19 April 2017

Nigeria: Catholic Church Blames El-Rufai for Southern Kaduna Killings

Photo: The Guardian
Kaduna State governor Nasir El-Rufai.

The Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, Rev. Father Joseph Danlami Bogobiri, has accused Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State of taking sides with herdsmen, who attacked Asso Village in Jema'a Local Government Area of the state.

In a statement issued in Kaduna, yesterday evening, Rev. Father Bogobiri accused the governor of abdicating his responsibility of being governor to all, and "instead gave in to the luxury of waging an unrelenting media campaign against southern Kaduna people."

But an official of the state government, who spoke with Vanguard on condition of anonymity, said the Bishop was being unjust in apportioning blames on the governor, who was doing everything possible to curtail the southern Kaduna crisis.

In his statement, Bagobiri, who is also the Chairman, Southern Kaduna Christian Elders Association, said Governor el-Rufai "unabashedly takes sides with the armed herdsmen, thereby failing in his responsibility as a true statesman, becoming, therefore, a biased umpire who blames and criminalizes southern Kaduna victims as the cause of the mayhem.

"On April 15, 2017, at about 7:00 pm, an attack was launched by militias in Asso village, Jema'a Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The attack came when the people were in the church for Easter vigil celebration.

"Having presided over the mass burial of at least 10 Catholics, along with their parish priest, Rev Fr. Alexander Yayock, the following day, I'm by conscience compelled to make the following statements: The attitude of the state government has been marred by lots of complicity and bias which exacerbated rather than ameliorated tensions."

It's an unfair allegation--Kaduna govt

But in a swift reaction, an official of the state government accused the Bishop of being unfair to the governor.

The official, who does not want to be named because of the sensitive nature of the matter, said Governor el Rufai remained the only candidate, who had presented a detailed programme on how to solve the crisis in the state.

He said rather that advance personal agenda through provocative statements, the Bishop should join hands with the governor by ensuring that a watertight arrangement was put in place to ensure that perpetrators of heinous crimes are brought to book.

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