John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kaduna State Government has released a white paper on the report of the judicial commission of inquiry that investigated the December 2015 clash between the Nigerian Army and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) led by Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky in Zaria, describing the Shiites an insurgent group.
The white paper accepted many of the recommendations of the panel including payment of “reasonable” compensation for the property destroyed during the incident.
The white paper accepted the findings of the commission which blamed El-Zakzaky for the unfortunate incidence, maintaining that he should be held personally responsible for all the acts of commission and omission of the entire membership of the IMN for refusing to call his members to order when required to do so.
The white paper however justified the mass burial given to the over 300 members of the IMN that were allegedly killed by soldiers during the clash by the Kaduna State Government, saying it acted within the provisions of the law.
“Section 7 sub- section 1 of the Burial Law Cap 20 Laws of Kaduna State Government 1991 requires the burial of persons who die in this type of circumstances within 24 hours. The interpretation section of Rule 115 Geneva Convention also states that in circumstances of this nature, dead bodies could be buried in a mass grave,” the white paper stated.
While noting the recommendation by the commission that the killings should be investigated and those who partook in the act should be fished out and court martialled, the white paper maintained that the commission failed to take into account the years during which the activities of the IMN in the Gyallesu area of Zaria in the state had threatened peace and security, pointing out that the Nigerian Army was in no position to accurately determine how armed and organised members of the IMN were and had to be concerned on what their intention for Zaria was.