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.

Kaduna Govt Holds Round Table Forum Over Religious Preaching Bill

Kaduna-Religious-Preaching-Bill-Preaching-Regulation-LawThe Kaduna State government has organised a roundtable forum for stakeholders to make their inputs on Religious Preaching Bill.

The government held the interactive forum before the passage of the bill by the Kaduna State House of Assembly, sequel to the criticisms that have trailed the proposed religious preaching regulation law.

The bill, which has been attracting opposition from the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Jamatul Nasril Islam (JNI), had already scaled through second reading in the floor of the State Assembly.

The governor represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Samuel Aruwan, highlighted the importance of the bill.

Addressing stakeholders at the forum, the Director General of Kaduna State Inter-Faith Centre, Namadi Musa, said the proposed religious bill was not in any way intended to oppress religious groups.

He added that it was not aimed at preventing them from freedom of worship or association, explaining that the bill was aimed at protecting them against extremism and religious intolerance.

However, the religious stakeholders at the round table forum seemed not to be comfortable with the religious preaching regulation law bill.

The Secretary General of CAN, Kaduna State, Reverend Sunday Ibrahim, and the Secretary of the Christian Lawyers Fellowship in Kaduna State, Kalu Ifeanyichukwu, described the bill as unconstitutional and capable of fueling crisis in the state if not handled with caution.

They called for a thorough review of the bill in order to remove all contentious issues such as the regulation of preaching in churches and mosques, as well as the alleged move to license preachers.

The convener of the meeting, Maji Peterx, said that engaging critical stakeholders in such meetings was paramount in resolving all the contentious issues and suspicions about the bill.

According to him, such meetings would be conducted across the three senatorial zones of the state, to enable other stakeholders make their inputs before the passage of the bill.

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.