CHRISTIANS IN SOUTHERN KADUNA AND THE MIDDLE BELT EXPERIENCE GENOCIDE; GOVERNMENT SAYS IT’S ETHNIC CLASH

Bishop Julius Kundi, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, March 22nd, 2022.

1: Once again, our land is drenched in innocent blood. For the last few years, Southern Kaduna has remained a scene of war with evil men who are bent on destroying both the land and its people. We had breathed a sigh of relief after the brutal attacks of the peace loving people of Zaman Dabo and Tsonje only as recent as the 1st and 12th, February in both Zangon Kataf and Jema’a Local Government Areas this year. How long will this go on and when will it all end?

2: While our people were rebuilding their lives and hoping that some normalcy would return, little did we know that our enemies were spending sleepless nights planning well thought out plans to annihilate us. Then, from nowhere, our relative calm was disrupted when, at about 8pm on March 20th, these evil men descended on our community in Kagoro and brutally murdered over 20 people.

3: These incessant attacks on our people leave us with no option than to think that Christians in Southern Kaduna are gradually becoming an endangered species that are earmarked for extermination.  Moreover, it is quite scandalous that while the pogrom against Christians from Southern Kaduna and the Middle Belt is metamorphosing into genocide, the Government and the International Community’s narratives present it as an ethnic clash that can be comfortably tamed by the Nigeria’s law enforcement agencies.

4: We continue to ask, “What is the acceptable number of deaths that qualify for genocide under International law? What is the criterion used by the International community to place value on a life”? The groaning of the people is deafening, the threats that assail us from different directions are increasing and we have been pushed to the end of our wits in terms of our search for a lasting solution. The Government and the Security agencies must promptly do more than the usual moral denunciations and assurances that things are under control. Our people do not feel the protection of government and with no clear efforts to apprehend these murderers, citizens’ trust in government and its capacity to defend them is waning by the day.

5: I wish to assure all our peace loving people that we feel your pain. The greatest honour we owe the dead is to continue to work towards the ideals of our common brotherhood and sisterhood. We have always lived together and in peace. We must unite to ensure that we outlive these agents of darkness that threaten to overwhelm our communities. We live them and their sponsors in the hands of God our creator who sees everything. I therefore call on all of us, Christians or Muslims, across and beyond the limited walls of differences to remain calm and stand together.

6: This is the time for us to drop every divisive element that threatens to push us apart. This is the time to embrace our common humanity. This is the time to form a common force that will fight to a standstill the blood thirsting men whose one tall dream is to obliterate the indigenous settlements across our nation and to further balkanize us along religious lines.

7: Finally my dear friends, we are facing some real challenges, but we won’t give up. Many are our trials, but we won’t turn back. We may be temporarily down, but we are certainly not out. Though our sorrow may last for the night- even if it stretches beyond just a night- I know that however long it takes, daybreak will come and joy comes with the morning. Courage my dear friends. Find courage in the words of St Paul who said: “We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed, perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed( 2 Cor. 4: 8-9). ​

May the souls of all those who have lost their lives in the hands of these evil men of darkness and those of all the Faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

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