El-Rufai Names Judicial Commission of Inquiry To Probe Army-Shi’ites Clash

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Kaduna State Governor Governor Nasir El-Rufai has named Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba of the Federal Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt as Chairman of a judicial commission of inquiry to probe the December 12-14 clash between soldiers and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria in Zaria, Kaduna State.

Other members of the panel are: Prof. Salihu Shehu, a lecturer at Bayero University, Kano; Prof. Umar Labdo of the Faculty of Humanities, Northwest University, Kano; Malam Salihu Abubakar, a former director of the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS); Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Prof. Auwalu Yadudu, Law teacher and Special Adviser on Legal Matters to the late head of state, General Sani Abacha and Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, one -time minister of Foreign Affairs and former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations; Afakriya Gadzama, a former Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS); Brigadier-General Aminun-Kano Maude (rtd), former Deputy Director, Army Finance and Accounts; Dr Jibrin Ibrahim, academic, civil society leader and columnist; Mrs. Khadijah Gambo, gender rights activist and conflict resolution expert; Bilya Bala, banker, management consultant and journalist; Major-General Alexander Anjili Mshelbwala(rtd), a one-time Military Secretary of the Nigerian Army; Mrs. Desire Nsirim, retired police commissioner and Dr Bala Babaji, Director of the Centre for Islamic Legal Studies, Institute of Administration of the Ahmadu Bello University who will serve as secretary of the panel.

The commission will be inaugurated this week.

Several members of the Shit’te sect were shot dead in the clash with army which the military authorities called an attempt on the life of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Yusuf Tukur Buratai, by the group.

“In a statewide broadcast last month, Governor El-Rufai had promised to establish a judicial commission of inquiry into the Zaria clashes as a matter of utmost importance to the public interest,” Samuel Aruwan, Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) said.

“Since the unfortunate incident, the Kaduna State Government has been discharging its obligations to promote the public welfare.

“There was no reason at any point to put governance in abeyance or to abdicate the responsibility of the government to enforce the law and uphold security.

“Neither was it necessary for the Kaduna State Government to speak and act as if it was not in possession of any facts relevant to the matter.

“Government has to acknowledge as much when a building has been put up without evidence of title or the necessary planning approvals; and the state has to initiate prosecutions when valid laws have been broken.

“It is not in the public interest for government to decline its duty. The members of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Zaria clashes were chosen for their professional competences as lawyers, jurists, scholars of religion, human rights activists, security experts and media practitioners,” the statement read.

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