Former military head of state, General Abubakar Abdulsalami (rtd); the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III; the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Dr.Matthew Hassan Kukah; and other members of the National Peace Committee yesterday launched a fresh initiative to restore peace to Southern Kaduna.
Hundreds of lives have been lost in repeated attacks on villages in the area by people suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, heightening tension in the state.
The delegation met with Governor Nasir El-Rufai on the issue.
General Abdulsalami told reporters at the end of the meeting with the governor that peace could only return, if the people were ready to dialogue and forgive one another.
He said he and other delegates would go round the affected villages and towns for more consultations with the chiefs and community leaders.
“Within the week, we are going to meet with other stakeholders, religious leaders, chiefs in the area and also visit the sites where these problems are and discuss with the people,” he said.
“We will later sit down and see what we think should be done.
“Then, we come back to the governor and if necessary to the federal government.
“These clashes and killings are not limited to Kaduna State; it is something that is engulfing the country. So we want to make sure that peace reigns in Nigeria, to make sure that people know that we are together. We have to live in peace with each other and we have what it is to give and take.
“We are reaching a situation in the country where human life doesn’t mean anything to people and this is wrong.
“There is no religion on earth or anywhere that preaches violence. So this is why we are here today. We thank the governor and his team for receiving us. One of the points that the governor drew our attention to is the way people take the law into their hands and they go scot-free. And this impunity must be checked. These are some of the issues we discussed.
“Everybody is aggrieved in one way or the other, so what we beg of people is to be patient; try as much as possible to forgive and to be each other’s keeper. We must live together; we must find solutions to the problems; we must sit down and talk to ourselves because there is no problem that cannot be solved when you are talking to each other.”
Bishop Kukah also said: “I think the visit is more of a solidarity with the people of Kaduna State. We are here to hear for ourselves what exactly is happening and what we can do in the hope that we can find a way forward based on the situation.
“We are part of the delegation. I convened the peace committee and what we are doing now is trying to bring about peace. We are looking at how we can achieve peace and stability.
“I think what the people of Kaduna State, including the government, should be doing now is to look into how we can achieve peace and development and I think that is the reason we have democracy.
“So whatever contributions anybody can make, we need to make them. People have expressed their minds.
“What is going on now is a very sad phase in our history, but I believe that we can get over it and we will get over it and come out stronger and committed to peace”, he said.
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