President Muhammadu Buhari has told Kaduna residents that killing each other can never be a solution to poverty and inequality, and appealed for lawful conduct at all times.
The president, however, assured that those behind the recent killings in Kaduna will be prosecuted.
He said these yesterday in Kaduna when he met with religious and traditional rulers, to condole with them over the bloody crisis that rocked the State lately, claiming over 70 lives.
The meeting with traditional rulers, which took place at Murtala Square, had in attendance Emir of Zazzau, Mr Shehu Idris, Archbishop of Kaduna Catholic Archdiocese, Mr Matthew Ndagoso and Secretary General of Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI), Mr Khalid Aliyu.
Among other clerics at the meeting were Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State chapter, Mr George Dodo, founder of Peace Revival and Reconciliation Foundation of Nigeria, Mr Yohanna Buru.
“Violence shatters and divides people and stifles the prospect of any community that succumbs to its tragic logic. It is my earnest appeal to all who call Kaduna home to do their best to uphold peace in their respective communities. Chaos and anarchy tend to worsen and exacerbate whatever issues are agitating a community,” Mr Buhari said.
He said government would adopt stringent measures as punishment for the perpetrators of the crisis.
“The Federal Government will take strongest measures possible to punish perpetrators of these crimes. If, in the past they went scot free, we shall now hold everyone to account for these latest killings.
Meanwhile, Kaduna State Governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, has asked Buhari to compensate victims of 2011 post election violence to the tune of N3.85 billion, as part of measures to forestall future crisis in the State.
He said the lingering issues from the post-election violence, where places of worship were destroyed without full compensation, were part of the causes of the latest crises.
The governor said: “Mr. President, I wish to bring to your attention lingering issues from the post-election violence of 2011. Many of the people who lost lives and property, and communities whose places of worship were destroyed in these crises since 2011, are yet to be fully compensated, resettled and their property reconstructed. We need to achieve closure on resettlement of displaced persons, payment of compensation to 2011 victims and the reconstruction of destroyed properties. We are appealing to the Federal Government to provide the balance of 53 percent of assessed compensation, amounting to about N3.85 billion, to enable victims rebuild their lives and, for all places of worship to be restored.
“As we proceed with our peace-building efforts, Kaduna State Government will continue to rely on security assets and goodwill of the Federal Government. We have relaxed the curfew across the state, allowing free movement in daytime. We look forward to lifting the night-time curfew as soon as the security assessment indicates that it is prudent to do so.
“In this moment of trial, we have again seen heartwarming examples of the triumph of a common humanity over hate and division. Christians and Muslims have given refuge to each other in moments of peril, and have in some communities united to jointly protect places of worship against attack. These are the good, decent people that assure us that the forces of peace and order will prevail!
“Mr. President, Kaduna State Government is aware that certain resentments driven by poverty and a sense of inequality are implicated in the legacy of violence. Many of the violent episodes that have blighted our state have started in and around markets, and often target economic assets of citizens. Most infamous is the Zangon-Kataf crisis of 1992, but there are many more, including Zonkwa, Kafanchan and the recent outrage in Kasuwan Magani.
“As a government committed to promoting equality of opportunity, we intend to help promote prosperity by rebuilding and modernising markets in places impacted by conflict. The market in Kafanchan is already being rebuilt. We shall be extending this to the overstretched or destroyed markets in places such as Zonkwa, Zangon-Kataf, Kasuwan Magani and Kujama, and other locations in the State.
“Mr President, what we are battling in Kaduna State is the legacy of nearly 40 years of violence and impunity. Current government of Kaduna State is persuaded that it has a solemn obligation to lead the state towards overcoming the tragic legacy of strife. Kaduna State is not the only diverse place on this planet, and the people who live in it must not remain trapped in a whirl of hate and division.
“The first ethno-religious clash in the state happened in Kasuwan Magani in 1980. Many other clashes have sadly happened since, without the perpetrators being sufficiently sanctioned. This resulted in breeding and empowering constituencies of impunity that believe that violence pays and that violence has no negative consequence for the planners and perpetrators.”