Army/Shiite Clash: El-Rufai Vows Action As Panel Submits Report

Nasir El-Rufai and Justice Mohammed Lawal GarbaGovernor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State on Friday vowed that anyone indicted by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the state government to look into the December 2015 clash between members of the Shiite sect and soldiers in Zaria, would be appropriately sanctioned.

El-Rufai said this while receiving the report of the commission in Kaduna.

The commission, inaugurated in January, was mandated to investigate the clash between the Shiites under the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and the Nigerian Army in Zaria.

Hundreds of Shiite members were killed in the clash, while many more, including the leader of the movement, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, were arrested and are still in detention.

The governor said the report would be diligently studied for proper implementation.

The final report was initially expected to be submitted six weeks after the commission’s first public sitting but following several requests, the state government granted an extension to enable all relevant parties to appear before the panel.

Although the report has been classified top secret, Mr. El-Rufai said its contents would be evaluated and security implications weighed before making it public.

He also said the state government would be guided by the commission’s recommendations in assigning administrative and criminal responsibility to those who allegedly participated in the violence.

“Kaduna State has witnessed at least 10 rounds of ethnics and religious violence in the last three decades”, he said.

El-Rufai said a white paper conveying the decision of government on the recommendations of the commission would be issued promptly.

“And the necessary follow up actions will be taken to avoid similar crises that took place in the last three decades in parts of state”, the governor added.

He said the commission was set up to provide best option for accountability and transparency in providing justice to the affected persons in the mayhem.

He commended the chairman and members for accepting to serve in the commission and for their commitment.

The chairman of the commission, Justice Mohammad Garba, thanked the state government for finding the members worthy to participate in the inquiry.

According to Justice Garba of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, the commission received 3,500 memoranda within and outside the state during its sittings.

He noted that the IMN, which was one of the parties central to the inquiry, failed to appear before the panel for reasons best known to it even as a counsel to the sect had participated at the start of its sitting.

Mr. Garba added that failure of the IMN to appear resulted in the prolonged adjournments of the commission leading to extension of time to complete its assignment.

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