Violence in Southern Kaduna Fueled by Government Support for Fulanis, says Bishop

World Watch Monitor | “It is important to put on record that the insecure situation we experience in Kafanchan and Southern Kaduna has not stopped despite the presence of Security Agents,” said Mgr. Bagobiri"

The Bishop of Kafanchan, in Nigeria’s volatile Southern Kaduna region, has denounced the violence of the Fulani as fueled by government complicity.

“The crisis here has persisted because of the way and manner the Federal and State governments, as well as the Security Agents are handling it,” said Mgr. Joseph Bagobiri in a statement to a visiting delegation of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria (CBCN).

The delegation, led by the President of CBCN, Mgr. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos, visited Southern Kaduna to, according to Fides, “express the closeness of the entire Church in Nigeria to the local population threatened by the raids of the Fulani farmers.” The clerics also brought some concrete help for those affected by the violence.

Attacks attributed to Fulani herdsmen against the predominantly Christian population of Southern Kaduna have claimed more than 800 lives between 2011 and the end of 2016, and they continue to occur on an almost weekly basis, sometimes even increasing to a daily frequency.

“It is important to put on record that the insecure situation we experience in Kafanchan and Southern Kaduna has not stopped despite the presence of Security Agents,” said Mgr. Bagobiri, denouncing that “many of us are disappointed to see that our political leaders are taking sides and known to be supporting, directly or indirectly, the Fulanis themselves and that is why they are fast losing the support and trust of the people.”

According to the Bishop, the federal government has fueling the crisis because, in contrast to Northern and Central Kaduna, Southern Kaduna (where the majority of Christians in the area live), has not been the beneficiary of federal development projects.

The Archbishop of Jos stressed that Nigeria is a country that is “multi-ethnic, multi-religious and complex in nature.” That is why, he concluded, “we must constantly appeal to the sensibilities of our political leaders not to be seen to promote the interest of any particular group, but to be neutral and seek the common things that will promote unity, fairness and equity in the country.”

Father, we pray for the Christians of Nigeria, so long besieged by opposition and violence, not only from Boko Haram, but also from the Fulani herdsmen. We pray especially that You will direct the hearts and minds of the political leaders to help promote development in Southern Kaduna and quell the conflict between the Fulani herdsmen and the (mostly) Christian famers. We pray that You will grant wisdom to the Christian farmers, that they may know what it means to respond biblically to these attacks. We pray that You will execute justice on their behalf and protect their ability to raise their crops. With the words of the Psalmist David in Psalm 10:17-18, we pray for fellow Christians in Southern Kaduna. “O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.” In the name of Jesus, who loves justice and has established equity. Amen.