Sir Dominic Yahaya, the paramount ruler of the Atyap Chiefdom, Agwatyap, has lamented that 245 locals have been allegedly killed and 623 houses completely burnt down in an attack by Fulani living within his domain, in Zango-Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The monarch stated this on Wednesday, at the Kaduna Catholic Social Centre, during the commemoration of the International Peace Day 2022, organised by the Liturgy and Social Justice, MCSL and SCD in Kaduna.
“The reoccurring attacks have become most distressful and disturbing, as the alleged killers who are known to have lived among the communities will often call their victims to notify them of their mission to kill, before committing dastardly acts on the innocent and harmless farmers,” he said.
“The genesis, which many considered premeditated started in early 2019, when isolated individual killings of farmers by suspected Fulani herdsmen within our midst became rampant and before we knew what was happening about 14 such incidences had occurred.
“This snowballed into a major crisis on the 16th of June 2020. There after massive attacks have occurred in villages whereby people were killed and houses and properties are burnt by suspected Fulani herdsmen, which some uninformed people termed as farmer-herder clashes, whereas this narrative has been most painful as the attacks which occur mostly at night have left many communities desolate.”
He said security agents were grossly inadequate to handle the situation in the villages as the attacks in some cases occurred simultaneously. Adding that it could have been worse if the security agents were not there. He said with nowhere to go, the communities have turned to God.
He explained that failure to adopt and integrate local and traditional hunters and vigilantes who are very conversant with local environments and forest that serve as hideout for terrorists had worsened the situation.
The monarch called for the immediate establishment of local community policing to complement the efforts of the Nigerian Police Force and other security agencies
He also added that the enactment of laws that will recognize the state vigilante’s services, the civilian tax force and the hunters group, should be harmonized as a single entity.
While at the Kaduna State University Auditorium Complex, the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Kaduna State Peace Commission, Dr. Saleh Mamale, while commenting on the International Peace Day, maintained that the socio-economic pursuit of individuals, communities and nations significantly vary over time and space, and the ability or inability to manage these diversities is the major driver of peace or violence.
He said, “Unless diversities are adequately understood and positively exploited, they could easily be manipulated to cause social tensions and violent confrontations as we have repeatedly witnessed in Kaduna State and other parts of the country.”
Mamale expressed joy that in recent years, citizens of Kaduna State are increasingly recognising the importance of cooperation, accommodation and harmonious co-existence leading to higher levels of social harmony.