The Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, has in a broadcast on Thursday, warned against any form of blockage of road by any group. Declaring this ban, the governor assured the people of Kaduna state that he will set up a judicial commission of inquiry into last weekend’s deadly clash between the Nigerian Army and members of the Shi’ia Islamic Movement, which left more than 60 people dead.
The governor who received the news about the Army/ Shiite clash few minutes after 3pm the same day it happened, said he has taken several steps to ensure that peace and quiet is restored in the state. He said he has heard from the two parties and has also been at the spot of the incident.“We have witnessed sad events in Zaria,” he said. “There have been tragic consequences and needless loss of lives, and we extend our condolences to the families that have been affected.”
Condemning the act perpetrated by the members of the sect, the governor explained that the law permits everyone to practice his fundamental right to their faiths and beliefs, but no one has any right to practice their faith in ways that diminish, distress or inconvenience others.
“No one can be allowed to justify unlawful and anti-social behaviour on the grounds of religion. 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”
Henceforth, 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, and 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.
Having said that, the governor assured his people that the government was committed to securing the state and upholding the rights of every citizen. He made it clear that his government is not ready to permit any act that will escalate lawlessness in the state. He therefore ordered civil security to continue with its aim of maintaining order in all nooks and crannies of the state. He also permitted the military to support in the patrol when necessary.
He further assured the people of Kaduna state that government will continue to invest heavily in the state’s security as a foundation for the successful execution of the its economic and social agenda to develop Kaduna State.
The governor said that those who will make up the judicial commission of inquiry and terms of reference of the commission would be announced within two weeks.
As the security operations in Zaria are wound-down, the Kaduna State Government is persuaded that it is vital, for reasons of accountability and transparency, that a factual and authoritative account of the events be painstakingly assembled. The Kaduna State Government has therefore decided that under the powers conferred on me by the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, 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. The government will act promptly on the conclusions of the inquiry, and forward recommendations requiring action by the Federal Government to Mr. President. Details of the composition and terms of reference of the judicial commission of inquiry would be made public within the next two weeks.
Swearing to uphold the constitution and protect fundamental human rights evenly, the governor urged his people to remain vigilant as they go about their normal activities, and to report any suspicions or concerns to the appropriate authorities.