The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has cried out to the Federal Government to secure the lives and properties of the people of Jama’s Local Government Area of Kaduna State, who have been under constant attacks by herdsmen.
The CAN president, Samson Ayokunle who addressed journalists in Abuja said that at least 50,000 houses have been raised by herdsmen in Jama’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State since May, and about 10,000 people have been displaced with over 30,000 hectares of farmland destroyed within the period.
Chawaison Nathan, the secretary of CAN in one of the affected communities, said the people of Godogodo community and its surrounding communities as well, have deserted their villages and fled for fear of their lives.
Mr. Nathan, a pastor, said the communities, mostly dominated by Christians, have for months been faced with cruel attacks by herdsmen, even after peace treaties were signed by farmers and herdsmen in the area.
“The peace treaty was signed on August 1. After it was signed, we heard of an attack on couples who were shot at their farm. At least seven members of my church were killed; I narrowly escaped death,” he added.
Another community leader, Gagi Ampot, said the government is to be blamed. for the increased nature of crimes committed by the herdsmen.
He said a lot of complications have emerged from government’s failure to squarely address the problem.
“The entire village I rule was burnt down completely. Yet nothing has been done. We are being treated as second class citizens in our own country. Since President Buhari came in, I have not been paid my salaries for 17 months,” he narrated.
A spokesperson for the herdsmen, Saleh Bayero, reacting to the allegations, said, “They were the ones that attacked the herdsmen first. This issue began since 2011. But because our people are not good with (publicity), no one knows about their attacks.
“We had told them that herdsmen have leaders everywhere. We said that no, whenever herdsmen destroy their crops, they should come and tell us; we will make sure that they pay for it. That whoever is responsible takes responsibility for his actions. None of them have met us.”
Mr. Ayokunle called on President Buhari to mobilize security forces to address the situation urgently.
Written by Okolo Ezinne