Kaduna State government says 1,837 citizens of the state have been killed in the last 18 months due to banditry, terrorism, communal clashes, violent attacks and reprisals.
The state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan made the revelation in a remark at the public presentation of a Peace Reports on Inter – Religious Harmony.
The project is titled, ‘Southern Kaduna Pilot Peace Project on Inter – Religious Harmony, Kaduna State.
The government noted that 1,192 persons were killed in 2021 alone while 645 persons had been killed between January and June 2022.
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It admitted that besides the rural banditry confronting most states in the Northwest, another layer to the general insecurity is violence stemming from a lack of recourse to the law in some mixed communities.
“Grievances and mutual distrust in these areas are fed into the intermittent attacks by armed bandits, leading to reprisals, and cycles of ethno-religious or political violence” the government stressed.
“Clashes between farming communities and herder communities also add a critical dimension to insecurity, as they can trigger conflict directly, or spiral into the involvement of armed criminals.
“The Kaduna State Government is acutely aware of the devastating impact that conflict and violence have had on communities.
“In the first six months of 2022, 645 people lost their lives in such circumstances across the State; 234 of these occurred in the Southern Kaduna area.
“Besides the loss of life and limb, there are the grim socio-economic effects of violence, eroding the viability of affected communities. Food insecurity is a close reality in frontline areas where farmers are threatened and attacked by bandits.
“The situation also presents a persistent threat to education; students and teachers have been attacked in several incidents over the last 18 months.
“Healthcare delivery has been affected, as health workers and facilities in frontline locations face the threat of marauding bandits.”
All of these portend the near-total collapse of the local economy in frontline areas, which is mainly sustained by crop and livestock farming. Residents have been dispossessed of their foremost means of sustenance. Vibrant weekly markets have been disrupted.
Amidst all of these, the Kaduna State Government has remained unrelenting in its initiatives for peace and participatory security management, through the Kaduna State Peace Commission. Relative stability is now enjoyed in many usually turbulent communities in the Southern Kaduna area.
It has been very pleasing to hear of the recent peace accord instituted between the Fulani and Irigwe groups in Bassa local government area of Plateau State. These are two groups that populate the stretch between Kauru LGA in Kaduna State and Bassa LGA of Plateau State, with the frequency and intensity of clashes bringing real concern over the last few years.
Following this encouraging development on the Plateau State end of things, the Kaduna State Government will follow through with a similar accord involving the groups in Kauru local government area, to ensure an all-encompassing peace in the general area between the states.
I wish to reiterate our appeal for the establishment of a Theater Command in the Northwest, similar to what obtains in the Northeast, so that the banditry and terrorism permeating the Northwestern states and some Northcentral states will receive more dedicated action, added to existing kinetic and non-kinetic efforts.
Furthermore, we appeal for an extension of the operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force to cover international borders spanning the Northwest and Northcentral parts of the Country, from their existing operations in the international borders around the Northeast sector. Setting up the Theater Command to cover the Northwest and Northcentral and the extension of the Multinational Joint Task Force Operations to these zones, will go a long way in enhancing existing efforts, and also help in curtailing the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
I conclude with the Kaduna State Government’s commitment to the promotion of peace and building of bridges between our erstwhile opposed groups. Along with our close collaboration with security agencies, and improved intelligence gathering, we will continue to nurture the spirit of hope and cooperation among all our residents. Through meaningful dialogue and positive action, we will continue to propel our State towards the vision of total safety, peace and security for our residents.