"Press statement: Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) 31/12/2016

That  Needless 24-hour Curfew in Southern Kaduna

The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) once again want to draw the attention of men and women of conscience, the Media, Civil Society Organizations, Faith-based organizations, the National Human Rights Commission, the Nigeria Bar Association and others to the ongoing agony forcefully foisted on the Southern Kaduna people by Governor Nasir El-rufai through the 24-hour curfew that he has imposed in Jema’a, Kaura and Zangon Kataf Local Governments Areas of the State since the  20th  December  in Kafanchan and  22 December, 2016 when it was extended to Kaura and Zangon Kataf.

We have stated it and still reiterating that the 24-hour curfew was an ego-driven punitive action by the Governor, hiding under the cloak of the State Security Council to punish the people of Southern Kaduna for daring to hold a demonstration over his suspicious handling of the continuous killings of our people. Nothing amplifies the uselessness of the current curfew on the three (3) LGAs than the attack on Goska village that took place under a 24-hour curfew on the 24th of December with so many people killed, injured and displaced.

The effect now is that the Kafanchan General Hospital, the only Government hospital in the whole of Kafanchan, has been closed down since the 20th of December when the 24- hour curfew was imposed. Victims of armed herdsmen attacks have been left to either die without medical attention or visit a private hospital. Births complications, serious illness, and other medical needs are deliberately not accessible. In a curfew situation, it’s well known that essential service providers are exempted from the curfew and allowed to provide services but not in Southern Kaduna. The killings the armed herdsmen started and could not finish are now being achieved by the promoters of the curfew through the withdrawal of medical services under the guise of curfew enforcement. Critically ill patients desirous of going out of Kafanchan to get medical attention in other LGAs around are being stopped from exiting the town.

For a curfew that has been on for nine (9) days in Kaura and Zangon Kataf and 11 days in Jema’a LG, the financial toll on the people has become so acute that some are at the point of starvation. In the three (3) LGAs under curfew, the banks and other financial institutions are under lock and key. Considering that ours is largely a cash-based economy, the money in the hands of most has been exhausted. Attempts to get out of the LGAs to access ATMs or other banking facilities have been denied. No one is allowed to get in or out; and in the midst of this; starvation is gradually setting in in some homes.

Even accessing the farm produce that would have sustained the people is not available because they are not allowed to go to their farms. Apart from the farm produce getting spoiled and wasted, the opportunity for the perishable produce that the people would have taken to the market to sell has been denied them. This is further compounding an already bad situation that was made worse by the armed herdsmen that have attacked villages resulting in the inability of some to farm their lands.

Shops in the LGAs are running out of supplies for the people because traders are not allowed to go out of the affected LGAs to replenish their goods. Basic things, foodstuff, ingredients and others are currently not available.

For confirmation, we request Civil Society Organizations to insist on an independent visit to the affected LGAs for on-the-spot assessment of the situation.

We, in SOKAPU, are insisting that slamming a 24-hour curfew on innocent people while the armed herdsmen freely walk around is a reckless abuse of power that has no place in a democratic environment. We are keenly desirous of having peace in Southern Kaduna and would passionately applaud any sincere initiative capable of such, not any knee-jerk reaction devoid of any semblance of seriousness and sincerity.

Despite the foregoing, we wish the people of Kaduna State a prosperous and blessed new year ahead.

Signed: Mr. Yakubu Kuzamani
National Public Relation Officer.

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