A peace advocacy group, the Southern Kaduna Peace Practitioners (SOKIPEP), has dismissed claims of fresh attacks in Southern Kaduna by suspected Fulani militiamen as misleading and a ploy to incite crisis.
The group which reiterated its commitment to enduring peace and unity in the area, urged the public to disregard reports of continuous attacks in Southern Kaduna.
SOKIPEP insisted that its existence and agenda for peaceful co-existence are well known to the people as well as stakeholders, enjoining the public to “disregard the claim that Southern Kaduna was witnessing ‘continuous attacks’ by suspected militiamen of Fulani descent”.
According to the group, its latest positions followed a press release by the the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), which questioned its authenticity and the existence of its coordinator, Rev. Dauda Fadia.
It noted that in the said statement, the public relations officer for SOKAPU, Mr. Luka Binniya, had cast aspersion on SOKIPEP, challenging the promoters to identify themselves to the public.
The said statement by Binniya read in part, “It has come to the notice of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) of a supposed person, called Rev. Dauda Fadia who claims to be the National Coordinator of a group called Southern Kaduna Peace Practitioners (SOKAPEP)
“This Fadia is on various media platform yesterday and today disparaging a Press Statement signed by myself on behalf of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) in which we revealed the murder of three of our members in three different locations in Southern Kaduna last week.
“We identified them by their real names, ages, location and so forth. We also gave out, like we have done many other times, the names of 100 communities of Southern Kaduna captured and occupied by Fulani militia till date. But this Rev. Dauda Fadia came out to say that we lied.
“It is worthy to note here that our various checks with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State Chapter and direct inquiries from Pastors and Reverends in Southern Kaduna show that there is no such human being existing as “Rev. Dauda Fadia.
He had further stated that, “we again asked various natives of Fadia community at home and outside Fadia about the said ‘Rev. Dauda Fadia’ and they all said such a person does not and has never existed in Fadia. They said he should produce his surname so that his family can be identified. They are angry that a character like that could be created and his nefarious activities linked to their noble home.
”If Rev. Dauda Fadia exists, we challenge him to come out in the open and refute our claims of his being a creation of insidious fiction.
“Again, SOKAPEF, under which this pseudonym hides to carry out a desperate launder of his creators, does not exist anywhere in Southern Kaduna, talk less of having branches in the state and at the National level, in which the fake Fadia is claiming to be its National Coordinator. We again challenge ‘him’ to produce the office address of (SOKAPEP) and the names of other members of his exco”.
But, SOKIPEP in its response, has accused the Union’s spokesperson of trying to divert attention from the false narrative of ‘continuous attacks’ he had propagated, which the former’s investigations had contradicted.
It insisted that the claim of not knowing the existence of the organisation, was a deliberate attempt to save his face, having been exposed for who he is.
SOKIPEP’s positions were contained in a statement by its coordinator, Rev. Dauda Fadia.
“We wish to inform Mr Binniyat that at the appropriate time,we shall be exposing pictures and video of event we attended together with SOKAPU leadership among which Luka Binniyat. We are also challenging him to a TV or radio debate at any venue of his choice and time,” SOKIPEP said.
The statement read in part, “the attention of the Southern Kaduna Peace Practitioners (SOKIPEP), has been drawn to a press release issued in the name and signature of one Mr. Luka Binniya, who is the Public Relations Officer of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), wherein our identity and credibility were called to question.
“The said press release dated Friday, November 6, 2020, had referred to our response disproving SOKAPU’s earlier misleading and inciteful claim of ‘continuous attacks’ on Southern Kaduna communities.
“As an indigenous peace advocacy organisation, we had undertaken an independent investigation of claims of disturbing attacks on locals, by suspected Fulani militiamen.
“Considering the seriousness of the allegation, the source from where it emanated, and its implication on the security of Southern Kaduna, we decided to deploy sufficient time, energy and resources into the project, in a bid to unravel the truth.
“Upon thorough and painstaking investigation, which included one-on-one interaction with villagers supposedly affected by the said invasion, it was discovered that no such incidents occurred, as claimed by Binniya, in his release.”
While calling on members of the public to continue to support peace-building efforts by the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, the military and other stakeholders, SOKIPEP vowed to continue to expose those it described as merchant of conflicts.
It read further: “As critical stakeholders in the ongoing efforts to return peace and stability to Southern Kaduna and its environs, SOKIPEP deemed it appropriate and expedient to convey its findings to the general public, to put a lie to the ugly narrative of continuous attacks’ in Southern Kaduna.
“Rattled and ruffled by our courage to tell the truth, and expose the wicked lies of ongoing attacks, SOKAPU’s spokesperson went on a demolition campaign of defamation, which included, but not limited, to doubting our existence and that of our coordinator, Rev. Dauda Fadia.
“Ordinarily, we would not have dignified Binniya with a response, but for the audacity with which he impugned our integrity, and that of our coordinator.
“SOKIPEP is not surprised at this resort to bare-faced attack on our hard-earned reputation, especially as our findings had exposed the writer for who he truly is – an enemy of peace, bent on stoking ethnic tension.
“We hasten to state – for the umpteenth time – that Binniya and his co-travellers are merchant of crisis, who profit from a state of insecurity and disharmony.
“May we further restate our vow to continually and continuously expose persons and groups – no matter how highly-placed in society – whose interest is anything but peace and harmonious co-existence”.
It also added that”Lastly, we wish to restate the fact of our existence as an indigenous peace building and advocacy group, committed to supporting the military, security agencies, and other key stakeholders working for the stabilisation of Southern Kaduna.
“The public is hereby enjoined to disregard anything to the contrary, as SOKIPEP is well known to Binniya and SOKAPU, even as Rev. Fadia is known to members of Fadia Community, as well as CAN.”