Impeachment Saga: Kaduna Assembly suspends former Deputy Speaker, 2 others…Demands prosecution of promoters

By Charles Kumolu

Following the call by the Supreme Council of Sharia in Nigeria, SCSN, for the execution of Major-General Zamani Lekwot ,retd, and other Southern Kaduna leaders for peace to return in the area, Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, SOKAPU, has said the call has foreclosed all windows of hope for peace and security, describing it as a manifestation of hate speech.

It also said those behind the demand do not want an end to the ongoing killings in Southern Kaduna.

Briefing newsmen last Thursday, SCSN, had said the pardon granted to Lekwot, the late Maj. James Kude and others sentenced to death for the 1992 Zangon Kataf crisis is responsible for the recurring crises in Southern Kaduna.

Execution

Consequently, they demanded the execution of the retired former military governor of Rivers State and his kinsmen, who were pardoned by the late Gen Sani Abacha in 1995.

Reacting to the call, SOKAPU said the promoters confirmed its claim of a predetermined agenda against the people of Southern Kaduna.

In a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Luka Biniyat, the umbrella body of Southern Kaduna natives, said those behind the demand should be prosecuted for making a hate speech.

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The statement reads: “The press conference of the Supreme Council of Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN) in which its Secretary,  AbdullRaman called for the execution of retired General Zamani Lekwot and other Atyap chiefs as a panacea to the ongoing genocide against the indigenes of Southern Kaduna, is just one of the several press outings by some Hausa and Fulani Muslim groups churning out an already established agenda against our peace-loving people.

Slaughtered

“It is not enough that hundreds of our harmless, innocent indigenes of Southern Kaduna are slaughtered in their sleep, hundreds kidnapped, Churches and homes looted and burnt and scores of communities taken over by Fulani armed men. That is not enough to appease rampaging members of SCNS. The blood of our leaders must be added before they stop the massacre. This obtuse arrogance must stop.

“The SCNC and the promoter of this insidious plot are making naked their murderous hate not only for Lekwot and Southern Kaduna but for peace, justice and the general wellbeing of Kaduna State and entire Nigeria.

“Lekwot, whose name conjures fear and extremely negative emotions in them, has come to symbolise the centuries-old defiance of our people to domination, suppression and exploitation by settler groups and their powerful kinsmen outside Southern Kaduna.

“Sadly, their call for his execution is closing all windows of hope for peace and security to our traumatised people and instead stoking up tension. This call is an act of terrorism on its own and must be condemned. All those making such an extreme hate demand should be prosecuted for hate speech and incitement. But nothing will happen to them. Let a Christian group make such a provocative demand and see the immediate consequences.

Judgement

“For the avoidance of doubt, in the wake of the 1992 Zangon Kataf disturbances, Lekwot, who was in Kaduna town, over 200km from Zangon Kataf town, was arrested alongside 15 Atyap elders and leaders. Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida promulgated Decree 55 of 1992.

“It was a strange and bizarre decree. It was under this decree that a kangaroo tribunal headed by the late Justice Benedict Okadigbo was set up. According to powers vested on the Decree, all of its outcomes could not be challenged by any superior court. Not even the Supreme Court.

This caused national outrage and total condemnation. From the onset, the outcome of the tribunal was predetermined. The proceedings of the tribunal in which only Atyap leaders were on trial were crude and shameful to the extent that the lead counsel to the Atyap leaders, G.O.K Ajayi withdrew in protest. As predicted, Lekwot and the Atyap leaders were sentenced to death.

After worldwide anger against the judgement and several legal tussles, the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

“In 1995, Gen. Sani Abacha, reviewed their case, decided that the man and his kinsmen were unfairly treated and granted them state pardon with other Atyap leaders.

This act of fairness still incensed the enemies of Atyap land and Southern Kaduna. It is worthy of note here, that despite the clear involvement of Hausa settlers of Zangon Kataf town, not a single one was put on trial. It was their Atyap long time hosts that suffered the humiliation and injustice after also losing loved ones in the 1992 crisis.”

In what way did Lekwot evade justice? SOKAPU, therefore, wishes to warn those calling for the execution of Gen. Lekwot that they are calling for the execution of peace in Kaduna State and Nigeria.”

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