Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
These are highlights of the speech of Kaduna State Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai on the crisis in Zaria between Shias and the Nigerian Army.
We extend our condolences to the families that have been affected.
The State Government are carrying out after action review of the theatre of operations with a view to compensating those whose vehicles, real property and other assets were damaged as a result.
The Kaduna State Government have been informed that on Saturday, 2015 December 12, the convoy of the Chief Of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, reported an ambush and attempted assassination at a roadblock mounted by members of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky’s Islamic Movement Of Nigeria ~IMN.
Clashes broke out as soldiers mounted operations to repel the attack, remove the obstruction to a major public highway, and to contain and arrest the perpetrators.
When the security agencies sent reports of the clash to me a little after 15:00 hours on that day, I initiated steps that I thought could calm the situation.
I called Ibrahim El-Zakzaky on the phone to get his side of the story, and thereafter visited Zaria for on-the-spot briefing and assessment and visited the Chief Of Army Staff.
We have also seen video clips aired on national television and online to show the extent to which the Nigerian Army tried to reason with the persons that were intent on obstructing a public highway.
There had been tension in parts of Zaria since Thursday, 2015 December 10, when members of IMN were alleged to have attacked Gabari, a community on the outskirts of Zaria, in continuation of a dispute over a Mosque.
Like the previous attack, this second assault on Gabari took three lives.
The alleged bone of contention was that the El-Zakzaky movement wanted to take over a Mosque they did not build in Gabari.
The Mosque had been sealed by the authorities following the collapse of the arrangements that had enabled various sects to amicably share its usage.
In the last two weeks, the IMN have illegally occupied federal roads.
Over a period of four days, they took over one side of the federal expressway between Kaduna and Zaria, and the roads to Kano and Katsina.
They entered schools along these routes, using them as rest and recreation points without notice or permission or any concern about the disruption of academic activities.
Following the Zaria incident, Shiite members of IMN have tried to upset the peace in parts of Kaduna.
Security forces have responded firmly to the situation in the Tudun Wada area of Kaduna Metropolis.
Violent actions by sect members on Tuesday, 2015 December 15 included the use of Molotov cocktails and petrol bombs against the security forces.
The Kaduna State Government are persuaded that it is vital, for reasons of accountability and transparency, that a factual and authoritative account of the events be painstakingly assembled.
We have therefore decided that a Judicial Commission of Inquiry will be established to examine the remote and immediate causes of the Zaria incident.
This inquiry will be open and will enable all allegations and claims to be tested with judicial rigour.
Details of the composition and terms of reference of the judicial commission of inquiry would be made public within the next two weeks.
Government reiterate that we cannot permit an escalation of lawlessness.
We all should jointly say no to actions that divide people, reject conduct that ignores or violates the legal and constitutional rights of others and oppose practices that contest the prerogatives of state institutions to safeguard and protect every citizen.
Only conduct that conforms to the Constitution and the laws of the country is valid, and it is the duty of the state to vigorously enforce that.
No responsible leader or institution should teach their followers differently.
No person or group, under any guise will be allowed to block any road, obstruct public highways, occupy public facilities or inconvenience citizens in Kaduna State.
Anybody that needs to march may do so, but they cannot take over public facilities or disrupt social services and commercial activities in Kaduna State.
Any march or procession can be undertaken only with the prior knowledge of, and protection of the police to prevent the breakdown of law and order.