Thousands of wailing villagers yesterday afternoon, thronged around 38 coffins bearing the corpses of victims killed by armed herdsmen in Madamai and Abum villages in Kaura LGA in Southern part of Kaduna state on the 27th, September, 2021.
The coffins which were brought to the village square of Mallagun, about 6Km from Ma’damai by the Kagoro-Samaru Kataf express way for a funeral mass, also inspired fiery speeches, as Kaduna State government and even serving government officials that are or Southern Kaduna origin shunned the event.
It could be recalled that Ma’damai and it’s smaller neighbor Abum, came under invasions of armed herdsmen last Sunday, leaving at least 38 people killed, 9 severely injured and 40 homes burnt.
The first attack on Ma’damai was on 15th August, 2021 in which 5 persons were killed and 26 houses burnt. No one has given reasons for the bloody crime.
After emotions were calmed, the funeral mass started around 2pm.
The Senator, Representing Kaduna South Senatorial Zone, Senator Danjuma Laah, in his message, said that it was left for the people of Southern Kaduna to decide whether they want to go into extinction or not.
“I have witnessed to many mass burials in Southern Kaduna,” he said. “There was a time we burried 134 people in various mass graves in 2 days,” he said without elaborating, “if you still think that there’s going to be a government that is going to defend you . . . well, I am sorry for you,” he told the huge crowd also made of political and Christian leaders from Southern Kaduna.
“This mass was organised for the world to see the kind of evil that has been visiting us and we have been burrying our kinsmen silently, just to await the next mass killings,” he said. “But this time, the world must see this and bear witness that we are under genocide. If we the leaders speak against it, we are branded haters of peace,” he observed.
The Catholic Bishop of Kafanchan Diocese Most Rev Julius Yakubu Kundi said that the elite and politicians from Southern Kaduna have betrayed their common people.
“These innocent, poor villagers lying in these coffins would have not been there if you our elites and politicians did what you should do. Because I know that you have the means of doing it, when you know that we have no one to protect us. But because of greed and lack of foresight, you have abandoned our people,” he said.
In his homily, Fr. Billiyok Joseph Abba, said, “the people that committed this heinous crime against this Christian community may have injured us physically, but our Faith in Jesus Christ remains unshakable.
“They have cut down the lives of these brethren, but they have only hastened them into martyrdom and immortality with our Maker,” he said.
He accused the federal and state government of not showing interest in solving the crime, which he described as pervasive.
“We must not be moved into the ways of the aggressors,” he said, “because the anger of our Lord would soon be unleashed on our enemies very soon,” he said.
But the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State Chapter, Rev. Joseph Hayab, took a different view from Abba.
“We have written enough petitions, wrote too many press statements, organised Press Conferences and held several protests. No one appears to read or see us,” he pointed out.
“The only time they will listen to us is if one day they enter a village and they are sorrounded and none of them comes out. That day, they will listen,” he said to the loud approval of the moaning crowd.
“The President of Southern Kaduna People Union (SOKAPU), Hon. Jonathan Asake on his part, said that there was a well designed agenda to chase out natives of Southern Kaduna from their communities and supplant a hostile, foreign one.
“As I stand here today, 104 of our communities in Southern Kaduna have been captured by armed herdsmen and thousands have been displaced with no consequence to the assialants.
“Our people are under a clear genocidal threat and the government must he held responsible for all these massacres,” he said.
Meanwhile,the Kaduna state government clearly avoided the ceremony as not a representative of the government was present.
Also, not a single serving government official, whether elected or appointed from Southern Kaduna was present at the event.
The caskets were later laid in a mass grave dug by an excavator at Madamai, amidst more wailing around 5pm.