Partnership Committee made up of Atyap, Hausa and Fulani youth and women; provision of logistic and human support to operatives of Operation Safe Havens, Police and State Security Service etc.
“In fact, the governor of Kaduna State had on many occasions commended the Agwatyap for these bold and practical actions towards maintaining peace in Atyap land. We were taken aback when we heard his comment after the sector commander’s report.
“Brig. Gen. Opurum deliberately refused to see and state the known facts that the influx of many dangerous lawless suspected Fulani terrorists into Zangon Kataf Urban Hausa settlement and their attendant criminal activities in the last three years is responsible for the brutal attacks on mostly innocent and defenceless women and children in Atyap villages.
“It is a known fact among security agencies in our Atyap land that most attacks on our villages and people are planned and coordinated by these suspected Fulani terrorists in Zangon Kataf Urban Hausa settlement.”
The good thing is that the new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Christopher Musa is from Zangon Kataf and he has just taken over as defence chief, a few days ago and has vowed to defeat terrorists, bandits, and other criminalities.
In his address when he took over he said, “Nobody should doubt our determination to bring peace to Nigeria, and anybody, especially the criminals, bandits, terrorists who think otherwise, should be ready to face the music.”
Musa reiterated the determination of the military to go after terrorists, bandits and other criminals in full force.
The CDS, a Major General, made the vow when he took over the command of the Armed Forces of Nigeria from the erstwhile defence chief, Lucky Irabor.
He said the military under his command would go all out to ensure that Nigeria is secured.
“As the CDS, my promise to Nigeria is that we’ll continue to improve on our mandate of sustaining peace and tranquility in our country.
“I’ll assure every Nigerian to feel safe that the armed forces are up and doing and are highly professional and will be there for them.
“Nobody should doubt our determination to bring peace to Nigeria, and anybody, especially the criminals, bandits, terrorists who thinks otherwise, should be ready to face the music.
“The Nigerian armed forces will come out in full force while safeguarding the safety and security of the citizenry,” he said
Musa, who was appointed penultimate Monday by President Bola Tinubu, also promised to prioritise the welfare of personnel to enable the military to get the best from them, saying that a soldier that is well fed, well taken care of would give his best.
Irabor during the handover commended Musa, saying that he handed over to a tested and trusted officer who, by all standards is a model for the armed forces.
“I appreciate the President for finding Maj.-Gen. Musa very suitable to take over the reins of the armed forces.
“I ask that you redouble your efforts so that the cherished values and professional standard be maintained.”
Irabor added that quite a lot has been achieved and he was confident that the armed forces were in the right mood to achieve set targets.
“Looking at the mood of the armed forces they will help you and your team of service chiefs to ensure that the professional standard of the armed forces is retained,” Irabor said.
There is this saying that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Can the emergence of Musa as the Chief of Defence Staff bring the killings of Southern Kaduna people to an end?
His appointment as the new Chief of Defense Staff certainly sparked jubilation in villages in Southern Kaduna. Again, can Christopher Musa crush the bandits and militia who kill and kidnap in his home region?
The CDS home town in Southern Kaduna, an area that continues to experience violent attacks by armed bandits and herdsmen need urgent attention as the people have had bitter experiences in the hands of bandits and herdsmen who have made life meaningless for them for many years. Although he was born in Sokoto, Musa’s parents hail from Zangon Kataf.
Musa grew up and pursued his early education in Sokoto. At 19, he began his military training at the Nigerian Defence Academy. Five years later, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Infantry Corps of the Nigerian Army, as part of the 38th Regular Course.....CONTINUE READING