Northern State Governors, Monarchs Meet Over Meningitis Outbreak

Northern State Governors, Monarchs Meet Over Meningitis OutbreakAn emergency meeting of State Governors and traditional rulers of the 19 northern states of the country has been held in Kaduna State.

The meeting was convened on Tuesday to discuss ways of tackling the meningitis outbreak that has claimed over 400 lives across Nigeria, most of them from the region.

The meeting, which was organised by the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, seeks alternative ways of importing vaccines for the treatment of meningitis victims, and prevent further spread of the killer disease in the region.

Declaring the meeting open, the Sultan of Sokoto, who was represented by the Emir of Zazzau, Shehu Idris, called on the Federal and State governments to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to strengthen primary healthcare system in the country.

He said the traditional rulers would support government’s effort in ensuring that the people get the needed medical attention to contain the spread of the disease.

“The traditional rulers of Nigeria, in coordination with stakeholders, will do all that is humanly possible to assist in ensuring that our people and members of communities are given the appropriate medical attention promptly, to avoid the outbreak of meningitis.

“Let me use this opportunity to call on the Federal, State and Local governments to put all hands on deck to ensure that appropriate measures are taken, to give the necessary prevention by way of immunisation and preventive drugs against the bacteria, so that our members of communities will be protected adequately,” the monarch said.

Court Grants Bail To Seven Shiites In Abuja

Shiites, Abuja, CourtA Magistrate Court in Karu has granted bail to seven members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, who are popularly known as Shiites.

The court on Friday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, granted them bail of 100,000 Naira each on the three-count charge against each of them.

The defendants have been charged for the offences of criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly and inciting public peace, contrary to sections 97, 102 and 114 of the Penal Code.

Magistrate Abubakar Umaru granted the defendants bail with two reliable and reasonable sureties each in like sum.

He stated that the sureties must be civil or public servants in grade level eight and above.

The Magistrate further ruled that the sureties must live within the jurisdiction of the court and ordered that their addresses be verified by the officer of the court.

He asked the sureties to submit their passport photographs and national identity cards to the court.

Latest Protest Disrupted

Before their bail was granted, Shiites have continued to stage countless protests to demand the release of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

However, the latest protest was disrupted by police officials on Thursday in the Federal Capital Territory.

The Commissioner of Police in Abuja, Alkali Usman, had defended the action, saying it was to prevent a breakdown of law and order in the Federal Capital Territory.

Mr Zakzaky has been in detention since December 2015, after a bloody clash between the Shiites and the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State.

Shiites/Army Clash: Group Says Commission’s Indictment Is Biased

ShiiteMembers of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria have described their indictment by the Judicial Commission of Enquiry into the December 12, 2015 clash between them and the Nigerian Army as biased and full of distortions.

Reacting to the report that was released by the Kaduna State government, spokesman for the Shiites, Ibrahim Musa, wondered why the commission indicted the group as being responsible for the bloody clash in Zaria, whereas their leader, Shiekh Ibrahim El Zakzaky was never given the opportunity to appear before the commission and defend himself.

Mr Musa said that the failure of the commission to invite El Zakzaky to state his own side of the story during the sittings, or visit him in Abuja where he is being detained for the past seven months, clearly showed that the panel was not fair to the movement from the beginning.

He also criticised part of the report that recommended the trial of their members involved in the killing of a soldier, as well as the recommendation that their lands in some part of Zaria which were acquired illegally should be revoked by the Kaduna State government.

The Shiites’ spokesman further demanded for the immediate and unconditional release of their leader from detention.

He maintained that the commission’s report would not stop the movement from pursuing its litigation against the Army and Federal Government until justice was done to them.

NBA Investigates Army-Shiites Clash In Zaria

Army and Shiite clashThe Nigerian Bar Association has visited Zaria in Kaduna State to investigate the December 12, 2015 bloody clash between members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and the Nigerian Army.

The clash had led to the killing of several people and destruction of property worth millions of Naira, with both parties trading blames.

President of the Association, Austin Alegeh, who led other national officers on the fact finding visit, stressed the need for all the parties in the dispute to sheath their sword, assuring them that the Association would get to the root of the matter and come up with a position.

The NBA interacted with all the parties concerned and other relevant stakeholders.

The first point of call was the palace of the Emir of Zazzau, Shehu Idris, where Mr Alegeh explained to him the purpose of the visit.

From the Emir’s palace, the delegation proceeded to the Nigerian Army Depot where they were briefed by the Commandant, Brigadier General Christopher Musa, who accused the Shiites of constituting nuisance and unleashing terror on members of the public.

The NBA team also had an interaction with the police, representatives of the movement and some residents of Gulleyesu, where Sheik  Ibrahim El-Zakzaky lives.

The group  also met with some Shiite members  and they insisted that they have lived peacefully with their neighbours and had never attacked anybody or group since their existence in Zaria.

But some residents of Gulleyesu and the Police countered the Shiites’ statement, insisting that they had been unleashing terror on innocent citizens in Zaria for quite some time.

After hearing from all the parties concerned, the NBA President promised that a thorough investigation would be conducted, with a view to coming up with a report that would not only address the current issues, but would assist in preventing future occurrence.

The investigation by the NBA will be the latest investigation on the clash, coming after the Kaduna State Government had set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate the immediate and remote cause of the incident.

According to an eyewitness, the incident occurred at the PZ area in the city when some members of the movement allegedly blocked the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff who was on his way for the Passing Out Parade at the Nigerian Army Depot also in Zaria.

While the Army authorities alleged that the attack was a suicide attempt on the life of the Army boss, the sect accused the Army of committing human right abuse on their members. They said the Army massacred hundreds of their members and arrested over seven hundred of their members.

It is believed that fact finding visits like the one by the Nigerian Bar Association will help the Human Rights Commission and others that may be set up in future to address such social uprising across the country.

Meanwhile, Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria had earlier demanded for the unconditional release of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, from detention.

Women Protest Army’s Detention Of El-Zakzaky, Wife

ZakzakyThe Sisters Forum of Islamic Movement of Nigeria have staged a peaceful protest to demand for the immediate release of their leader, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife.

The women took their protest to the Secretariat of the Kaduna State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists on Tuesday in northwest Nigeria.

According to the spokesperson, Aisha Hassan, the group also wants the immediate release of the corpses of members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, who were killed during a clash with soldiers.

They also asked the government to immediately compensate all affected families and relations in the interest of peace and justice.

According to them, at least 1,000 members of the sect, popularly known as Shiite, were brutally killed in a coordinated attack by men of the Nigerian Army during a peaceful procession. They maintained that the attack was a gross violation of their fundamental rights of free association and movement.

There had been rumours that El-Zakzaky was arrested by soldiers at his residence and his wife killed, but the Nigerian Army had debunked  the claims.

The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, said that the Islamic cleric and his wife were rescued alive during the bloody clash between the sect members and soldiers.

Defending his men’s action, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, said that they acted within the law.

The Army Chief, who described the action of El-Zakzaky’s men as an infringement on national security, said that the incident could have been avoided if the sect members heeded earlier warnings to allow free movement.

Army Says Zakzaky, Wife Were Rescued Not Arrested

ArmyThe Nigerian Army has debunked rumours that the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, was arrested by soldiers at his residence and his wife killed.

The assertion was made by the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, in company of the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police and other senior Army officers on Monday.

General Oyebade disclosed that the Islamic cleric and his wife were rescued alive during the bloody clash between the sect members and soldiers, adding that they were in the Army protective custody.

He narrated how members of the movement attacked the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, who was on his way to pay a courtesy visit to the Emir of Zazzau.

According to him, the Shiite members blocked the Army Chief’s convoy along Sokoto Road in Zaria, and attacked his vehicle with dangerous weapons.

The General stressed that all entreaties by some senior officers for the sect members to leave the road were resisted, a situation which he said prompted the soldiers in the convoy to apply minimum force against them.

He said that in the process of using minimum force to subdue the sect members, both parties recorded some casualties while stating that the attack on the Army Chief’s convoy was pre-meditated and planned to assassinate him.

General Oyebade said that the sect over the years, had taken laws into their hands, unleashing terror on innocent citizens within the places they have their shrines and activities.

He warned sect members within the Northwest zone to be law abiding and not to unleash violence on security forces and members of the public as such action would not be condoned by the Army.

On his part, the Commissioner of Police, Umar Shehu, said that the Shiite members had never obtained Police permit or respected any constituted authority whenever they were carrying out their functions.

He called for more cooperation from citizens and religious organisations as the security agencies strive to protect their lives and property.

El-Rufai Sues For Peace In Zaria After Shiites, Soldiers’ Clash

zariaThe Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai has appealed for calm and peace following the clash between soldiers and an Islamic group in Zaria.

The clash between soldiers and members of the Shiite Muslim group left at least three persons dead on Saturday, December 12.

The Governor, in a statement he issued through his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, said that he had spoken on phone with the leader of the Islamic group, Sheik Ibraheem Zakzaky and later met with the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Butatai at the Nigerian Army Depot in Zaria over the unfortunate incident.

The Governor gave the assurance that the situation had been brought under control, while security has been beefed up in Zaria to forestall a further break down of law and order.

The Nigerian Army claimed that the Shiite sect’s attack on the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Major-General Tukur Buratai, led to the clash, as they considered it an attempt to assassinate the Army Chief.

Spokesman of the group, Ibrahim Usman, debunked the claim that the group attempted to attack the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, stating that the clash was only between his group and some overzealous soldiers who were on their way to the passing out parade of the Nigerian Army in Zaria.

He said that the incident occurred around the PZ area in city when a convoy of armed soldiers opened fire on the group while they were hoisting their sect’s flag to usher in the month of Rabi’ul Awal at Husdainiyyah Baqiyyatullah area of the city.

Army Claims Shiites Attacked Chief Of Army Staff’s Convoy

ArmyThe Nigerian Army has claimed that the Shiite sect’s attack on the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Major-General Tukur Buratai, led to the clash between soldiers and members of the group which left at least three dead.

The Acting Director Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, in a statement made available to the media referred to the alleged act by the Shiites as an attempt to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff but which he escaped unhurt.

He said, “The Shiite Sect on the orders of their leader, Ibrahim Alzak-zaky today afternoon in Zaria attacked the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff while on his way to pay homage on the Emir of Zazzau and attend the Passing Out Parade of 73 Regular Recruits Intake of Depot Nigerian Army, Zaria.

“The sect, numbering hundreds carrying dangerous weapons, barricaded the roads with bonfires, heavy stones and tyres. They refused all entreaties to disperse and then started firing and pelting the convoy with dangerous objects.

“The barricade was obviously a deliberate attempt to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff and members of his entourage while on a legitimate official assignment as Special Guest of Honour at the passing out parade which has earlier been widely publicized.

“The troops responsible for the safety and security of the Chief of Army Staff on hearing explosion and firing were left with no choice than to defend him and the convoy at all cost as well as open up the barricaded road for law abiding citizens.

“This is in line with the Nigerian Army Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct. This kind of behaviour will not be tolerated from any individual or groups and should not be allowed to repeat itself.”

Colonel Usman implored all Nigerians to continue to be law abiding and remain conscious of other people’s right to life, freedom of movement and passage.

Shiites Clash With Soldiers in Zaria, At Least 3 Dead

zariaAt least three people are feared dead with others injured following a bloody clash between some armed soldiers and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in Zaria, Kaduna State.

Spokesman of the group, Ibrahim Usman, told our correspondent that the incident occurred around the PZ area in city when a convoy of armed soldiers opened fire on the group while they were hoisting their Sect’s flag to usher in the month of Rabi’ul Awal at Husdainiyyah Baqiyyatullah area of the city.

Ibrahim also debunked reports that the group attempted to attack the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, stating that the clash was only between his group and some overzealous soldiers who were on their way to the passing out parade of the Nigerian Army in Zaria.

An eyewitness also told our correspondent “As early as 12 ‘0 clock the members of the Shiite barricaded the road where the COAS will pass.

“The security details attached to the Chief of Army staff came down from the vehicle to plead with the congregation. From the distance, we could hear gun shots.”

It was gathered that the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff succeeded in clearing the way for him to pass and according to the eyewitness, immediately the COAS left, some soldiers in three trucks arrived the scene.

Attempt To Assassinate

The Acting Director Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, in a statement made available to the media claimed that the Shiite sect attacked the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Major-General Tukur Buratai.

“The Shiite Sect on the orders of their leader, Ibrahim Alzak-zaky today afternoon in Zaria attacked the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff while on his way to pay homage on the Emir of Zazzau and attend the Passing Out Parade of 73 Regular Recruits Intake of Depot Nigerian Army, Zaria.

“The sect, numbering hundreds carrying dangerous weapons, barricaded the roads with bonfires, heavy stones and tyres. They refused all entreaties to disperse and then started firing and pelting the convoy with dangerous objects,” the statement read.

The Army said that it considered this a deliberate attempt to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff and members of his entourage and was left with no option than to “defend him and the convoy at all cost as well as open up the barricaded road for law abiding citizens” as this was in line with the Nigerian Army Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct.

On June 24, 2014, three sons of the leader of the Shitte sect, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky were killed following a bloody clash between his members and soldiers in the same city.

Kaduna Govt. to Assign Security Roles To Traditional Rulers

KadunaIn a bid to address the incessant communal clashes and killings in some parts of Kaduna, the state government says it will assign constitutional roles to traditional rulers to oversee the security of lives and property in their respective domains.

Addressing members of the Kaduna State Traditional Rulers Council during their courtesy visit in his office, Governor Nasir El-Rufai said traditional institutions are important in the management of welfare and security in the country, but lamented that their roles have been usurped by the local government authorities.

He stressed the need for the review of the 1976 local government laws which give the traditional rulers powers to maintain peace and security in their respective domains.

The traditional rulers from across the 23 Local Government Areas of Kaduna State were led to the Council Chamber by their Chairman, the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris.

Their mission was to congratulate the Governor and his deputy on their victory at the last election and successful inauguration, as well as to seek areas of collaboration with government.

Governor El-Rufai lamented that the problem of insecurity in the state had become complicated and compounded because of the failure of past administrations to assign constitutional responsibilities to the traditional institutions.

He explained that a security committee which will include traditional rulers and other critical stakeholders will soon be established by the state government in order to work out the specific roles for traditional rulers towards the maintenance of peace and security in the state.

Traditional rulers in Nigeria have gradually witnessed the erosion of their powers, from depending upon British colonial administration to dependence upon elected politicians and as their roles narrowed, that of the political institutions increased.

Many Nigerians have agreed that this situation also creates a huge gap between the people at the grassroots and government at the states and centre.

Youth Stones Emir At Kaduna Governor, El-Rufai’s Swearing-in

el-rufaiThe swearing-in ceremony of the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, turned bloody on Friday, as angry youths at the venue attacked the revered Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris.

Several people were injured when the youth, midway into El-Rufai’s speech, started pelting the emir, who sat at the VIP stand, with stones and shoes.

Not even the heavy presence of security operatives could calm down the situation, as the youth intensified the attack on the emir, thereby forcing the event that started peacefully to an abrupt end.

Ting Of Human Wall

The youths, who were said to be angry with the presence of the emir at the inauguration of the new Governor, alleged that he openly supported the former Governor, Mukhtar Yero, during the campaigns, instead of maintaining neutrality as a royal father.

As the stones were flying directly at the Emir, a ring of human wall was quickly formed around him by his Body Guards and security operatives before they eventually took him away through the back of the podium.

Meanwhile, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Ulnar Shehu told Channels Television that the emir was not stoned.

On his part, the new governor in his speech, which was read half way because of the crisis, thanked the people of the State for giving him the mandate.

Babalakin Offers Free Eye Treatment to Patients in Kaduna

BabalakinA Non Governmental Organization (NGO), Ramatu Ibironke Babalakin Foundation, has offered free eye screening and surgery for over 10,000 Nigerians afflicted with Cataract and Pterygium, as well as distributed spectacles to patients in Zaria, Kaduna State.

A team of dedicated doctors with expertise to treat eye problems, arrived the state ten days ago, for the exercise which was held at the palace of the Emir of Zazzau.

Young children, women and the aged all trooped out in large numbers to benefit from the philanthropy.

The free eye treatment which was sponsored by the Foundation was in commemoration of the 40 years anniversary of the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, on the throne.

The Founder of the NGO, Dr. Wale Babalakin, while presenting eye glasses to some of the patients who have been operated upon, said that the gesture, asides being for the celebration of the Emir’s 40th year on the throne, was also in remembrance of his mother who was born in the ancient city of Zaria.

Having traveled far and wide, interacting with various organizations abroad and also worried over the high rate of blindness in Nigeria, Dr Wale Babalakin saw the need to offer this eye service to Nigerians irrespective of their tribe or religion.

Dr Babalakin said blindness is a major health disaster and urged Nigerians to come out in mass to benefit from the exercise.

He also promised to assist the people of Zaria in other areas of infrastructural and human development, aimed at touching the lives of the people positively.

In his remarks, the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris commended Mr Babalakin for his tireless efforts towards assisting humanity and prayed that God will continue to assist and uplift him.

Cataract and Pterygium surgeries cost N100.000 to N150, 000 respectively in private hospitals. The Founder disclosed that similar exercise took place in Osun State, his home town, where over 4,000 patients benefited from the exercise.