By John Shiklam
The Supreme Council for Shari’ah in Nigeria (SCSN) yesterday attributed the incessant killings in the Southern part of the state to the failure of the government to execute Maj. Gen. Zamani Lekwot (rtd) and others sentenced to death over the 1992 Zango-Kataf riot.
This is coming as Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai has reviewed the 24-hour curfew in two of the four Local Government Areas in the Southern part of the state.
The governor has also alleged that the study carried out on the crisis in the state for over four decades has shown that the main drivers of violence are a few clerics that use their platforms to preach against peaceful co-existence or promote the common humanity.
At a press conference held yesterday in Kaduna, the Secretary of the SCSN, Abdulrahaman Hassan insisted that the death sentenced passed on those “convicted” in the Zangon Kataf crisis should be revisited.
Lekwot, a former military governor of Rivers State; a former Chairman of Zangon Kataf Local Government Area, Maj. James Atomic Kude (rtd) and several Zangon Kataf leaders were sentenced to death “for their involvement in the riot” by the late Justice Benedict Okadigbo’s tribunal set up by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd)’s administration to try those involved in the crisis, which led to many loss of lives and destructions of property.
They were later pardon by the administration of the late General Sani Abacha.
“We want those pardoned in 1992 during Zango-Kataf crisis, after being condemned to death to be executed now, because that is the only way peace will return to the area,” Hassan said.
Hassan said “till now Zonkwa is still a ghost town. Surprisingly, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) and their allies had never cried foul in the massacre of innocent law abiding citizens on the account of their faith”.
According to Hassan, “Many more ethno-religious crises continued to occur in Kasuwan Magani, Kajuru, Zangon Kataf and some other places”.
Meanwhile, the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan said the curfew hours in Jama’a and Kaura LGAs have been reviewed to commence from 6pm to 6am daily.
He however said the 24-hour curfew imposed on Zangon Kataf and Kauru will be sustained and closely monitored.
Aruwan said, “Following a review, the military and police carrying out internal security operations in southern Kaduna have recommended that the curfew hours in Jema’a and Kaura LGAs be reduced.
“Accordingly, the curfew hours in Jema’a and Kaura LGAs will be from 6pm to 6am daily, effective today.
“However, the 24-hour curfew in Kauru and Zangon Kataf LGAs will be sustained while close monitoring of the security situation in the two LGAs continues”.
On June 11, the state government imposed a 24 hour curfew on Kauru and Zangon Kataf following clashes arising from the killing of a farmer in the area by unknown persons.
Speaking yesterday while playing host to the Primate of Anglican Church of Nigeria, Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, at the Government House, Kaduna, El-Rufai alleged that some clergies, use their revered positions to divide and incite violence.
“Our study of the situation over four decades has shown that the main drivers of this violence are a few clerics that use their platforms, not to preach peaceful co-existence or promote our common humanity.
“Rather, they use their platforms and revered positions to divide and incite violence. I was sad to hear from the Primate, that he was a victim in 1987, when his house was burnt down in Wusasa,’’ the governor said.
“In those days, the Primate will recall, that this sort of violence starts from one part of the state and the spreads all over the state.
“One credit that this government gets from everyone, including our adversaries, has been our ability to contain these outbreaks to their points of origin,” El-Rufai said.
Speaking earlier, Ndukuba said the church believes that everyone should be able to live in peace and pursue their desires in line with the law of the land.