Saturday, August 22, 2020

Nigerians in UK protest Southern Kaduna killings, to write Parliament, Boris

Some members of the Nigerian diaspora demonstrated Friday outside the Nigerian High Commission in London and will hand in a letter protesting the relentless attacks on communities in southern Kaduna by armed men of Fulani ethnicity.

Protestors gathered under the umbrella of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Diaspora (SOKAPDA) and carried banners stating, amongst other things: “Stop the Killings,” “Enough is Enough,” and “Justice for South Kaduna Christians”, while chanting: “It’s not a conflict, it’s a genocide,” “Our lives matter,” and “Southern Kaduna can’t breathe.”

Decrying the incessant loss of life this year, the protestors called on Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to declare the militia a terrorist organisation and accused the international media of “a conspiracy of silence” regarding the deadly violence.

The protestors, who will also be delivering letters of protest to the UK Parliament and Prime Minister in Downing Street, criticised a recent television interview by Kaduna State Governor Nasir el Rufai in which he effectively held the people of southern Kaduna responsible for the spate of killings.

El-Rufai was quoted to have said: “they organise these killings and then, their leaders are invited by the governor, they wine and dine and they are given brown envelopes.”

He also accused community leaders of raising “a spectre of genocide […] so they can get donations and money into their bank accounts from abroad,” adding that his administration was amassing sufficient evidence to arrest them.

The interview, which has been widely condemned, occasioned a petition calling on the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to disinvite the governor as a keynote speaker for its 60th Annual Conference, which begins on 26 August, and inspired the Twitter hashtag #CancelElRufai2020.

In response, on 20 August the Nigerian Bar Association stated on Twitter that: “The National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association at its ongoing meeting resolves that the invitation to the Kaduna State Governor, H.E. Nasir El-Rufai by the 2020 Annual General Conference Planning committee be withdrawn and decision communicated to the Governor.”

In a statement issued on 17 August, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson O. A. Ayokunle, urged Governor el Rufai to “end the cycle of accusations and counter-accusations between the government and other stakeholders over the killings in Southern Kaduna”.

He also urged him to embrace a “round table” approach, adding that “every provocative statement over the matter should be avoided.

“Everybody is looking at the governor as a father of the state and this is the understanding with which he should handle every accusing finger pointed at him.”