Kaduna Govt Charges 50 Shiites For Murder Of One Soldier, Wants Death Sentence

The Kaduna State Government on Thursday asked a Kaduna High Court to sentence 50 Shiite members to death for allegedly causing the death of a soldier.

The government had filed a five-count charge against the accused before Justice David Wyom.

It accused them of criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, culpable homicide, disturbance of public peace and wrongful restrain.

In the petition, the counsel to the government, Bayero Diri, said the offences are punishable under Sections 97, 221, 102, 106 and 225 of the Penal Code Law, Laws of Kaduna State 1991.

The government said the offence was committed between December 12 and 14, 2015 in Zaria.

It alleged that the suspects among other things shot dead Yakubu Dankaduna, a corporal of the Nigerian Army “with a gun when he alighted from the convoy to disperse the IMN members.“.

The prosecution told the court that they intend to present 39 witnesses.

The plea of the accused persons was not taken as the judge adjourned sitting till May 16.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that the 50 suspects were among the 265 persons currently in custody, who were arrested during the Shiites clash with the Army on Dec. 12 and Dec. 14, 2015.

Slaughter Of 347 Shiites Must Be Explained – Amnesty International

Revelations of the slaughter and secret burial of 347 members of a Shi’ite religious group in mass graves by the Nigerian army must be urgently investigated, said Amnesty International yesterday, and anyone suspected of criminal responsibility for these crimes must be brought to trial.

The acknowledgment of the extrajudicial killings which took place between 12-14 December 2015 in Zaria, were made by a Kaduna government official at a Public Hearing of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry and echoes Amnesty International’s own findings.

“The horrific revelation by the Kaduna State government that hundreds of Shi’ites were gunned down and dumped in mass graves is an important first step to bringing all those suspected of criminal responsibility for this atrocity to trial,” said Country Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, M.K. Ibrahim.

“It is now imperative that the mass grave sites are protected in order that a full independent forensic investigation can begin. The bodies must be exhumed and Nigerian authorities should immediately reveal the whereabouts of those held in unacknowledged detention and either charge or release them.”

Amnesty International has been conducting research in the Zaria killings since January 2016. A comprehensive report will be published in the near future.

The Kaduna State Government on Monday announced that 347 persons were killed during the December 12 Shiite/Nigerian Army clash in Zaria.

The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Balarabe Lawal, disclosed this in a government submission at the ongoing Public Hearing of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the clash.

The burial of the victims was done in secret, and this is the first time the state government was explaining how the remains of the killed shiite members were disposed.

Mr. Lawal, who led a six-man government witnesses before the panel, said 191 corpses were taken from the Nigerian Army Depot, Zaria, and were buried at Mando area of Kaduna.

He said 156 corpses were also conveyed from the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Zaria, to the same Mando area.

The official said the corpses were those of youth members of the Islam Movement (IMN) who he alleged attempted to attack the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Dec. 12, 2015, in Zaria.

The state government said the corpses were committed into a single grave (mass burial) at the Mando area jointly supervised by the state government officials and about 40 men of the Nigerian Army, led by an officer in the rank of a Major.

Mr. Lawal did not say whether relatives of the victims were given opportunity to identify and recover their loved ones before the state labelled them unknown corpses and buried them in a mass grave.

Another witness and Director-General, Kaduna State Interfaith Agency, Namadi Musa, said the mass burial was conducted on December 14 and 15, respectively, and that it took the officials about six hours to complete the burial.

Mr. Musa said while six tonnes of Mercedes tippers conveyed the 191 corpses from the ABUTH, the Army used three heavy duty trucks to convey corpses from the Zaria Army Depot.

“The mass burial was authorised through a warrant of burial obtained from a Kaduna Chief Magistrates’ Court in Kaduna,’’ he said.

We Have Buried 347 Corpses Of Massacred Shiites In Mass Grave – Kaduna Government

The Kaduna State Government said on Monday announced that 347 persons were killed during the Dec. 12 Nigerian Army massacre of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria popularly called Shiites in Zaria.

The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Balarabe Lawal, disclosed this in a government submission at the ongoing Public Hearing of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the clash.

Lawal, who led a six-man government witnesses before the panel, said that 191 corpses were taken from the Nigerian Army Depot, Zaria, and were buried in Mando area in Kaduna.

He said 156 corpses were also conveyed from Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Zaria, to the same Mando area.

The SSG said the corpses of youth Members of the Islam Movement (IMN) who allegedly attempted to attack the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Dec. 12, 2015, in Zaria.

The state government said the corpses were committed into a single grave (mass burial) at the Mando area jointly supervised by the state government officials and about 40 men of the Nigerian Army, led by an officer in the rank of a Major.

The SSG said 189 suspects were being prosecuted for alleged involvement in the Zaria crises while one suspect had died in custody.

He said the state government had received several security reports from the Directorate of State Security (DSS) on the activities of the movement.

According to him, several measures had been taken to address the situation before it finally escalated into the clash with the Nigerian Army.

Another witness and Director-General, Kaduna State Interfaith Agency, Mr Namadi Musa, said the mass burial was conducted on Dec. 14 and Dec. 15, respectively, and it took the officials about six hours to complete the burial.

Musa said while six tonnes of Mercedes tippers conveyed the 191 corpses from the ABUTH, the Army used three heavy duty trucks to convey corpses from the Zaria Army Depot.

“The mass burial was authorised through a warrant of burial obtained from a Kaduna Chief Magistrates’ Court in Kaduna,’’ he said.

The state government blamed some of the lapses and the excesses of the movement on the inability of the previous government which did not take serious action to curtail the activities of the sect.

On alleged demolition of buildings and structures of the IMN leader, the witnesses said that the demolitions were based on recommendation of a committee set up by the state government.

The witnesses, including officials of KASUPDA, KAPWA and the state ministry of Works, Transport and Housing, told the panel that several other structures belonging to individuals had been demolished for poor building specifications and standards.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mrs Saratu Haruna, General Manager, KASUPDA; Mr Namadi Musa, D-G Interfaith Agency; and Prof. Adamu Ahmed, Deputy CMD ABUTH, appeared before the panel.

The Justice Muhammed Lawal-Garba panel also took submissions from the Izala Islamic group and Gyellesu Community in Zaria.

Buhari Forced Me To Run For Governorship – El-Rufai

Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has revealed that he never considered himself ‘nice’ to rule the state.

El-Rufai also said he would have lost the election that brought him to power if not for the Card Reader introduced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The governor disclosed this yesterday when he performed the closing ceremony of the 2-day Economic Summit for investors interested in doing business in the state.

El-Rufai said he was still wondering why people still refer to him as a nice governor, despite demolition of illegal structures by government.

“I want to pay tribute to President Muhammadu Buhari who ensured that I became the governor of Kaduna State. It was President Muhammadu Buhari that forced me to contest for the governorship race of Kaduna State in revenge for persuading him to run the presidential race.

“If he had not asked me to run for the governorship, I wouldn’t have stood before you today as the governor of Kaduna State.

“It is the Buhari phenomenon that had swept away the PDP. Buhari is a man of integrity, a Nigerian leader whose name has not been found in the Panama documents.

“The president inherited 16 years of impunity, and it will take time to clean it up, so, all Nigerians need to be patient with him. And, with the quality of leaders we have in the country, Nigeria will take its rightful place in the comity of nations.

“I wonder why people still refer to me as a nice governor even when I demolished their houses. I am not a nice governor.

“I thank the people of Kaduna State for voting for us. We did not pay kobo to get those votes, if it were in those days without the card reader, we would have lost the election.

“I promise you, we will keep working until we make this state a better place for you.”

Falana Demands “Unconditional” Release Of El-Zakzaky From DSS

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has petitioned the State Security Service demanding the “unconditional release” of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the detained leader of the Shi-ite sect, and his wife, Zeenat.

Mr. El-Zakzaky and his wife have been in detention since December last year, after a violent clash between members of his sect and the Nigerian army.

In a letter to the Director-General of the SSS, Mr. Falana demanded their release from “illegal detention” within 24 hours.

“Even though our clients have not been told that they breached any law, they have been denied access to their lawyers, personal physicians, and family members for over three months,” Mr. Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria, said in the letter dated April 5.

“Our clients were only permitted to meet with us last Friday after several requests made by us had been turned down without any legal basis.”

On December 12, last year, armed soldiers clashed with members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria at Zaria, Kaduna.

The next day, the soldiers returned to unleash more violence on the sect members.

More than 300 members were believed to to have been killed in the attack, which the army initially described as an attempt to assassinate Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff.

The military later released an edited video showing angry youth, armed with sticks and cutlasses, arguing with some army officers over the right of way for Mr. Buratai’s convoy.

Human Rights Watch described the killing as a “terrible carnage” and “unjustifiable.”

In the aftermath of the incident, the Kaduna State government set up a Judicial C‎ommission of Enquiry, but members of the sect boycotted the sittings in protest of their leader’s continued detention.

Mr. Falana said the “murderers and vandals” were later joined by officials of the Kaduna State government who demolished the sect’s buildings with bulldozers.

“Although our clients were not at the scene of the attack, the rampaging troops invaded their residence at Wali Street, Zaria, on December 14,” Mr. Falana said.

“The troops set the building ablaze and killed three of our clients’ children in their presence and thereby subjected them to untold mental agony.

“Thereafter, the armed soldiers shot our clients several times. As a result of the brutal attack, Sheikh Zakzaky lost his left eye while doctors are currently battling to save the right one.

“To compound the physical pain and mental anguish that our clients were subjected to in the circumstance, the Nigeria Police Force and State Security Service have held them incommunicado for the past three and half months.”

Mr. Falana said a similar incident in 2014 resulted in a detachment of the Nigerian Army killing three of Mr. El-Zakzaky’s children.

“The report of the fact-finding Commission of Enquiry set up by the government has not seen the light of day,” he said.

Kaduna Version Of O’Meals Creates 72,000 Jobs

A total of 72, 000 jobs have been created under the Kaduna State Government’s School Feeding Programme introduced in January, the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Dr Shehu Adamu, has said.

Adamu told newsmen on Monday in Kaduna that the programme would not only enhance the nutritional needs of pupils, but also empower the people and enhance their livelihood.

According to him, 18, 000 food vendors were employed across the state, who in turn hired about three additional hands each, amounting to 72, 000 jobs created under the scheme.

The commissioner said the school feeding programme has increased economic activities in the state, with over N311 million injected into the economy every week as payment to the vendors.

“What people see is the food being served to the pupils, but the programme goes beyond just feeding the child.

“Yes the child will stay healthy because the meal will increase his nutrition and enhance his immunity for healthy living.

“It improves parents saving margin as it takes away their burden of providing a meal to the child, improve enrolment and retention,“ he said.

He assured that the administration had put in measures to sustain the feeding programme for the remaining years of its tenure.

The commissioner advised critics of the programme to focus on its positive values, rather than sentiment.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai inaugurated the one-meal per day feeding programme in January for 1.8 million pupils in over 4,000 primary schools in the state.


“I Don’t Slap People”, El-rufai Responds To Rumours Of Altercation With His Deputy

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, on Tuesday night said that he never slapped his deputy, Barnabas Bala, whom he described as a friend of 40 years.

El-Rufai made the clarification in Kaduna while reacting to an alleged fight between him and his deputy.

The friendship of the governor and Bala dated back to their undergraduate days at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where the former graduated with a first-class degree in Quantity Survey while the latter bagged a first-class degree in Architecture.

El-Rufai said he had known his deputy since 1976 at the university and that there was no grouse between them.

The governor and his deputy were said to be at loggerheads over the plan by the governor to sack top civil servants in the state.

However, el-Rufai, in an interactive session with some journalists in Kaduna, simply laughed over the allegations, saying that the rumour mongers were not intelligent enough.

He said, “I have known Bala since 1976. I never had an argument with him; I respect his opinions and each time I travelled out of the country, I made him the acting governor. He signs documents on my behalf.

“We chair executive council meetings together. We operate like partners, and now people want to create enmity between us. I am of age, I can’t descend so low. This rumour is completely false; it is created to cause division. We never discussed the retrenchment of workers in the state as claimed by the rumour mongers.

“I have never slapped anyone in my life. I have never argued with Bala. I don’t slap people, I fight people with my mouth.”

Army Offers N1m For Intel On Abducted Officer

Following the abduction of Colonel Samaila Inusa by unknown gunmen, the Nigeria Army on Monday promised a cash reward of N1m for anyone with useful information that could lead to his rescue.

The spokesman of the First Division of the Nigerian Army, Col Usman Abdul, disclosed the cash donation while speaking with newsmen on Monday.

Abdul on behalf of the army pledged adequate protection to anyone with useful information, adding that such tip-off would be treated with utmost confidentiality.

We recall that Col Inusa was on Saturday night abducted by unknown gunmen along Kaduna Refinery Road, in Chikun local government area of Kaduna State.

The Army which had earlier promised a N500,000 cash reward for anyone with useful information raised the reward to N1m on Monday.

Labour Protest 11 Months Salary Arrears In Kaduna

Organised labour, yesterday, crippled government activities Kaduna State as civil servants at the state and local government levels abandoned their duty posts to attend a rally organized by labour to protest perceived anti-workers policies of Governor Nasir El-Rufai-led All Progressives Congress, APC, government.

This came as labour threatened a nationwide industrial action should the governor fail to rescind his alleged anti-workers’ policies in the next seven days.

Vanguard reports that aggrieved workers, who thronged the secretariat of the Kaduna State branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, from all parts of the state, with several placards bearing various inscriptions, chanted anti-El-Rufai’s songs and called the governor unprintable names, regretting voting for him.

Though armed policemen waited in trucks outside the secretariat, men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, frisked anyone going through the gates for weapons, the rally was peaceful.

Addressing the angry workers under the scorching sun, factional President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba said both leaders of NLC and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, had met and resolved that the governor must among others, within the next seven days pay the workers their 11 months’ salary arrears, or a nationwide industrial action would be declared.

Other decisions by NLC and TUC included that “All workers of Kaduna State should fill the verification form and indicate whether to join labour or opt out. But, you should make a copy of that form and keep it with your union officials for the records. We believe that the governor wants to rig the process and announce that most workers had indicated that they don’t want to join any trade union. With that, he can abrogate unionism here and deal with you badly. So, keep a copy with your union officials. In the next seven days, if El-Rufai does not pay workers their sixth to ninth months’ salary arrears, pay compensation to the victims of his verification exercises, the following will happen – We are going to mobilise all workers in the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT and other trade unions outside the public service to stop work for a day in solidarity with Kaduna State workers.

“If the governor refuses to heed to these demands, we are going to move to Kaduna – All workers from 36 states of the Nigeria and from their LGAs. We are going to occupy Kaduna with our colleagues, market man and women, artisans and artistes, Bank Workers, Construction workers, drivers’ unions and everyone that is sympathetic to organise labour.”

Eagles Struggling In Kaduna Heat – Siasia

Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia has admitted the hot weather in Kaduna is affecting some of his players, but praised the commitment of the team ahead of Friday’s AFCON showdown against Egypt.

Siasia took his first training at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna Tuesday evening for the double-header AFCON qualifiers with the first leg slated for Kaduna on Friday, before the return leg is played on Tuesday in Alexandria.

“You could still figure out that some of them were fighting to survive the not-too-friendly weather despite being cooler than the Abuja weather,” Siasia said.

“But I am happy with the commitment level of the players. You could see that they really want to fight for their fatherland and they tried to put in all they have in the training.”

Kick-off of the match has now been moved by an hour to 5pm local time.

The coach also confirmed that Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi, who suffered from food poisoning in camp in Abuja, has recovered fully and will be involved in today’s training in Kaduna.
“Alex had a light training with the team’s physiotherapist and he moved well on the pitch. He is okay and would be involved in today’s only training session,” Siasia disclosed.

Kaduna, Kebbi, Dangote To Acquire Peugeot Automobile Nigeria

Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has partnered the Bank of Industry (BoI) and the Kaduna and Kebbi State Governments to acquire a majority stake in Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) Limited.

This disclosure was made by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, at the launch of the BoI Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES).

“We have submitted bids for the car maker … with Aliko Dangote on board together with BoI, Kebbi and Kaduna States… We are confident our bid will sail through,” reported Reuters on Thursday.

Peugeot is a joint venture between ASD Motors and the French automaker, with a long history in Nigeria, the anticipated hub of automotive assembling on the Africa continent.

El-Rufai said Kaduna and Kebbi, along with BoI and Dangote, had submitted bids for the stake which the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) is looking to sell.

Peugeot Nigeria assembly plant located in Kaduna State has Peugeot Citroen PEUP.PA as its technical partner “with a capacity to assemble 240 cars a day”.

Though conceived in 1969, Peugeot found its roots in Nigeria only two years later, after winning a bid during the Yakubu Gowon-led government.

In November 2006, PAN was privatised in line with government’s agenda to build a stronger, more competitive and diversified economy.

ASD Motors emerged as the successful core investor and took over the management of the company in January 2007, with a 54.78 per cent stake, making Sani Dauda CEO of both ASD Motors and Peugeot Nigeria.

The expectation was that the privatisation of PAN would create a quantum leap in performance, but that has not happened, the company confirmed.

“Following the accumulation of huge non-performing loans (NPL) indebtedness to banks, in October 2012, the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) acquired the debts of the company and converted a portion to equity to help restructure the firm,” Peugeot had said.

The planned acquisition is expected to revamp the presence of the company in Africa’s largest economy.

But as news of the bid for Peugeot Nigeria broke yesterday, a new report by Nielsen, a US-based global and information measurement company, showed that Africa’s largest economy was no longer the top investment destination on the continent. In its place, Cote d’Ivoire has risen to the top of the rankings.

According to Nielsen, Cote d’Ivoire has been buoyed by a fast growing economy and a lengthy period of political stability highlighted by successful elections last year to become the prime destination for investments in Africa.

However, that status could now be affected following a recent attack by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM).

Having been ranked as the top investment destination at the start of 2015, Nigeria has now fallen to fourth on the rankings in Africa.

The ominous slide fits the narrative of Nigeria’s slowing economic growth amid a global slump in commodity prices, the report said. Oil in particular, Nigeria’s main export and revenue source, has been badly hit.

According to the research firm, Nigeria’s slide was “driven primarily by deteriorating macro-economic indicators”. It also added that “consumer indicators and overall confidence levels” have also dipped.

A recent capital importation report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) also confirmed the Nielsen report.

Last year, Nigeria’s recorded total inflow of capital into the economy stood at $9.6 billion —a 53 per cent drop from the previous year and the lowest recorded total since 2011.

While incidental economic factors have largely contributed to Nigeria’s floundering economy, the country’s government has also come in for criticism for not managing the crisis effectively.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s handling of the economy has been questioned with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) instituting strict monetary controls in response to commodity prices and a currency slide.

These controls, which inevitably strained citizens and hardly had the desired effect, have been described as unorthodox.

As Buhari closes in on his first year in office, many Nigerians will be hoping that in his second year, the focus will be on triggering an economic rebound in Africa’s biggest economy following slowed growth.