John Shiklam in Kaduna

The Kaduna State Government on Tuesday said 65 people had been arrested in connection with the recent clashes between Muslim and Christian youths in Kasuwan Magani community, Kajuru Local Government Area of the state.

Addressing a news conference in Kaduna, Samuel Aruwan, spokesman of the state Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, said those arrested had been charge to a magistrate court.

Aruwan said all the suspects were being remanded in prison custody, while the case was adjourned to March 15, 2018.

On March 26, a violent clash erupted between Muslim and Christian youths in Kasuwan Magani following allegations that Muslim youths were dating, converting and marrying Christian girls.

The Christian youths who claimed that Muslim girls are prohibited from dating them, were alleged to have been going about to forcefully take Christian girls from the homes of their Muslim lovers to flog them.
It was learnt that this did not go down well with the Muslim youths, leading to a bloody clash between the two groups.

The incident led to the killing of 12 people, while property worth millions of naira were destroyed.
Aruwan said the state government would vigorously prosecute the suspects to serve as deterrent to those who use religion and ethnicity to cause destruction of lives and property.

“The legacy of violence has been enabled by impunity. This cannot continue.
“Nobody would be allowed to use religion or ethnicity to justify criminal conduct” Aruwan said.
He declared that “nobody or group has the constitutional right to force other people embrace their prejudices or beliefs.

He maintained that matters of faith are the prerogative of individuals whose voluntary decisions must be respected by all.

“The presumption by some misguided people that tell others what to believe or compel them to embrace or reject any faith or subject their private belief to the unlawful supervision of any group is baseless and becomes criminal when acted upon,” he said.

The government urged all communities in the state to reject those using religion and ethnicity to instigate violence.
He noted that the Nigerian constitution grants everyone the right to life, vowing that the state government will firmly protect this right and secure justice for the victims of the mayhem.