The Vice President, Yemi Osinbanjo, has said that ensuring justice, fixing economic marginalization, prosecuting persons responsible for the killings and ensuring that the impunity doesn’t worsen, are the only ways to effectively tackle the Southern Kaduna crisis.
He made the assertion during a special conversation at the ongoing Nigeria Bar Association Annual General Conference on Thursday.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila was also featured during the session.
Charting a way forward, Osinbajo said: “I have been involved since 2001 through the work of the Macedonian initiative, an NGO that focused on providing relief materials to displaced persons in Southern Kaduna and several other places especially in North Central part of Nigeria. There have been judicial commissions and all sorts, but the problem remains.
“So, there is the need to address the underlying issues. You can’t sweep under the carpet, justice and the cries of economic marginalization.
“The fact is that we must prosecute persons responsible for these murders or otherwise impunity will worsen. And also support those who have lost their bread winners.
“The mindless callous killings in Southern Kaduna are heartbreaking. And again we must condole those who have lost loved ones and those injured or who have suffered loss of property. These tragedies are unacceptable and they are avoidable.”
On what the Federal Government is doing about it, the Vice President noted, “first is the improvement of security in Southern Kaduna. Now, we have a military base there, for the first time. We also have a lot of Air Force surveillance.
“We have about 500 conventional and Mobile Policemen in Zangon-Kataff and Kaura Local Government Areas and then the combined military team of the Army and the Navy who are also on ground 24 hours. This is basically to just take care of the volatile situation there.
“The President has also had several Security Council meetings and I have attended all of those, where the issues were discussed and the possibilities of engagement have also been discussed.”
Speaking on his personal experience, Osinbajo said: “I have also engaged with community leaders in Southern Kaduna and also I have engaged with the governor to look at what peacemaking efforts are possible.”
In a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media & Publicity,
Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, the Vice President disclosed that “some of the peacemaking efforts have been fairly successful as recent peace efforts between the Zangon-Kataff and the Fulani communities would yield positive results.
“But there is also a lot of work going on to ensure that some of these fundamental issues are being addressed and it’s an evolving situation, but it’s something we can’t afford to ignore and it’s gone on for far too long and it’s redressable and possible for us to resolve.”