Jos – As the Kaduna State government intensifies efforts to end the violence in Kaduna South, Mr Godfrey Gaiya, a former law maker, has advised Gov. Nasir El-Rufai to “talk less, and consult more”.
“The violence in Kaduna South Senatorial District is unfortunate; in his search for solutions, the governor should widen his consultations and talk less; all stakeholders should be involved in the search for peace,” Gaiya told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Jos on Sunday.
NAN reports that the Kaduna State Government has imposed a 24-hour curfew on three Local Governments – Jema’a, Kaura and Zango-Kataf , in its efforts to restore law and order.
On Dec. 19, youths, who claimed to be protesting against government’s alleged non-challance to the killings, attacked the governor after a security meeting in Kafanchan, pelting vehicles in his convoy with stones, bottles and sticks.
Governor El-Rufai has traced the attacks to the post-election violence of 2011, and has also accused politicians of being behind the latest spate of violence, particularly the protests by youths in Kafanchan.
The governor, during a media chat in Kaduna, on Dec. 21, also disclosed that government had already discovered plans to recruit militants to attack the area.
But Gaiya, who represented Zango-Kataf/Jaba federal constituenccy in the House of Representaive from 2007 to 2015, told NAN that the governor must avoid “flat assumptions” and reach out more, so as to widen the process toward restoring peace to the crises-ridden area.
“The governor has said that the violence has its roots in the post-election violence of 2011; he also says that politicians are organising the violence for unspecified political gains, and has further alleged that militants are being recruited.
“As the governor, El-Rufai has lots of information at his dispossal, but hurling accusations and voicing pre-conceived conclusions could discourage people with ideas, from contributing to the peace efforts.
“What is required is practical actions that will entail engaging everyone so as to end the violence once and for all.”
“Government should involve members of the National and State House of Assemblies, especially the senator, traditional rulers and religious leaders, in the negotiations.
“The governor should table his findings and concerns with these groups and seek a way forward; all hands must be on deck because it is such collaboration that could give effect to the efforts,” Gaiya said.
He also cautioned some of the the governor’s aides against worsening the violence “ through careless words and reckless utterances that could alienate a large segment of the population and breed distrust, hatred and mutual suspicion”.
Gaiya regretted that farmers in the area had not been able to harvest their crops because of fear of attacks on their farms, while many had not been able to travel for Christmas because of the 24-hour curfew .
“ The entire area appears to be under siege; government must be able to intervene, restore normalcy and secure lives because that is the first responsibility of the state to the citizens,” he counseled.
He also observed that the violence had affected the economy, friendship and general enterprise, and urged the presidency to step in so as to halt the persistent midnight attacks.
Gaiya, however, lauded government’s plans to cite two army barracks in the area to provide a ready force that could always intervene in an event of any attack.
“ In 2010, some elders met with then President Goodluck Jonathan and secured an approval for the citing of an army barrack in the area which has not been actualised, but I am happy that the idea is being rescusitated,” he said.
The former law maker expressed surprise that no one had been apprehended over the attacks.
“The attacks have continued unabated because no one has ever been arrested and prosectuted to deter others from committing similar crimes. I am sure that the trend will reduce if one or two attackers are apprehended and dealt with,” he said.