Second Term: El-Rufai Re-Appoints SSG, Others

A file photo of Governor Naris El-Rufai. Source: Twitter

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has re-appointed Mr Balarabe Lawal as Secretary to the State Government (SSG).

The spokesperson for the governor, Samuel Aruwan, announced this in a statement on Monday.

Lawal was first appointed as SSG by Governor El-Rufai in 2015, a position which he held till the end of the first tenure of the previous administration.

The governor also appointed two other senior officials of the state government to their first-term roles.

They are Dr Salisu Suleiman as Principal Private Secretary and Jimi Lawal as Senior Adviser-Counsellor.

Mr Lawal and Dr Suleiman were among the first set of appointees named by Governor El-Rufai before he was sworn in for the first tenure in May 2015.

The statement disclosed that several special assistants to the governor also retained their roles.

It added that Mr James Kanyip was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff in the office of the Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe.

Army Accuses Shiites Of Violence During Clash

Army-ShiitesThe Nigerian Army has accused members of the Shiites Islamic sect of attacking soldiers with dangerous weapons during the bloody clash between the Army and the Shiites in Zaria.

The Army stated this on Monday at the ongoing investigation into the clash by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the Kaduna State government.

During his submission before the commission, the General Officer Commanding, 1 Division, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, alleged that the Shiites attacked soldiers with dangerous weapons on that fateful day.

He added that the situation prompted his men to apply relative force in order to restore law and order in Zaria.

The GOC also explained why the Army did not notify the Police during the incident on December 12, 2015, before its arrest of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheik Ibrahim El Zakaky, since the matter is a civil one.

The Director General of Kaduna State Inter-Faith Agency, Namadi Musa, had told the commission that he received a total of 347 dead bodies for burial at Mando area in the outskirt of the state capital.

Conflicting Death Figures

Meanwhile at the ongoing investigation, differing figures of those allegedly killed in the incident are being presented, as the Nigerian Army could not give an actual figure.

A medical officer from the Nigerian Army Depot Medical Unit, who also played a major role in the burial of the deceased, Major Uche Agulanna, told the commission that contrary to the government’s disclosure that 347 corpses were buried in mass grave, he handed over few corpses to the representative of the state government.

When cross-examined by counsel to the commission to give the actual figure of the dead, Major Agulana said that he did not keep the record of the deaths as he was busy trying to save lives that were brought into the hospital.

 

Amnesty International had also alleged that the Army killed hundreds of men, women and children from a minority Shiite Muslim sect in December 2015.

The group claimed that more than 350 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria were believed to have been unlawfully killed by the military between December 12 and 14.

Amnesty International Accuses Army Of killing Over 350 Shiites

kaduna ShiitesAmnesty International says Nigeria’s army killed hundreds of men, women and children from a minority Shiite Muslim sect last December.

The group said more than 350 people were believed to have been unlawfully killed by the military between December 12 and 14.

Amnesty Director, Netsanet Belay, said: “It is clear that the military not only used unlawful and excessive force against men, women and children, unlawfully killing hundreds, but then made considerable efforts to try to cover-up these crimes”.

Amnesty said it carried out research in February 2016 during which 92 people were interviewed, including alleged victims and their relatives, eyewitnesses, lawyers and medical staff.

Army Denies Claims

The Nigerian army has denied the claims.

A spokesman for the military, Colonel Sani Usman, said the Amnesty report lacked credibility.

Colonel Usman said the report was a hasty, one-sided and biased report aimed at arriving at a predetermined objective.

“They must allow the inquiry and all other relevant agencies to complete and submit their reports before jumping to conclusions,” he insisted.

Amnesty’s report relates to events in the northern city of Zaria in Kaduna State where the Army has said the Islamic Movement in Nigeria tried to assassinate its Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, when members of the sect blocked his convoy.

The groups is making the claims, a week  after the Kaduna State government said no fewer than 347 dead bodies were given a mass burial after the violence clash between members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and the Nigerian Army which occurred in Zaria on December 12, 2015.

The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Balarabe Lawal, gave the testimony when he appeared before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the State government to investigate the cause of the incident.

Shiites-Army Clash: Kaduna State Govt Says Over 340 Bodies Buried

Army Shiites clashThe Kaduna State Government says no fewer than 347 dead bodies were given a mass burial after the violence clash between members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and the Nigerian Army which occurred in Zaria on December 12, 2015.

The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Balarabe Lawal, gave the testimony when he appeared before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the State government to investigate the cause of the incident.

Although members of the group have maintained that corpses of the victims were secretly buried at an unidentified cemetery by the Army, this is the first time the state government is giving an information about how the remains of the killed Shiites were disposed.

Members of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry investigating the December 2015 bloody clash held their session at the General Usman Katsina House, with submissions made by witnesses to the incident.

The commission has so far received submissions from the Nigerian Army, but Tuesday session featured some officials of the Kaduna State government led by the SSG.

While making his submission, Mr Lawal said that 191 corpses were taken from the Nigerian Army Depot, Zaria, and were later buried at Mando area in the outskirt of the state capital.

He further told the commission that another 156 corpses were also conveyed from the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Zaria, to the same Mando cemetery for mass burial.

The State government said the corpses were committed into a single grave at Mando and jointly supervised by the State government officials and about 40 men of the Nigerian Army.

The SSG informed the panel that 189 suspects were being prosecuted for alleged involvement in the Zaria clash while one of them died in custody.

On the alleged demolition of buildings and structures of the IMN leader, Sheik El-Zakzaky and other members, the SSG explained that the buildings were demolished because they did not meet up government’s approved building safety standards.

Counsels to the commission, JNI and Nigerian Army cross examined the SSG on the submission.

Another witness and Director-General, Kaduna State Interfaith Agency, Namadi Musa, who claimed he supervised the burial, said the corpses were buried on December 14 and 15 respectively, and that the mass burial was authorised through a warrant of burial obtained from a Chief Magistrates Court in the state capital,

Another witness, a representative of the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Professor Adamu Ahmed, who is the Deputy Chief Medical Director, narrated how armed soldiers invaded the hospital, prevented the workers from discharging their duties and also carted away corpses from the hospital’s mortuary.

The Justice Muhammed Lawal-Garba’s panel also received submissions from the Izala Islamic group and the Gyellesu Community in Zaria.

Shiites Funded By Iranian Government

The elder brother of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, Muhammad Sani Yaqoob, in his submission, commended the actions taken by the Nigerian Army in the December clash between soldiers and the Shiites in Zaria which he said was caused by the group who blocked the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff.

Speaking in Hausa language, he alleged that the movement got funding from the Iranian government, and had been harassing and intimidating residents of Zaria and Kaduna state over the years.

Although members of the Islamic movement in Nigeria and their lawyers have withdrawn further appearance before the panel, a statement issued by their spokesman after the proceedings, said the recent revelations made by Kaduna State government through the SSG had clearly vindicated them from any wrong doing.

The public hearing will continue for the next three weeks and members of the public are anxiously awaiting the outcome and recommendations that would be made by the commission.

Tribunal Upholds El-Rufai’s Victory As Kaduna State Governor

el-rufaiThe Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Kaduna State has upheld the election of Nasir El-Rufai of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the elected Governor of the state.

The All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate in the April 11 Governorship election, Polycarp Gankon, had on May 28, 2015 approached the tribunal, asking it to set aside the election because of non-compliance of the Electoral Act, exclusion of his party from form EC8 in several polling units and wards in seven Local Government Councils of the state.

The petitioner also alleged that there was massive ballot box stuffing and exaggerated results by the APC during the election, thereby asking the three-man tribunal to nullify the election in the affected local councils.

But in an unanimous judgement that lasted for six hours, Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Adebayo Adebara, held that the petitioner had not mustered enough evidence to prove his allegations of electoral malpractice and irregularity.

He said that the allegations of exclusion of of the petitioner’s party name and logo in form EC8 during the election, as well as falsification of results, were criminal in nature and needed to be proved beyond all reasonable doubt.

The Chairman noted that the petitioner had failed to provide enough proof that would warrant the granting of his prayers to nullify the election based on the mere fact that his party’s name and logo were excluded from the Form EC8 and allegations of exaggerated results.

Though the tribunal didn’t grant the APGA candidate’s plea to nullify the election because of non compliance, exclusion and falsification of election results, as well as order a re-run, it canceled results in some wards of the seven Local Governments.

However, after canceling results of APC in the affected wards of the LGAs, Justice Adebara declared El-Rufai the winner of the April governorship election.

In his reaction after the verdict, Counsel to the petitioner, Olumiyiwa Olowokure, said he would consult with his client to decide on the next line of action.

He however noted that some of the issues raised in the judgement are appealable, adding that the judegment is just the first step.

The Counsel to Governor El-Rufai, Omokayode Dada, hailed the verdict, describing it as fair.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai, who was represented at the court by Secretary to Kaduna State Government, Balarabe Lawal, described the judgement as victory to democracy and rule of law, adding that the judgement has therefore proved that the the people of the state actually voted for the APC during the election.

Northern Governors Inaugurate Committee To Identify Boko Haram Sponsors

Boko HaramThe Northern Governors Forum, has inaugurated the committee on the Review of Criminal Justice System with a mandate to identify the sponsors of the Boko Haram sect and ensure their prosecution.

Inaugurating the committee in Kaduna State on Friday, Chairman of the forum and Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, said that the days of the Boko Haram insurgents were numbered as the military have dislodged them from their strongholds in the northeast.

He expressed confidence of victory against the terrorist group because of the commitment shown by the Federal Government and the professional manner the military kicked the group out of their strongholds.

Governor Shettima, while explaining that the Boko Haram insurgents have been decimated tremendously by troops, lamented that terrorism and other related crimes in the region have continued to increase due to the absence of an effective uniformed legal framework to deal with perpetrators of such criminal acts in the region.

Therefore, among the committee’s terms of reference is to identify the sponsors of the Boko Haram insurgents and come up with appropriate punishment against such persons and to also review the current penal code with a view to identifying its weaknesses and challenges in the overall administration of justice in the region, among others.

According to the Northern Governors, the criminal justice system that is being used in the region presently, is the one that was inherited from the colonial masters.

The system was outdated and no longer in conformity with the current security challenges.

The committee was advised to ensure that the new criminal justice system is in conformity with the 1999 Constitution as amended, as well as any Act of the National Assembly.

The Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Bala Bantex, who represented Governor Nasir El-Rufai, expressed optimism that the challenges posed by insecurity would be reduced to the barest minimum if there are effective laws in place to deal with perpetrators of such crimes.

A member of the newly inaugurated committee and SSG of Kaduna State, Balarabe Lawal, gave the assurance that the committee would cover all the terms of reference given to them by the governors.

The committee was given two months to complete the assignment.

Days Of Boko Haram Are Numbered – Northern Governors

Boko HaramThe Northern Governors Forum, has said that the days of the Boko Haram insurgents are numbered as they will soon be wiped out.

Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, said this in Kaduna on Friday during the inauguration of the committee on the Review of the Criminal justice system of Northern Nigeria.

He, however, expressed confidence of victory against the terrorist group because of the commitment shown by the Federal Government and the professional manner the military kicked the group out of their strongholds.

Governor Shettima, while explaining that the Boko Haram insurgents have been decimated tremendously by troops, lamented that terrorism and other related crimes in the region have continued to increase by the day due to the absence of an effective uniformed legal framework to deal with perpetrators of such criminal acts in the region.

Among their terms of reference, is to identify the sponsors of the Boko Haram insurgents and come up with appropriate punishment against such persons and to also review the current penal code with a view to identifying its weaknesses and challenges in the overall administration of justice in the region among others.

According to the Northern Governors, the criminal justice system that is being used in the region presently, is the one that was inherited from the colonial masters.

The system was outdated and is no longer in conformity with the current security challenges.

They advised that the new Criminal Justice System must be in conformity with the 1999 Constitution as amended, as well as any Act of the National Assembly.

The Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Bala Bantex, who represented Governor Nasir El-Rufai, expressed optimism that the challenges posed by insecurity would be reduced to the barest minimum if there are effective laws in place to deal with perpetrators of such crimes.

 

El-Rufai To Conduct Comprehensive Audit On Kaduna Expenditure

el-rufaiKaduna State Governor-elect, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, says his government will carry out a comprehensive audit of all expenditures by the outgoing administration, as soon as it settles down for governance after May 29 handover.

Mr El-Rufai clarified that the measure would enable his administration recover funds that might have allegedly been stolen by top officials of the outgoing administration in the state.

Speaking when he received the interim report of the state All Progressive Congress (APC) Transition Committee, the Governor-elect described the 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led government as a disaster and one that almost succeeded in sending the state into the grave through its maladministration, corrupt leadership and unpopular policies.

He explained how Kaduna State, which was the former capital of Northern Nigeria, lost its glory under the PDP led government from 1999 till date, due to bad governance.

Mr El-Rufai, however, assured the residents of the state that he would restore the state back to its former form, emphasising that the people of Kaduna needed a leadership that would show concern for their welfare and not selfish leaders whose stock in trade was only to enrich their pockets at the detriment of public good.

Lauding the committee for a job well done, he told them that they would be given tough assignments in the nearest future. The Governor-elect also urged them not to turn down such requests.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the Transition Committee, Balarabe Lawal, told the Governor-elect that critical information from ministries, departments and agencies of government were not provided by the outgoing government.

He advised that the incoming administration in the state must enforce some strong policies and determination, if it must achieve the much needed change for the state.

The Transition committee was set up by Mr Nasir El-Rufai on April 23, 2015, to ascertain the financial status of Kaduna State and over a month after, the committee presented its report to the Governor-elect.

The interim report is intended to provide information on some progress and challenges facing the outgoing administration, and also provide a road map for the new government.