Kaduna State Government to set up Judicial Commission of Inquiry over Zaria Clash – Bans Procession over Highways and Public Facilities

A judicial commission of inquiry is to be established into the recent security incidents in Zaria. This was disclosed in a state broadcast by the Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai. The governor said that the composition and terms of reference of the commission of inquiry will be announced within two weeks. He assured the people of the state that the government is committed to securing the state and upholding the rights of every citizen.

In an address to the people of Kaduna State on Thursday, 17 December 2015, Malam El-Rufai provided an update on the Zaria clash and the events that preceded what he described as a tragedy. “We have witnessed sad events in Zaria,” the governor said. “There have been tragic consequences and needless loss of lives, and we extend our condolences to the families that have been affected.” El-Rufai disclosed that “in this sombre moment, the government has directed that steps be taken to address the humanitarian fallouts of the security operations.”

The governor stressed that “everyone has a 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.” He therefore announced that “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.”

Enumerating what the government had learnt from security reports regarding the events in Zaria, the governor highlighted the facts that are known, as well as complaints and allegations that have been made. He explained that the Kaduna State is persuaded that the interests of accountability and transparency are best served by a judicial commission of inquiry that will allow all claims to be tested with judicial rigour. The commission of inquiry is to be set up under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act. It will examine the immediate and remote causes of the Zaria incident, and assemble a factual and authoritative account that the government can study and act upon.

The governor further added that he will not tolerate any escalation of lawlessness, insisting that “the government continues to invest heavily in security as a foundation for the successful execution of our economic and social agenda to develop Kaduna State.”

Noting that Kaduna State has endured too many upheavals in its recent history, the governor asked for a collective stance for peace. “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.”

The governor reassured citizens that they can go about their normal activities, but he urged vigilance and prompt reporting of any suspicions. He concluded the broadcast with a plea for peace, saying “let us all redouble our commitment to sustaining the peace, and to uphold each other in our God-given humanity.”

Signed

Samuel Aruwan

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