Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has said claims by Kaduna governor, Nasir El-Rufai, that 66 persons were killed by gunmen in the Kajuru Local Government Area of the state were false and intended to stir violence.
El-Rufai had in a statement on Friday by his spokesman, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, announced the killings in the state on the eve of the initial slated date for the presidential and National Assembly elections.
However, in a statement on Saturday by Kaduna State CAN chapter chairman, Rev. Joseph Hayab, he said that the governor intentionally sent out wrong information to deceive Nigerians and the international community.
The statement by the state CAN president read, “The press statement by the spokesman for Kaduna State Governor, Mr Samuel Aruwan, suggests that “the killings in Kajuru Local Government were carried out yesterday (Friday) 15/2/2019. This is false in its entirety.
“We are aware that the incident happened in the late hours of Sunday 10 February to February 12, 2019, at about 1am at Gindin Gada in the Maro Ward of Kajuru Local Government, Kaduna State where unidentified hoodlums went into the village and killed about 11 people in their sleep.
“The incident led to reprisals. Two of the suspects were said to have been apprehended and handed over to the Divisional Police Officer in the area. It was in the afternoon of the said date of the attack (as contained in the press statement) that the District Head of Kufana, Mr Titus Dauda, and four of his local chiefs were released after their invitation by the Department of State Services.
“We see this as an illogical intentional, premeditated attempt at stirring violence in the state for whatever expected gains. The incidence of raising false alarm by the Kaduna State Government should make Nigerians realise that some of our leaders are also guilty of hate speech and that makes them major actors in the game that has denied us peace and has claimed the lives of our love ones.”
This came just as Senator Shehu Sani, who represents Kaduna Central, where the affected community is located, has expressed worries why the incident which happened on Sunday was only made an issue on the eve of the presidential elections.
“What the people of the area told me was that the issue happened since Sunday and the security agencies waded in and resolved it immediately. There was no tension that can threaten peace in the area,” he said on his Twitter handle.
Chidi Odinkalu, human rights lawyer and former chairman National Human Rights Commission NHC, has described as false, the statement from the Kaduna state government that 66 people were killed in attacks on Kajuru local government area of the state.
In a related development, Ishaya Chonoko, Zonal Coordinator, North-West office of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told SUNDAY PUNCH that there were no fresh killings in Kajuru LGA on Friday as claimed by the governor.
He said: “It is not true that 66 people were killed in Kaduna State. I am in Kaduna now and I can confirm to you that I am not aware of any 66 people that were killed in Kajuru Local Government Area by any unknown gunmen.
“There was an attack last week (Sunday), where 11 people were said to have been killed. It was the usual tribal clash between the Fulani and the indigenes. Anytime there is a clash between two tribes in Kaduna, there is usually reprisal.
“We made necessary contacts only to discover that it was merely a rumour to instigate violence. Please disregard it. It is not true at all.”