The Southern Kaduna People's Union (SOKAPU) has accused Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State of needlessly closing schools in Southern Kaduna. In a statement issued on Saturday, SOKAPU said the closure of schools in the area is akin to "educational genocide".
Signed by its National Public Relations Officer, Mr. Yusuf Kuzamani, the statement described as unwarranted the closure of the Kafanchan Campus of the Kaduna State University (KASU) and the College of Education Gidan Waya.
"The Kafanchan Campus of the Kaduna State University was closed down on the 19th of December, 2016 and has remained closed since.
"Then, the College of Education Gidan Waya was also officially closed on the 20th of December 2016, but educational activities were already paralyzed since late October due to the killings around the surrounding towns that were deliberately left to fester.
Staff were asked later on to move to the Kafanchan campus of the College," SOKAPU said.
The group argued that since the reason given by the government for the continued closure is insecurity, there is no explanation why other schools, public and private, in Kafanchan, including the School of Nursing and the Kafanchan campus of the College of Education, should remain open without any disruption to academic activities.
"On what basis are the two schools still closed? Is there anything being planned that we don’t know about? If nothing is done quickly to open the schools so that thousands of students of the schools continue with their normal academic activities, we would be left with no option but to deduce that the continued closure is another form of educational genocide, coming after the attempted economic emasculation of the area through the strange, unnecessary and punitive 24-hour curfew that the governor has been slamming on Jema’a, Zangon Kataf and Kaura Local Government Areas at his leisure," said SOKAPU.
The group said the governor's action has not come to it as a surprise, given that on 9 February, he was on Channels Television to demonize the people of Southern Kaduna.
"This governor so loves denigrating the people of the zone, that he overreached himself on that program by saying that church leaders in Southern Kaduna are fueling the crisis because they are getting foreign dollars to bury Christians and rebuild thousands of burnt churches. This coming from a governor that is expected to personify decorum, statesmanship, impartiality and propriety in public office is, to say the least, difficult to rationalize.
Also, it is difficult to understand why the Governor went on air to falsely assert that 'some political and church leaders in Southern Kaduna are fueling the crisis by insisting that only Southern Kaduna people should live in Southern Kaduna.’ "This false assertion is not only preposterous but highly incendiary and a great hate speech against religious leaders in Southern Kaduna. This is infra dignitatem for the position of the governor," the group argued.
It accused Governor el-Rufai of ceaselessly blaming the victims of the crisis and pampering the aggressors. This, SOKAPU alleged, is why the governor has invested all his energy in arresting Southern Kaduna youths and having them paraded as "masterminds of the attacks".
The group also claimed that some youths alleged to have demonstrated against the governor are still being arrested and moved to Abuja like criminals.
"Those who also got fed up with the attacks on our villages and call for self-defense are now the targets of arrest.
"However, SOKAPU would want to tell the Governor that facts can be liberally twisted, arbitrary deployment of draconian powers to arrest all the people of Southern Kaduna may be resorted to, the people may be intimidated and smeared and lied against, our traditional and religious leaders disrespected and disparaged against, yet we shall still be standing when he finishes his term as Governor – no matter how long it takes him.
We will be standing tall, proud and still the peaceful and accommodating people we have always been. Truth never bows to falsehood," SOKAPU vowed.