Leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have visited Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, to discuss ways of ensuring lasting peace to the troubled southern part of the state.
The clergymen had the meeting which was held on Monday at the Government House led by CAN National President, Reverend Samson Ayokunle.
Reverend Ayokunle started his speech by admitting that the crises in Southern Kaduna started before the present administration of the state.
Still, he asked the security agencies to reveal the perpetrators behind the senseless killings in Southern Kaduna, not minding their tribe or religious background and bring them to justice.
Also, he urged both the government and security agencies to commence the process of mopping up illegal firearms in the troubled communities.
The Reverend cautioned all parties involved in the conflict to stop making accusations and counter-accusations, but to come together and find a lasting solution to the lingering crisis.
He said that the fact that crisis has lingered this long has made people assume it has religious or ethnic provocations.
Reverend Ayokunle made a few requests which include: the need for all parties in the conflict to stop making provocative statements or carrying out attacks and counterattacks, as well as mop-up of illegal firearms from criminals by security agencies.
He also proposed the prosecution of those behind the crisis, rebuilding of destroyed Southern Kaduna and other crisis-affected areas, and the deployment of more security forces to the troubled communities, among others.
In response, Governor El-Rufai appreciated the CAN national leadership for the visit and promised them that the state government would work with them to broaden the constituency for peace.
He affirmed that the government has been focused on resolving security challenges in the state. The governor also said that his administration has expanded the security footprint in Southern Kaduna, in response to the decades-old demand for a permanent army base there.
Governor El-Rufai explained that when the clashes started, they worked to get more soldiers and policemen to the affected areas, to calm nerves and prevent a cycle of attacks and reprisals.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of lives in a totally unnecessary frenzy of communal attacks, reprisals, and revenge. While we mourn the dead, our immediate focus remains to restore calm and foster the return of peace.
“We have been consistent in saying that beyond boots on the ground, military bases and police stations, the ultimate guarantee of peace is the willingness of communities to live in harmony and their resolve to settle differences through lawful means,” the governor said.
The meeting held at the government house also had in attendance the state deputy governor, Hadiza Balarabe; Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Yusuf Zailani; former Deputy Governor Bala Bantex, Senator Uba Sani (Kaduna Central), and heads of security agencies in the state, as well as others.