By Abimbola Ogunnaike
The President of Atyap Community Development Association, Mr. Samuel Achi, has disclosed that 518 people have been gruesomely killed with thousands taking refuge, 20 villages displaced, while 18 villages burnt down from 2017 till date in southern Kaduna, Kaduna State.
Achi made this disclosure on Monday, 1 May, 2023 while addressing a world press conference in Samaru Kataf, Kaduna State
He said the persistent attacks were likened to those of 2019 and were the handwork of some criminal elements in their midst that needed to be apprehended and punished in accordance with the provisions of the criminal law by the security agencies.
The ACDA president said the systematic attacks, killings and burning going on in Atyap allegedly by armed militias with the collaboration of the local Fulani, aided and sheltered by the Hausa community in Zangon Urban, were all aimed at taking over their land which they shall resist with the last drop of their blood.
“We call on our people to exercise their natural, fundamental and constitutional right of self defence against any further unprovoked attacks,” he said, stressing enough is enough. “We also want to make it very clear that henceforth any attack on any of our communities will attract a total no-go area for rearing cows,” Achi vowed.
While lamenting the alleged complicity of the military, he noted that the military drafted to provide security in the area were not helping matters.
Achi alleged that instead of performing their primary assignment of securing all lives and properties of the communities, the military were selective by taking sides with the herdsmen.
“This is evident in the 2023 First Quarter Security Report presented to the Kaduna State Government by the Sector Commander, Operation Safe Haven, in Southern Kaduna, Brigadier General Timothy Opurum, on the recent killings in Atyap land.
“In his doctored submission, the Sector Commander gave an unbalanced, lopsided report and was very economical with facts which prompted the Governor to note with concern the continued failure of the traditional and community leaders in Zangon Kataf Chiefdom to prevent resort to self-help by recalcitrant youths, and I assure you that we will take some actions to send a message in this regard.”
The ACDA president expressed concern over why the Sector Commander deliberately failed, neglected and/or refused to highlight the contributions of the Traditional Council in Atyap land towards maintaining peace in the chiefdom and the influx of many dangerous lawless Fulani terrorists into Zangon Kataf Urban Hausa settlement and their attendant criminal activities in the last three years as responsible for the brutal attacks on mostly innocent and defenceless women and children in Atyap villages, which facts are known to him and other security agencies in the area.
“His report did not convey the positive role played so far by the Traditional Council and other community leaders in dissipating the conflicts.
“The Executive Chairman of Zango Kataf Local Government Area, Hon. Francis Sani (Zimbo) has called on the Federal Government and the International Community to come to the aide of the vulnerable Communities.
“He said the displaced persons are in dire need of medical assistance to help treat their ailments and rebuild their burnt communities,” Achi said.