The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) yesterday chided Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai for allegedly being incapable of maintaining peace in the state.
It, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency in Kaduna State.
MBF accused the governor of making utterances that encourage bandits to intensify abductions in the state.
“More than any time, Governor el-Rufai has continued to provoke bandits through unguarded utterances that have further enraged them to unleash more terror attacks on various communities,” the forum said in a statement by its National President, Dr. Pogu Bitrus.
The group stated that despite El-Rufai’s refusal to negotiate with kidnappers: “he has also not done anything to secure these weak communities against further attacks by bandits.”
“Arising from the glaring failures by Governor el-Rufai to protect lives and property, we are calling on President Buhari to declare a state of emergency on Kaduna State as the governor has shown gross incapacity to maintain peace,” the MBF added.
Besides, it called on security forces to collaborate with vigilante groups in the attacked communities to track down the bandits that have “declared war on the people.”
The forum said the most disturbing was the recent abduction of over 120 students of Bethel Baptist High School in Damishi and the attitude of el-Rufai towards ending the security challenges facing the state.
The the statement added: ”Most disturbing is the recent abduction of students of Bethel Baptist High School in Damishi which is located on the outskirts of Kaduna. These minors are still being held captive in the forest with no food, shelter or medication.
“This new wave of attacking schools by the bandits appears to be in the agenda of Boko Haram and is aimed at frustrating the education of future generations upon whose shoulders lie the future greatness of our nation.
“The most worrisome is the attitude of Governor El-Rufai towards tackling the security challenges confronting the state. Communities across various local government areas in the state have come under unending severe attacks resulting in gruesome massacres, raping of women, destruction of property, incessant kidnappings made worse by huge payments of ransom to secure release of abducted persons and displacement of thousands of people out of their homelands.
“More worrisome is the fact that attacks by these killer herdsmen and kidnappers on defenceless communities have led to massive displacement of people from their ancestral lands, thereby creating a catastrophic humanitarian crisis situation and rendering farmers unable to access their farmlands for agricultural activities.
“Current attacks on schools have also led to the withdrawal of pupils and students from schools or outright closure of such schools. The negative consequences of these on education and food security can only be imagined.
“On the other hand, kidnappers have taken over all the routes linking Kaduna State to other parts of the country where they have continued to unleash terror on road users.”