Before You Crucify Prof. Chidi Odinkalu ,By Dr. John Danfulani

Chidi_Odinkalu_516823647On Tuesday 9th September 2014, I updated my Facebook wall with a picture of the Chairman of the country’s human rights commission visit to Sheik Zakzaky in Zaria. Prof. Anslem Chidi Odinkalu went in respect of the 2014 QUDS day massacre of Zakzaky’s sons and members by Nigeria Army. In ensuing ding dong, many Southern Kaduna people asked, ” when is he going to Southern Kaduna?”. If one is to infer and attach beneath meanings of their rhetorical posers, the comments were simply a pack of accusation of not according the people of Bondong, Attakar, and Fadan Karshi ( all in Southern Kaduna) attention like the one he showered Sheik Zakzaky and his people.
Lest we forget, a few hours after the incidence, Centrum Initiative for Fundamental Rights Advocacy (CEDRA) along with numerous local and international Human Rights advocacy groups petitioned his commission and other global groups charged with monitoring and reporting gross violations of rights of citizens. His visit wasn’t unconnected with several petitions he got on the issue.
Let us cruise down the memory lane. The first major assault in Southern Kaduna was in Attakar Kaura Local Government Area on 30th March, 2013. A few days later, CEDRA visited Internally Displaced Persons Camps with relief materials. After assessing the situation on ground, we addressed the world and posted pictures of women and kids suffering in those “hidden camps”.
When our story went out, Prof. Chidi connected with us, and demanded for a full report of the horror. Since we don’t have a full insight of the hilly billy area and the history of most of the disputed hills, we connected with Barrister James Kanyip who is a son of the soil. He wrote a nice report for us, we supported it with pictures and what we saw in the camps, and submitted it to Nigeria Human Rights Commission in Abuja. We checked on him through writing reminders because we demanded a full investigation by his body.
On 16th September 2013 I got a called from Prof. Chidi’s link in Kaduna telling me he will be in town the next day, and he will like to see our group. He honoured his appointment on 17th September 2013. We briefed him and tabled our demands, once more. He granted our requests and undertook to visit Southern Kaduna by December of 2013 with some of his Commission Staff. That, we will be invited to come along when a date is set. I don’t know whether Prof. Chidi made it in December of 2013. But I was told he went in 2014. He didn’t honour his words of inviting us, but we are happy he went with other Southern Kaduna groups and persons good for his mission.
After his visit, Bondong and Fadan Karshi incidences occurred. CEDRA addressed the world and repeated its long-standing position that; there is systemic genocide in Southern Kaduna and a State of Emergency be declared in that belt by the federal government to avoid the Rwandan experience . We wore a stone face on administrative and physical security management by the C-in-C and the Governor of Kaduna State.
Prof. Chidi is heading a commission recognised local and internationally. His commission has set-rules governing their operations. I don’t know, but somehow think it’s true that one of the many ways they get involved in an issue is through official complaint(s) lodged by individuals and groups. Let me ask; how many groups or persons officially wrote his commission on Bondong or Fadan Karshi? Which community association that was ever attacked, officially wrote his commission? Who amongst Southern Kaduna’s lawmakers made it to his office or table same before committee on human rights and insist they take a field tour of the area?
Back to Zakzaky, how many petitions were written by him and other local and international rights groups? Zakzaky and his group took a stand and insisted that justice must be done . And resolved: will fight until justice is done. That was Zakzaky and his group, a people who knows their rights and insisting on enjoying them.
Back to southern Kaduna. Which group took such a stand after those incidences? I even want to know whether SOKAPU had time to officially write the commission . After the Bondong massacre, SOKAPU called for a protest, some of us went- just to see only the National President and Youth Leaders. The rest refused to show up. Is that the best way of showcasing seriousness?
Who on earth is deceiving Southern Kaduna people that others are responsible for advancing and protecting their interest in this dysfunctional 1914 amalgamated political geography called Nigeria? Nigeria is a deaf and blind clime, what makes them think others are seeing what is happening to them? Do Southern Kaduna have a single rights advocacy group and activist with a pedigree that can jet to Hague and drop their claims of genocide ? Lawyers from Southern Kaduna have a union, what have they done regarding collecting alibi and preparing a text for submission to relevant bodies like Prof. Chidi’s commission ? They have well known clergymen, who among them took time and talk on Southern Kaduna case locally or internationally? CEDRA started after 15th December 2012, who amongst the whole elites has ever supported its programmes? Who amongst the very successful Southern Kaduna has invested a dime in the electronic and print media?
Southern Kaduna shouldn’t blame others for their palavers,please. The quagmire is within. If they want people to take them serious, they must first show that they are a serious people who know what they want in Nigeria and can do everything legally possible to get it. I can’t understand how a people that their population is more than some countries and many States in Nigeria wouldn’t put their house in order for good.

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