The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Shehu Garba, has likened the Southern Kaduna crisis to a fight between two aggrieved neighbours, and not a case of an oppressor against the oppressed.
“It is an inter-communal fight,” he said alluding to the largely perceived ethnic war that has consumed over 20,000 lives as recently admitted by Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai. “It is wrong to see what is happening in Kaduna as one group dominating another. Deaths have been recorded on either side of the conflict,” he argued.
Garba spoke on Monday while taking questions from Channels Television journalists on the early morning programme, Sunrise.
He maintained that figures of the dead which had been bandied around by the Christian community were largely exaggerated and blamed the Nigerian media for what would seem biased reporting of the conflict.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has lambasted Garba for allegedly playing politics and claiming that the Southern Kaduna crisis was partially triggered by the fact that the opposition party was desperately instigating trouble in the region just so it could hold on to the senatorial district.
In a statement signed by its National Publicity secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, the party said, “We are baffled that such a callous, irresponsible and insensitive statement could come from a person who speaks for the President of Nigeria. This shows the extent to which every issue in the Country today is viewed from the APC’s and the Presidency’s extremely narrow and jaundiced partisan political prism.”
The Southern Kaduna crisis which reopened late December 2016 has become another a sour point in the security challenges facing the Buhari administration.
On Monday, the Northern Governors Forum and Northern Traditional Rulers Council met in a kaduna to seek ways and means of dealing with inter-communal crisis in the north, especially Kaduna.
Criticized for its untimely response to the crisis, the presidency only recently said it was on the verge of setting up military commands in Southern Kaduna to checkmate the predominantly Muslims versus Christians face-off.
Government intervention notwithstanding, it is feared that the crisis may escalate as the killings have continued unabated with even prominent opinion leaders such as Taraba governor, Darius Ishaku and Apostle Johnson Suleiman calling for retaliatory killings.
Garba called on warring parties to sheathe the sword and advised security agencies to take in the likes of Suleiman for instigating retaliatory killings.
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