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Southern Kaduna killings: Catholic bishops knock el-Rufai

The Catholic Bishops of Kaduna Ecclesiastical Province says the people of Southern Kaduna feel abandoned by their governor in the moment of grief.

The province is made up of Kaduna, Kano, Kontagora Minna, Sokoto and Zaria dioceses of the Catholic Church.

In a statement issued at the end of their meeting in Kafanchan, Kaduna, John Niyiring, secretary of the Ecclesiastical Province and Bishop of Kano diocese, urged Nasir el-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna, to show more empathy to the victims of the crisis.

The bishops expressed sadness over the violence in Kaduna, especially Birnin Gwari, Kajuru and southern Kaduna.

“Crises test the will of a leader. At times like these, emotions are not enough. At times like this, a leader must seek out support by adopting the twin track of diplomacy, using backroom channels and keeping an eye on restoring peace,” the statement read.

“Like the mother of twins, a leader at times like these must not be seen to be sleeping on one side! As with the federal government, we believe that the state government could do more in terms of showing empathy to the victims of these crisis.

“The people of Southern Kaduna feel abandoned by their Governor in their grief. We appreciate that these times test the will of any leader, but there is no substitute for sobriety, calm and focus.”

They also called on el-Rufai to “consult across the spectrum, have the patience of listening even to those who do not agree with him and focus on persuasion and consensus building across the divide.”

“We encourage him to visit the scenes of these tragedies and use the opportunity of condolences to scold as well as appeal to the hearts of his people,” they said.

The bishops also called on politicians across the divide in southern Kaduna to do everything possible to ensure peace and stability in the area.

“In the last few years, the purveyors of this violence have taken over the land and placed our security forces on the defensive. Hitherto, the nation’s main challenge was how to contain the dreaded terrorist group, Boko Haram,” they said.

“Two years ago, the military announced that it had degraded Boko Haram and basked in the euphoria that Boko Haram was no longer holding Nigerian territory.

“But our joy was short lived as the story has progressively gotten far worse. Today, almost the entire Northern states are in the grip of these purveyors of violence and death. In the last three years, we have witnessed the relentless attacks and ransacking of entire communities by bandits in states like Benue, Kebbi, Plateau, Kaduna, Katsina, Nasarawa, Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara…

“All our communities still bear huge injuries and scars. We call on our governors to remain relentless in seeking to end this tragedy with greater urgency, dedication and sincerity. There have been attempts at negotiations with these criminals by some governors and in some cases, huge sums of money have been paid.”

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