The Kaduna State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, as well as the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, have denied the claims by Nasir el-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State, regarding the killing of 66 people in the northwestern state.
CAN also accused the Kaduna governor of deliberately giving out false information.
Addressing a press briefing last Friday, el-Rufai had claimed that 66 people were killed in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state, on the eve of the Saturday earlier scheduled for the presidential and National Assembly elections.
However, a statement by Reverend Joseph Hayab, the Kaduna CAN Chairman in the state, stressed that the killing happened days earlier than el-Rufai’s claim.
He said: “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.’’
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.”