Monday, 17 August 2020

Southern Kaduna Group Condemns Gen Lekwot's Comments On Military

An indigenous Southern Kaduna group under the aegis of Coalition of Southern Kaduna Peace Practitioner (SOKIPEP),has taken a swipe at the statement credited to an elder statesman, General Zamani Lekwot,rtd, over the crisis in the area.

The former military governor of Rivers State was quoted as condemning the recent position of the Commander of Operation Safe Haven,OPSH,Major General Chukwuemeka Okonkwo to the effect that the both sides in the Southern Kaduna crisis were involved in the cycle of attacks and isolated killings. 

He retired Nigerian Army officer had accused the OPSH Commander as not being neutral  in the crisis,saying:"As professionals,security people are supposed to be neutral in everything, to inculcate confidence in the people."

But SOKIPEP,in a statement, Monday,said the statement of an elder statesman, who is also their illustrious son,was also not only unpatriotic to the country but also unfair to the Nigerian Military, which it noted,had been relentless in its efforts at ending the crisis in particular and stop recurrence of the ugly development in general.

In the statement signed by its National Coordinator, Rev Dr Dauda Fadia,the group insisted that General Lekwot's statement was "misleading and a blatant disregard for fairness  and justice in the crisis that has seen many  lives and property worth several millions of naira lost.

 " The statement credited to one of our illustrious sons,General Zamani Lekwot,accusing Operation Safe Haven of taking side in the ongoing crisis in Southern Kaduna is unfortunate.

"The said statement by our revered statesman is not only misleading but also a blatant disregard to the efforts of the military which is sacrificing a lot to end the ugly trend.

" While not holding brief for the military, as genuine peace lovers, we feel that we have a place in history to speak out even if it doesn't favour our interest,"it said.

The group which said,"We have strong respect for the elder stateman",added:"We strongly condemn his statement as we see it as unpatriotic and unfair to the military who are doing everything possible to restore peace in our area."

" As a home grown group that is apolitical and non sentimental, we wish to state clearly that General Lekwot knows the truth about this crisis; that there are criminals at both side of the conflict and until we face this reality and deal with every one involved  as a criminal and not as tribal or religious bigots, peace will be far from our area,"it further said.

The statement read further: "We are the once going round the entire length and breath of Southern Kaduna preaching genuine peace and reconciliation so we can confirm  that we have criminal elements who don’t want peace and  sometimes instigate this crisis. 

"How can the elder stateman who should take the lead in preaching peace and encourage civil/ military relations for effective solutions,  now be playing tribal and religious card just to satisfy some interests. 

"This is not the best way to resolve the crisis. What exactly does neutrality mean to General Zamani? Is it until the Commander lies that only the Fulanis are involved in killings that he would be satisfied? 

"The Commander’s statement is the true reflection of the situation in Southern Kaduna.

 " We must take the military out of our problems and face the real issues by coming together to the drawing board with a view to solving the age-long conflict in our area. 

"Our people are being killed, this is unacceptable. We condemned this barbaric act and urge everyone to do same but we must also quickly expose some of our criminals who sometimes instigate these senseless attacks. 

"As Christians and true lovers of Christ, we must speak the truth at all times no matter who is hurt so that God can indeed stand for us.

" We are therefore calling on the general public to Ignore the statement coming from the elder statesman. This, we see as another desperate move to drag the military into a problem some of us caused  and can be solved with the right approach."

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