Entertainment entrepreneur speaks on Southern Kaduna killings

Audu Maikori speaks about his own side of things in the Fulani Herdsmen killings in Southern Kaduna.

Audu Maikori, President Chocolate City Group

Maikori apologised for tweeting an old photo that had nothing to do with the Southern Kaduna crisis but later explained that he is in possession of the real pictures.

In his lengthy letter, the Chocolate City boss maintained that his version of events was correct and counter stories were fake.

Audu Maikori outlined his involvement with the Kaduna State Government and his campaign is to seek justice and not for selfish reasons.

You can read his letter below;

"Dear Fellow Nigerians,

You may be aware of the ongoing engagement on social media where two main allegations were made against me, the first was about my posting fake pictures on social media about the Southern Kaduna killings in my article titled “Not a very merry Christmas for the people of Southern Kaduna” and the second being the killing of Simon my driver’s younger brother James Joseph a 26-year-old student of the College of Education Gidan Waya, Kaduna.

Let me address the first matter, the tweet in question did have a picture which was the least gory of the ones sent to me but in all honesty, I didn’t know the picture was an Internet picture because I was sent dozens of pictures to select from.

To be clear the picture in question was meant to draw the attention of people to the main post, which is on my Facebook page –all of the pictures in the main post are actual pictures of the Southern Kaduna Killings. Shortly after posting the pictures, several parents called me and asked that I remove the gory ones because of children who may come across it on my timeline- which I did.

So I sincerely apologise for posting a picture, which I erroneously believed to have been original and many of us are guilty of such mistakes when you have a barrage of pictures to choose from.

Nevertheless I have attached real and verified pictures of the carnage in Southern Kaduna, which are definitely gorier than the one I erroneously posted- I apologise as the pictures will be quite graphic but I feel I there is a need to present all the facts.

On the second matter, I have released a video of my driver recounting what transpired. This video was recorded on the morning of the 23rd of January 2017, thereafter I tweeted the facts as conveyed to me while simultaneously making arrangements for my driver to travel the following day for his brother's burial. I sent messages of this occurrence to Senator Laah Danjuma, Sunny Katung; the House of Representatives member from my constituency and several other Southern Kaduna leaders to alert them of what had transpired even before I tweeted it. The story was picked and published by the Vanguard newspaper on the morning of the 24th of January 2017.

Yesterday the 26th of January 2017, the Internet went agog with news that the story was false and even produced a letter which ostensibly was from the College of Education itself purporting that no students were killed, the school wasn’t in session and that the Vanguard had peddled and perpetrated false news. The letter is curious on three main points:

Firstly, the article by the Vanguard was published on the 24th of January 2017, yet the letter from the school was written and dated the 23rd of January 2017! Meaning they pre-empted the Vanguard story a whole 24hrs before it went live!

The second point is the level of efficiency of the College of Education in being able to carry out a census of all its students, even though the school was on break and (on the very same day the matter was reported to them), they were still able to ascertain that no student was killed. Please note that my driver only heard of his brother’s death the previous night.

Lastly, the letter was not signed and the letter has no reference number meaning that any decent typist in a business centre could have written same- this is what I suspect happened here. To what end? To discredit me as the leading voice that is speaking up against the pogrom in Kaduna.

This matter brings to fore the real situation in our county that government is so besotted with keeping up appearances that they don’t mind that human beings are being degraded and killed on the daily. Even if only one person was killed, shouldn’t we all be concerned? Shouldn’t we feel outraged? Shouldn’t we be seeking solutions to end it once and for all?

Since then untoward characters have deployed the usual twitter overlords to damage and tarnish my reputation by suggesting that I was paid to create chaos with my advocacy on the Southern Kaduna killings. They alleged that I am doing this for my selfish reasons and for my gain, but the question is what is this gain? I am a son of Kaduna with substantial investments in the state, why would I deliberately stoke the flames of discord, which would indirectly place my family and business at risk?

Prior to this recent incident, I have had a fairly good relationship with the Governor of Kaduna himself and his team, knowing him to be a fair and hospitable man. Over the past year, I have worked closely with his team on projects aimed at creating jobs and opportunities for the people of Kaduna State.

For instance, I was part of the Kaduna Economic and Investment forum in 2016 and spoke at one of their panels about investment opportunities in the state. In October 2016, the Kaduna State Executive Council approved our proposed Kaduna Creative and Media City- probably the first of its kind in Africa, which is targeted to create over 10,000 jobs for the people of the state over five years through a PPP model.

On the 1st of December 2016, I chaired a team that organised the first ever Southern Kaduna Economic Summit, which held in Sabo, Kaduna State and the KDSG, as usual, was very supportive.

The Deputy Governor was represented by his Chief of Staff; The Economic adviser to the Governor attended, two commissioners, and top management including the SA Media to the Governor attended. In the summit, we enlightened people of the various opportunities in agriculture, solid minerals and enterprise being promoted by the government and the crucial role of PPP in developing Kaduna.

The point of the above is to state that I have never had any personal or business issues with the Governor or his team.

So if anyone is of the belief that I am doing this for some selfish reason, they should note that I have much more to lose than gain by calling out the government over its failure to secure the lives of my people. I chose to speak out so we could draw the attention of the government to the dire situation.

So contrary to what is being said, I had/have a lot to lose both personally and financially by speaking up about the crises instead of keeping quiet like most people did. But I couldn’t be quiet; I couldn’t bear to see the suffering that the people were going through, so after attending several meetings and consultations, I realized that there was almost intentional plan to suppress the carnage going on in Southern Kaduna. So I decided to write – because I didn’t want to be misinterpreted I wrote out a very detailed paper chronicling events as they happened.

Why am I writing this? Because when Maryam Abubakar the Special Adviser to the Governor tweeted this morning that I “tell lies for my selfish reason” I was taken aback considering she was part and parcel of all negotiations we had in respect of the media city and if I was a liar I wouldn’t have been chosen to partner with the state government on such a very important project that is meant for the betterment of the people of the state.

Prior to this some people had called to warn me that the government was upset about my statements and I had shrugged it off because as far as I knew the Governor /government based on our relationship -would simply consider my statements as that of a concerned citizen trying to bring attention to a brewing matter and not view me as a trouble maker. In my way I was trying to help. But clearly, this was misconstrued to mean I was fighting against the KDSG. So interestingly, instead of my Fulani brothers to be at the lead of my attack – it was social media paid hands from south west that chose to attack me instead of attacking the matter of the deaths of hundreds of people.

This point is key, we are talking about hundreds of deaths and thousands of displaced citizens while the anti Audu campaign was solely worried about one picture that they claimed was on the internet. Has it come to this Nigeria? That we no longer care about our brothers and sisters but rather play politics with everything in spite of the fact that we are suffering? That our people both Fulani and from Southern Kaduna are dying?

Finally, I recently started a campaign called #RebuildingSouthernKaduna and my intention was clear; I wanted us to move on from the hate and begin to seek peace. Indeed I had also reached out to a few Fulani brothers to broker a meeting to see how we can resume peace talks to help us move from the rhetoric of killings to peace, to move from counting how many houses were razed to how many new roofs we can raise, from pointing accusatory fingers at each other to shaking hands with one another and this is the spirit we need right now.

I never quite understood that my heartfelt intentions were being read as political and capable of destabilizing the government. I have no regrets whatsoever, and where I have erred I apologize but I will not stop speaking my truth, I will not stop speaking up for people who do not have a voice.

Let’s us not be distracted with the noise, people are being killed every day and we still call on the government to do their constitutional duty of protecting lives and security.

God bless Nigeria

Audu Maikori"

On December 26, 2016 Audu Maikori penned an open and painful letter about the silent "genocide" going on in southern Kaduna.

The lawyer and poet in his letter stated that over 300 people have been killed by Fulani herdsmen in southern Kaduna. He also mentioned that over 4,000 families have been displaced because of the violence.


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