Gideon Morik former LG chairman in Kaduna, has recounted how his daughter and some others were killed by hersdmen on Christman eve.
Speaking with a Punch correspondent, he said he saw how his 14-year old daughter was killed.
Can you share your experience concerning the Southern Kaduna killings?
Three villages were razed down by marauding herdsmen. After attacks on those villages, the surviving people, who are our kith and kin, had to move to my own area, Goska. Interestingly, the herdsmen followed these people to Goska to attack us. On December 24, 2016, at about 5pm which was Christmas Eve, the herdsmen struck as we were preparing for the Yuletide celebration. Our village was surrounded by these Fulani herdsmen. They were all armed with AK-47 rifles. There is a Fulani settlement near our village called Angoma, about 2km away from Goska. They came from there to attack our village. The attack went on for two hours with dozens of buildings set ablaze. I witnessed six people being killed by the herdsmen. Where I hid, I watched the herdsmen kill people; a woman was killed with her two-month-old baby. I also watched as the Fulani herdsmen killed my 14-year-old daughter. I felt helpless. I couldn’t do anything. I was in shock. I also witnessed a 10-year-old boy being shot dead.There was no security agency to save us from these marauders. It took thepolice three hours to arrive. Unfortunately, before they arrived, the damage had been done. Most of the inhabitants of the villages have fled to neighbouring towns to seek shelter. I still wonder how the attack was carried out since there was a curfew when they struck. They had a field day destroying lives and property. No proper security arrangement was in place. On the eve of my daughter’s burial, another area in the local government was attacked. For more than a month now, no arrest has been made. Right now on our farms are Fulani herdsmen moving freely with AK-47 rifles. We cannot go to our farms to harvest crops; that’ll be a suicidal attempt. We have informed the police about the situation; no action has been taken. Even before the attacks, we got a letter that these herdsmen were coming for us; we wrote to the police about it but nothing was done. My six-bedroomed flat was razed down and my mother’s house too was razed down. All the vehicles parked in the garage were burnt.
It was reported that the government said the attackers were foreigners. What do you make of that?
It is a funny statement. Let us assume that they are foreigners; don’t we have immigration? The statement of Governor Nasir el-Rufai is a direct indictment on the Federal Government and the Kaduna State Government. The government has a responsibility to deport foreigners who have chosen not to be law-abiding. The government claimed to have paid these Fulani herdsmen to stop attacking our people. Apparently, the government knows these people; because if you don’t know them, how did they pay them? Even after the payment, we were still attacked by the herdsmen and there was no arrest. It is a curious situation we are in. We do not understand what they are after. Who should be compensated: the victims or the attackers? What is happening is like paying an armed robber not to rob people again. What kind of arrangement is that? One thing is certain, the governor has told the whole world that he knows the attackers because if he didn’t know them he couldn’t have paid them. We have not received any relief materials from the government.
Do you think the attacks have anything to do with religion?
Most of the areas attacked are areas that are predominantly Christian. Why is it that the areas occupied by Muslims are not being attacked? Anytime there is an attack, the Christians are the ones being attacked. They say they (the attackers) are foreigners but who harbours them? Is it that the grand patron of these Fulani herdsmen and a Fulani man who is in charge of this state (Kaduna) cannot rein in these people or what? Are they not supposed to be fair to all manner of people under them as contained in the Oath of Office they took? What we have seen so far is favouritism and a lopsided security arrangement. We don’t know if there is a particular agenda they want to achieve.
What’s the way forward?
Our chiefs are meeting with the concerned authorities to ensure peace and order in the area. Any moment from now, rain will begin to fall in Kaduna State. We want to go back to our village to farm. We have written to the President (Muhammadu Buhari) and the state government but we have not received any response. We don’t want to jump the gun. We will wait to see what the government will do. We hope the government will take action. If eventually the government does not do anything, as they say in my area, the ‘land will speak for itself.’
Thanks for reading, hope to see you again.