Wants govt to set up enquiry board; reps to meet service chiefs

By Luka Binniyat, Emman Ovuakporie & Johnbosco Agbakwuru

KADUNA—The Sultan of Sokoto, Mohammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, President of the Jam’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, has commended the Federal Government for sending a fact-finding mission to Zaria, led by the Minister of the Interior, Lt Gen. Abdurahman Danbazzau over clash between the Nigeria Army and Shiite Islamic sect, which left several members of the sect killed.

The Sultan, however wants the Federal Governnment to set up a board of inquiry into the  bloody fracas, even as the sect accused the army of evacuating the corpses of its members deposited at the morgue of Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital and buried them in unknown mass graves.

The House of Representatives on its part has directed its relevant committees in charge of defence and security to meet with the top echelon of security agencies in the country to find out the cause of the clash between the army and the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria.

JNI, in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu in Kaduna yesterday on behalf of the Sultan described the clash as unfortunate, arguing that “restraint should always be exercised in the course of discharging one’s civil, official and /or religious duties.”

According to the statement, “Security agencies must operate within the internationally established convention of rules of engagement in the discharge of their duties. Excessive force should be avoided and lives be preserved and protected.

“Similarly, members of the public should always recognize and operate within the ambit of law and order as provided by the laws of the land as well as our religious texts.

Furthermore, JNI commends the Federal Government for instituting a fact finding delegation, under the leadership of the Minister of Interior, for an on the spot assessment, it also implores the Government to institute an enquiry into the Zaria upheaval, to unravel its remote and immediate causes, so as to forestall future occurrence.

The Shiite movement, in its own statement signed by its spokesman, Ibrahim Musa rejected the investigative panel set up by the Minister of Interior and headed by an Area Commander of the police in Zaria, arguing that “the AC being of a junior rank compared to the perpetrators of the attack on our members might not do justice to the issue, as it involves high ranking officers of the rank of a Lt. Gen.

“We hereby demand that a high-powered investigative panel headed by a high ranking officer should be constituted, whose members should include members of some human rights organisations and other highly respected elders of the country”.

 Reps to meet Service Chiefs

Also, the House of Representatives has directed its relevant committees to find out the cause of the clash with a view to finding lasting solutions.

Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrasak Namdas, told newsmen in Abuja yesterday, that the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara had told the committees to do a thorough job considering the sensitive nature of the matter and the security situation.

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