THE Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) on Tuesday tackled the Kaduna State Governor, MallamNasir El-Rufai over his remarks on Kajuru killings.
In a statement on behalf of SMBLF signed by the National Publicity Secretary, pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, the Forum said the governor’s ‘unguarded’ comments on the killings were capable of ‘stoking ethnic crisis’ in Kaduna.
The statement reads: “The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has watched with keen interest recent attempt by the Governor of Kaduna State, Mr. Nasir El-Rufai, to foment ethnic crisis in his state on the eve of the botched February 16 presidential elections.
“The governor had claimed the reprisal killing of 66 Fulani people in Kajuru LGA of the state with fanfare but has yet to show evidence of deaths as we write this.
“The glee with which the governor went on air on Friday, February 15, 2019 alleging the killings was shocking for the chief executive of a state.
“The governor claimed that the incident happened on the eve of the election. But the truth by the community concerned is that the incident took place between Sunday, February 10, to Tuesday, February 12, 2019 in UngwarBarde in Kufana district, where 11 innocent Adara people were killed by suspected herdsmen without any provocation.”
However, contrary to Odumakin’s statement, after an expanded security meeting with President Buhari at the State House, Abuja, Governor El-Rufai, while briefing the press, said the death toll had increased to 130.
El-Rufai said: “The last report we got is that over 130 people were killed not even 66 and the Fulani leaders have provided the names of all these people.
”We have the list, we can release it to the Press and I don’t want to be gross but we can release pictures of the people killed and how soldiers have to be there to help bury them, two days after they were killed because the bodies were decomposing.
“Whoever still doubts that this happened is being grossly irresponsible.”