John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has inaugurated a 10-man judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the incessant communal crises in Kajuru, Kachia and Chikun Local Government Areas of the state.
Speaking at the inauguration of the panel yesterday at the Government House in Kaduna, el-Rufai charged the commission to investigate and identify the causes of instances of crises from 2017 to date in Kajuru, Kachia, Chikun LGAs and surrounding communities.
Kajuru was plunged into crisis that lasted for more than three months, leading to massive killings and destruction of properties.
The victims, many of whom were displaced from their homes, are barely recovering from the crisis.
El-Rufai urged the panel to “identify individuals, traditional and religious institutions, and other associations that might have contributed to the build-up of the disturbances, and recommend further action by the state government.
He told them to “assess and determine the extent of loss of lives and property and other forms of damage caused during the disturbances, and identify the perpetrators of the dastardly acts for further action by the state government.
“Make any other recommendations to the government consequential to or related to any or all these terms of reference, and also recommend appropriate legal and other actions to be taken against those responsible for the disturbances.”
The governor further mandated the commission to make appropriate recommendations to the government on steps to be taken to forestall future occurrence of such disturbances.
The commission was given three months within which to conclude its assignment.
The governor said violent conflict has divided communities in Kajuru LGA, noting that in 2018, there were two major convulsions in that axis, which sometimes resulted in spillover into neighbouring places, including Kaduna metropolis, as was witnessed in October 2018.
“This year alone, mass killings and displacement of people were reported in communities within Kajuru LGA in February and March.
“Amid the contending narratives by the parties involved in the conflict, the state government is convinced that building sustainable peace in the area requires that all the facts around the episodes of the violent conflict be established.
“Therefore, while visiting Karamai community in Kajuru LGA on March 2, 2019, I announced that the Kaduna State Government had decided to establish a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the communal conflict in Kajuru LGA,” he said.
According to the governor, members of the commission were chosen for this very difficult assignment due to their in-depth knowledge of the state and expertise in the areas of security management, conflict and peace-building as well their established objectivity in assessment of situations and people.
He said: “One of the problems that has driven conflict in Kaduna State is that people have taken sides in these conflicts-not based on reason but along ethnic or religious lines.
“We are confident that from the track record of the chairman and members of the commission, you are well above that.
“We have selected the members from all parts of the country, but with in-depth knowledge of the state, because we believe that the conflict in Kajuru and surrounding areas is of interest to the entire country.
”It is therefore our hope that community leaders will encourage people to lift their gaze above division; to embrace a common humanity and respect the right of everyone to life, liberty and legitimate livelihoods.”
The commission is headed by Justice Isa Aliyu, a judge of the Kaduna State High Court, while other members of the commission are AVM Abdullahi Shehu (rtd), Mr. B. C. Osuji, who served in the Kaduna State Command of the SSS as an Assistant Director; U. U. Shehu, a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), who once served as police commissioner in Kaduna State; Mrs. Hannatu Ugah, a retired Head of Service in the state, and Rear Admiral Ferguson Bobai (rtd) among others.