Bandits got N.4bn as ransom in Southern Kaduna in 2020 – SOKAPU President

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The President, Southern Kaduna Peoples’ Union (SOKAPU), Jonathan Asake, says the people of the area have paid N400 million as ransom after being kidnapped by bandits in 2020.

Asake disclosed this in an interview published by Saturday Sun, quoting the Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

Aside the ransom paid, he said, 111 communities were displaced, while 65 churches and 27 schools were shut due to the activities of bandits.

The SOKAPU President revealed that his brother was kidnapped and N4 million was paid to secure his release.

He accused the Nasir el-Rufai-led Kaduna State Government of promoting an “evil agenda” against his people through its “body language, utterances and actions, secretly and openly”.

Commenting on the security situation in Southern Kaduna, the SOKAPU President said, “Things are getting worse by the day and no genuine response is coming from the government.

“Ignore anyone that paints otherwise pictures, perhaps, such persons may have been contracted by the government to do so for whatever political reasons.

“Instructively, 90 percent of communities in local governments where the Gbagi people are, have been displaced. Those that are still staying in the communities have been enslaved and are being taxed to the bandits. The people pay tax to the terrorists so they could be allowed to stay in the ancestral land.

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“Shortly before Christmas, we visited Gwagwada town in Chikun Local Government Area (LGA) with relief items. We met with the displaced people and they told us pathetic stories of their life.

“You can imagine that, for them to be allowed to spend Christmas peacefully, they were taxed N3 million. Because they had no option, they taxed themselves and paid the money to the Fulani terrorists.

“Otherwise, they would have been attacked during Christmas. There are 24 displaced communities taking refuge in Sarkin power, which is between Kaduna and Niger state.

“We couldn’t reach some of them with relief items during Christmas because of obvious dangers of visiting such locations. We suggested that they come out which they did and collected the food items,” Asake said.

He alleged that the bandits were out to displace the people and take over their lands, vowing that such would never be allowed to happen.

Giving an update on data of destroyed communities that he earlier said was being collated, Asake said, “The report of the exercise is pathetic.

“It was discovered that from January 1st to December 2020, there was hardly a day without attack on our people in addition to houses that were burnt, even with periodic curfew, these attacks happened.

“In Southern Kaduna, bandits, mostly Fulani herdsmen move freely with rifles and other weapons.

“The kidnapping in Kaduna has become the order of the day. The number of deaths and destructions continue to rise on daily basis.

“However, there are indigenous rural Christian communities of Southern Kaduna that have been sacked by rampaging armed Fulani militia and displaced to various places and IDP camps in 2020. These villages are now under the full occupation of Fulani herdsmen, some for over a year.

“There are 32 communities displaced in Kachia LGA; 24 in Kajuru LGA; 56 in Chikun and several other LGAs. The report, which contains record of daily attacks and destructions is available.

“The invasions, kidnapping and killings are happening on daily basis and only those reported to SOKAPU are documented.

“In the eastern part of Chikun LGA, 27 Schools have been shut and all the churches, around 65, have been shut down too.

“According to Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State Chapter, over N400 million has been paid to kidnappers as ransom by these impoverished communities.”

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