Southern Kaduna: Lekwot’s killing will worsen crisis, CAN tells Sharia body

By AdvocateNews on 17/08/2020

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Zemani Lekwot
Zemani Lekwot

A former military governor of Rivers State, Major General Zamani Lekwot (retd), on Sunday reacted to the call for his execution by the  Supreme Council of Shariah in Nigeria.

The Shariah council on Thursday called for the execution of Lekwot and other Southern Kaduna leaders sentenced to death over the Zango-Kataf riot of 1992.

But the retired major general, in an interview with journalists in Kaduna after an interdenominational service and indoor protest  organised  by the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, said his life was  in the hands of God and not  detractors. He said he was not afraid of the  Shariah council.

At the event, the President of CAN, Dr Supo  Ayokunle, who said he would meet the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, on Monday over the Southern Kaduna killings, faulted the call for Lekwot’s execution.

The SCSN’s Secretary, AbdulRahman Hassan, at a press conference in Kaduna on Thursday, said the only way to restore peace to Southern Kaduna was  to revisit the pardon granted Lekwot and others and execute them.

But on Sunday, Lekwot said only God could determine his life and not those craving for violence under the current democratic dispensation.

Stop preaching hate and division, Lekwot tells council

Answering questions from journalists, he said,  “I have nothing to say. My life, like everybody’s, is in the hands of God, not the detractors. The detractors and evil forces that are preaching hate, trying to throw a spanner  in the works, will fail. May God expose them in all ramifications.”

When asked if he was afraid of the threat to his life, the  former Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy asked, “Afraid”? I am a trained professional soldier and a trained commander.”

“The Zango-Kataf they are talking about. Yes. The killings were unfortunate but the dispute was over the relocation of the market. Some people didn’t want it. At the end of the day, a commission of inquiry was set up; recommendations  were made and the Mua’azu committee’s recommendations had been implemented.

“Those that are reverting to it are clever by half. What we need in our country is genuine tolerance and live and let live. We have lived together for a very long time.

Shariah council has exposed reasons why foreign bandits were imported to destroy Nigeria – Lekwot

“Now, by what they are saying, they are now telling the reason why some foreign bandits are imported to destroy  the country.

 “How does that (revisiting his case) address the issue? (of killings in Southern Kaduna). So, what is happening in Kaduna and by extension in other parts of the country  is a bad omen for our unity and stability.”

Be neutral,  Lekwot tells Operation Safe Haven’ commander

On the Commander of the Operation Safe Haven’s recent comment that the killings in Southern Kaduna were  carried out by criminal elements from both sides of the crisis, he said as professionals, military officers  were supposed to be neutral at all setting.

 He stated, “That was a very unfortunate statement from a military commander. As professionals, security people are supposed to be neutral in every setting so as to get the confidence of everybody. In other words, when that happens, the co-operation of all sides will emerge.

“But in this setting, the military people need intelligence; credible intelligence which they will use for the operations. What he said was the utterance of the government which boiled down to describing what happened.

Don’t revisit what has been concluded, end ongoing killings, Lekwot tells El-Rufai

On the  White Paper committee set up by the state  Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, to revisit the Zango-Kataf riot, the former military governor said  government should  preoccupy  itself with  how to proffer solution to the killings in Southern Kaduna.

“Given the heat of what is going on,  the massive slaughter of innocent villagers, that should preoccupy everybody’s mind and not to revisit what had been concluded. Fine,  if that is his own solution, we are waiting to see how he is going to resuscitate what has  been concluded.

“A White Paper was issued in respect of the issue. Is this White Paper they are trying to produce going to be the White Paper on top of White paper?” Lekwot asked.

Recall that the 1992  Zango-Kataf riot took place  during the Gen. Ibrahim Babangida regime, which set up a tribunal, headed by the late Justice Benedict Okadigbo.

Okadigbo tried and sentenced Lekwot, Kude, Yohanna Karau Kibori, Marcus Mamman, Yahaya Duniya and Julius Sarki Zamman Dabo to death by hanging over their  complicity  in the riot.

However, Lekwot and others got a  reprieve when the late Gen. Sani Abacha granted them state pardon.

The Shariah council had on Thursday commended El-Rufaui for setting up a committee to revisit the report on the Zango-Kataf riot.

CAN meets El-Rufai on Monday over Southern Kaduna killings

Meanwhile,  Ayokunle  said he would  be  meeting El-Rufai on Monday  to discuss the  killings in Southern Kaduna.

Ayokunle told the congregation that the bloodletting in Southern Kaduna and other parts of the country must stop.

He said,  “My coming today is to identify with the oppressed people of Southern Kaduna whether Christian or Muslim.

“I come here  not to see you alone (people) but I will see the governor tomorrow (Monday),” the CAN leader said.

Kaduna killing giving Nigeria bad image — CAN president

He said, “What is happening in Kaduna is creating bad image for  the country and outside the country.”

Lekwot’s killing will bring more violence in Southern Kaduna,  CAN warns

Faulting the call  for Lekwot’s execution, he said the Shariah council could not achieve peace by calling for more killings.

He asked, “When you are talking about peace and you say it is about killing somebody, is that peace?  It is to further bring violence to the nation because Zamani Lekwot has his own people; they will not allow that. A government that attempts that is looking for a greater trouble.”

Hausa-Fulani lay claim to Southern Kaduna, say no genocide against Christians

Meanwhile,  the Hausa-Fulani community in Southern Kaduna on Sunday, debunked claims that there was genocide against the Christian natives in the area.

They also claimed that they were not the minority in Southern Kaduna as claimed by the Christian community.

Addressing a press conference on Sunday, the Hausa-Fulani community under the auspices of Coalition of United Muslim Group, Kaduna State, Muslim Youth Foundation of Southern Kaduna, Nasihatu Ahlizzaman Southern Kaduna Muslim Forum and Zumunta Youth Development, Kasuwan Magani, said the Muslims constituted  40 per cent of the population, while the Hausa-Fulani were the majority of the about 30 tribes that make up Southern Kaduna.

The leader of the groups,  Kabir Kasim Kafanchan, who spoke on their behalf,  claimed that the Hausa Fulani were  the original owners of the area called Southern Kaduna.

Also, the Middle Belt Forum  urged  the Shariah council  to stop misrepresenting issues on the killings in Southern Kaduna.

The National President of the Middle Belt Forum, Dr Bitrus Porgu,  stated this in an interview with one of  our correspondents in Jos on Sunday.

Posted 17/08/2020 02:03:37 AM


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