The past weekend was not a joyful or restful one for residents of the Gwong Chiefdom of the Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna state as a vicious attack by unknown gunmen on the Asso and Tanda Bridge left no fewer than three people dead.
Mr Peter Averik, who is the chairman of the local government, confirmed the development to reporters on Monday.
He said the attack happened on Sunday night around 7:30 pm when the gunmen shot at innocent pedestrians who were walking on the Asso and Tanda bridge and killed one person on the spot while the one other person died at the hospital.
In his words, “I was told the gunmen, who seemed to be advancing, opened fire on the pedestrians over fears that they might be exposed. One person died on the spot while two others who sustained varying degrees of injury were rushed to the Fadan Kagoma Hospital where one of them died this (Monday) morning following the magnitude of the injury sustained.”
He then said they found the corpse of the third person early Monday morning in a bush path at the Wazo village which is before Aso. He also revealed that they had made arrangements to take the other injured people to the Barau Diko Specialist Hospital in Kaduna, after they were referred from the Sir Patrick Memorial Hospital located in Kafanchan.
Averik said security personnel had since been drafted to the town and added that the government was going to ensure that lives and properties in the region was going to be safe going forward.
Recall that this is not the first time violence is claiming lives in Kaduna. Fifteen (15) people were brutally murdered while seventeen (17) others were seriously injured when another set of unknown gunmen shot at innocent people at Ungwan Pa’ah Gwandara village in the Godogodo Chiefdom of the Jema’a Local Government Area.
Also in October, 2018, the Kaduna State Police Command confirmed that fifty-five (55) people died during a communal crisis which occurred at Kasuwan Magani village located in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state. They police had arrested about thirty (30) people in connection to the killings and the State Government had declared a curfew in the area to curb the violence.
Ahmad Abdur-Rahman, the Commissioner of Police in the state, said he dispatched both mobile and conventional policemen under the banners of Operation Yaki and they had both worked in tandem to restore normalcy to the area. He also visited the town in a bid to engage leaders across every spectra – youth, traditional and religious – to stop the violence from spreading any further.
The police chief had praised the State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, for his timely decision to impose a curfew on the state as that helped in dousing the already heightened tension in the area. He then went on to say all the people involved in the killings will be brought to book.
So far no one has been convicted though.
In his words, “Anybody that has a hand in this crisis must face the full wrath of law, we will not allow lawlessness; we remain committed to saving life and property of every citizens. I appeal to the public to continue to live in peace, and assist the command with useful information to track the perpetrators.”
The Governor had also called on the residents of the Magani town to eshew violence and instead cultivate the culture of living in peace with one another despite religious or cultural differences.
He said this when he visited the community after the violent clash between the rival youth groups.
In a statement signed by El-Rufai and released by his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, he had called on the people of the community to live together in peace even if there was religious or ethnic differences. He had also said the government was going to punish everyone responsible for any despicable act of violence in the state going forward.
Part of the statement read, “We are here to see and to listen for ourselves. We must live in peace and never use violence to solve a problem. We are not happy with this and government will pursue and punish those responsible for this devilish act. We must value the sanctity of life. I want to beg you to cooperate with the security agencies because prosecution of conflict entrepreneurs is inevitable. I will come back in one week time to see how things are.”
El-Rufai had then led a team of senior government officials to Kasuwan Magani around 4 p.m. and immediately received briefings from Mr Abdur-Rahaman and then went around the town along with youth, traditional and religious leaders after which he had an interactive session with leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) in the local government area.
Despite the whole promise to prosecute the perpetrators in the state, none of the sixty-five (65) people have been prosecuted yet as the case is still pending in court.
What do you think can be done to stop the incessant crisis in the state? Let us know in the comments section.