T HE unremitted killings going on in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State have confirmed that the state is not in a hurry to break free from its notorious reputation as the hotbed of crisis in the country. While the Kaduna-Abuja road remains the den of deadly criminals visiting road users with mayhem at will, savage attacks on innocent persons continue to be the order of the day in the Birnin-Gwari axis of the state. The recent addition of Kajuru to the ignoble matrix of areas characterised by escalated and unabated mayhem in the state has worsened the situation quite significantly. Since February 15, the eve of the botched presidential and National Assembly elections when Governor Nasir el-Rufai raised the alarm about the attack on and killing of some people of Fulani extraction in Kajuru, the area has known no peace.
Many communities in the local government and even beyond have allegedly been visited with brutalities in orgies of barbaric and seemingly endless violent attacks and reprisals. Killings have become a recurring decimal in the area. About a dozen people are killed on a regular basis. Ironically, the alarm raised by the governor which many considered as controversial because of the timing, inaccurate fatality figure and unwarranted emphasis on the ethnic identity of the victims was ostensibly meant to avert reprisals. But what has been happening is the exact opposite and, worse still, in an exacerbated fashion. It is rather baffling that the killings continue virtually unabated despite government intervention and the visit by Governor el-Rufai to Kajuru. That is symptomatic of state failure.
The fact of the presence of a military base in the area raises the question as to why violence orchestrated by non-state actors should persist in an environment where military structure is in place. That is blight on the sincerity of the official efforts being made to rein in the killings. It is, therefore, patently evident that all stakeholders need genuine and concerted efforts. It can be taken for granted that the governor of the state cannot possibly be happy while his compatriots are being killed and maimed under his watch. But it would appear somewhat expedient for the governor to show that he is not interested in killings, especially given his recent unsavoury public pronouncements which tended to suggest that violent settlement of political differences was a veritable option. In the circumstance, a lucid and unmistakeable demonstration by the governor of his abhorrence of violence would seem to hold a promise of putting paid to the mindless killings.
It is common knowledge that crisis in Kajuru area, and indeed in many parts of the state, is not new. What is worrying is the obvious inability or perhaps the unwillingness of the relevant stakeholders to solve the problem. And that tends to give the impression that some people may be interested in celebrating killings. The primary assignment or essence of government is the protection of life and property. But individuals and groups who had earlier surrendered to the constituted authorities their liberty to seek redress for being wronged through self-help, among others, are fast returning to the uncivilised and primitive methods of avenging themselves. There can be no further testament of failure of government than that. That is unacceptable and should not be allowed to flourish, especially in a state that is seen as the political headquarters of the entire North. All the stakeholders in the state must up their ante to ensure that peace reigns not only in Kajuru, but in all parts of the state. The governor in particular may need to tweak his leadership style in a direction that is less aggressive, less confrontational and more tolerant of opposing views and fair to all in words and actions. That way, he will truly be the governor of all.
Agreed, politicians can really be impossible and unscrupulous. They can literally ‘push’ a dove to indulge in the activities of a serpent but it is the duty of political office- holders to live above board and resist the temptation to derail them from the pursuit of higher causes. The message is that there can be no tenable excuse for not restoring lasting peace in Kajuru Local Government Area and indeed all parts of Kaduna State. Interestingly, citizens and residents of the state have just renewed the mandate of the governor for another four years. We urge him not to take the renewal of his term of office for granted. He should rather see it as a call for rededication and commitment to delivering good governance, including, but not limited to, uniting the obviously divided people of the state and resolving the intractable security challenges.