Christian leaders and officials of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) yesterday boycotted a peace summit organised as part of efforts to stop the persistent attacks and killings in the crisis-ridden communities of the southern part of Kaduna State.
The summit was organised in Kafanchan, Jema’a Council of the state, with over 100 participants of different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
Southern Kaduna Christian Leaders Association (SKCLA) said they were staying away from the peace summit organised by the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission and the Concerned Citizens of Southern Kaduna because some key stakeholders were left out.
SOKAPU officials also pulled out of the meeting, asking for a new date.
Chairman of SKCLA, Bishop Simon Peters Mutum, said the key stakeholders, who had borne the brunt of the genocide over the years, learnt of the peace summit few hours to commencement.
According to the cleric, from all indications, all the arrangements had been completed without the involvement of the key stakeholders that suffer from the killings.
He added that the group would welcome an explanation on why the organisers of the summit decided to sideline SOKAPU and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the planning of the summit.
Mutum said: “We are, therefore, deeply concerned about who the ‘Friends of southern Kaduna’ are and what may be their real motives.”
SOKAPU in a letter dated September 6, 2020 to the Chairman, Local Organising Committee of the Peace Summit, James Wuye, expressed its desire to consult with the conveners before the summit.
The letter, which was signed by Secretary of SOKAPU, Stephen Mallan, read in part: “The Central Executive Committee of SOKAPU met and exhaustively discussed the peace summit.
“SOKAPU had wished to have prior consultations with the conveners before the summit. In this regard, we are kindly requesting that the summit be rescheduled to enable us conclude all consultations. Otherwise, the summit may proceed and we shall be glad to be communicated with the outcome.”
IN another vein, former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (rtd.), has appealed to Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai to ensure that the crisis is resolved during his tenure as governor.
Agwai, a native of southern Kaduna, though acknowledged that the crisis pre-dated el-Rufai’s administration, said it was possible that God wanted to use the governor to end the crisis.
According to him, the government needs to do more in his primary responsibility of protecting lives and property in the state, as “the violence heightened under this government.”