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Kajuru Killings: Group accuses Kaduna govt. of injustice, urges Buhari to set up panel of inquiry
A CIVIL society group, the Joint Action Civil Society Crisis Centre, has called on the Kaduna State government to deal with the insecurity in Kajuru with a sense of justice, as well as urging the federal government to inaugurate a probe panel.
Its position was made public through a press statement released on Thursday, titled ‘Justice Not Conquest in the Southern Kaduna Killings’, and signed by three members of its national secretariat: Agnes Ogugua, Adamu Kotorkoshi, and Ier Jonathan Ichaver.
“The Joint Action Civil Society Crisis Centre decries the unabated violence in Southern Kaduna, particularly, in Kajuru LGA, and calls for a balance in the scale of justice in the treatment of the crisis,” the statement read.
“Shortly before the last general elections, we had released a press statement calling for caution and a thorough investigation of the killings in Kajuru following the state government’s pronouncement of the death of 66 persons. At that time, we warned that should the scale of justice remain skewed, it would only perpetuate the cycle of violence and `worsen the already fragile peace in Southern Kaduna, especially as it was unfolding within the context of the general election.
“We are dismayed to note that following that incident, the breach of the fragile trust in the community has led to further deaths and reprisals. More alarming is the stance of the government in addressing the crisis. We have observed and documented several instances of threat, victimisation, and arbitrary arrests of activists and the community leaders of Adara.”
The group condemned the arrest of leaders of the Adara Development Association and the order to arrest others such as James Auta, Sebastine Barde, Bitrus Maiwando, Augustine Jankaro and Luka Waziri.
The group said it has documented the arrest and detention of 23 underage residents of Adara community, without trial, since September.
“In the latest wave of victimisation and arrest is the Kaduna state government’s attempt to utilise the judiciary as a tool to silence even activists and non-indigenes who dare to speak up against the ongoing pogrom and arrests in the state,” it said.
“Such activists include Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, who had publicly expressed doubt on the veracity of the numbers disseminated by the state government and had called for a transparent investigation of the facts surrounding the Kajuru crises.
“We again reiterate that skewing the scales of justice will serve no good to the ongoing crisis and in the long run, will not benefit anyone.”
The CSO called on President Muhammadu Buhari to set up an independent panel of inquiry into the crisis, and service chiefs in ensuring that law enforcement agents perform their duties impartially.
It urged the judiciary to refrain from being biased in its decisions, and also advised the Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, to always act within the provisions of the law, be just to all ethnic and religious groups, and be cautious with his words and actions.
“Finally, we call on all well-meaning Nigerians to become active participants in ending the spate of senseless violence that has befallen our country and is dragging our commonwealth down the path of anarchy,” it said.