Press statement on the current security situation in Kano by Kano Civil Society Forum
The Kano Civil Society Forum is a platform which brings together all Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organizations operating in Kano to address urgent matters of common interest and concern to their collective work, particularly issues that affect the general welfare of the people. The Forum conducts periodic assessment of actions and developments which pose grave threats to the enjoyment of civil liberties and fundamental rights of all. The Forum also regularly interacts with and engages all Law enforcement Agencies and occasionally offers advisory to them on matters affecting its mandate.
In furtherance of this, the Kano Civil Society Forum met at the Secretariat of the Network for Justice, Magaji Dambatta Road, Kano on January 31st, 2012 to review happenings and developments that have arisen following the siege laid on Kano metropolis by the Jamaat Ahlissunah liddawah wal Jihad (aka Boko Haram) and the continuing incidents associated with the measures and actions taken by security agencies to deal with it. In attendance were well over 30 representatives of CSO’s operating in Kano.
It is a sad and depressing matter of common knowledge that on January 20, 2012 and through highly coordinated actions, members of Boko Haram attacked police and other security formations and residences of security personnel within Kano metropolis. As a result of the use of explosive devices and gunfire exchanges, hundreds of persons were killed and property destroyed. From official accounts, innocent civilians have suffered the brunt of the attacks. Since that day, there have been reports of sporadic similar attacks and exchanges of gunfire between members of the Boko Haram and security officers resulting in more deaths and destruction of property.
What is more disturbing, social and economic activities have been severely curtailed or grounded and the well-being of the people living in Kano metropolis has been shattered. In response, police action and security measures have been put in place to deal with the menace. The measures are in the form of the gauntlet of restrictive curfews imposed and pervasive road-blocks and security check-points thrown around the city and on major access roads into Kano State. These have further aggravated the sufferings of the people, exposed them to threats to livelihood and survival and threaten to irreversibly add crippling blows to economic activities in the entire State.
At the meeting, members reported witness accounts and reports of individual and collective actions and measures taken by security personnel that are of grave concern to the Forum. These actions relate to alleged or suspected incidents of extra-judicial killings, various acts of intimidation, harassment and extortions by the security personnel and sundry actions which impose collective punishment on entire communities. In the opinion of members if not checked or moderated, these actions are capable of undermining public confidence and trust in the security operations and pose grave dangers to social harmony. The Forum wishes to highlight the following incidents and matters of serious concern which are only representative and not exhaustive:
From accounts of relations and neighbours of the deceased, a contingent of security personnel, with a helicopter hovering over the premises with search lights in the dead of the night, attacked the residence of one Alhaji Uzairu of Yakasai quarters, a trader, who lives in Hotoro, killed him, his pregnant wife and housemaid. As if these killings were not enough, their bodies were removed and have been withheld.
There are various reported incidences of police brutalities and soldiers maltreating people going about their normal businesses outside the curfew hours. For instance some doctors working with the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano were ordered at a police checkpoint to come out of their ambulance and made to engage in frog jumps. At a Mariri checkpoint, some passersby were seen being made to lie on the ground and face the scorching sun. At different checkpoints, motorcycle riders, whether commercial or private, are indiscriminately being made to dismount and walk long distances, dragging their motorcycles etc.
Whole neighbourhoods and communities are routinely and perpetually being harassed, intimidated and individuals threatened and kicked with gun buts. In particular the neighbourhoods of Hotoro and Mandawari have suffered these intimidatory practices and actions the most.
At the conclusion of its meeting, the Forum adopted the following recommendations and advisories:
As a mark of respect to the dignity of late Alhaji Uzairu, his pregnant wife and housemaid; in deference to the community’s religious and cultural sensibilities; and so as to cultivate or reassure public trust and confidence, we demand that the bodies of the deceased be released forthwith to their families to enable them perform a decent burial in accordance with Islamic rites;
We call upon the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and all relevant security agencies to conduct an urgent investigation to establish the facts relating to the killing of Uzairu, his pregnant wife, housemaid etc and make their findings public.
We urge the National Human Rights Commission to carry out its statutory mandate to assist with the documentation and investigation of all reported acts of extra-judicial killings and excessive use of force, intimidation and harassment of the public in Kano arising from the incidents of January 20, 2012. Specifically, we call upon the Commission to issue an advisory to the security agencies on the conduct of the security operations in Kano and other places similar to that issued on the eve of the start of anti-fuel subsidy removal strike actions and demonstrations.
We call upon the police and the Military personnel drafted for the operations in Kano to make public their rules of engagement for information and guidance. We urge them to give proper instructions to their operatives to strictly abide by them and caution them that they will be held accountable in cases of established breaches or abuses;
We enjoin the public to respect all lawful orders and fully cooperate with the security personnel in their operations which are geared to ensure our safety and security. In particular, we enjoin the public, especially the youths, to avoid getting in the path of security officials or engaging in the dangerous acts of gathering to watch the spectacle of ongoing incidents.
We enjoin all stakeholders, including the Governor of Kano State, the Emir of Kano, other community & religious leaders to prevail on the authorities to explore avenues of peaceful & amicable resolution of the problem, with a view to returning normalcy to Kano metropolis.
Bala Abdulahi, Chairman Naseer Kura, For Secretary
(For and on behalf of members in attendance)
Name of the Organization’s in attendance
01 SUPPORT FOR WOMEN AND TEENAGE CHILDREN (SWACTH)
02 GWALE YOUTH DEVELOPMENT FORUM (GYDF)
04 SOCIETY FOR WOMEN AGAINST AIDS IN AFRICA (SWAAN)
05 DEMOCRATIC ACTION GROUP (DAG)
11 YOUTH EMPOWERMENT AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE (YEHDI)
13 C.S. FORUM
14 VOICE OF NGOS
16 FEDERATION OF MUSLIM WOMEN IN NIGERIA (FOMWAN)
18 CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN ISLAM
20 NETWORK FOR JUSTICE
22 KANO STATE YOUTH STAKEHOLDERS
23 RIGHT BASED ADVOCACY COALITION (RIBAC)
24 TAURARUWA AWARENESS & DEVT. ASSOCIATION
25 COALITION OF BUDGET TRANSPARENCY ADVOCAT ES IN KANO (COBTAK)
26 NETWORK FOR EMPOWERMENT AND DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE (NEDIN)
28 ANSAR WOMEN DEVELOPMENT
30 BASIC RIGHT ACTION(BRA)
31 CIVIL LIBERTIES ORGANISATION (CLO)
32 WOMEN, WIDOWS AND ORPHANS DEV. INITIATIVE
35 NETWORK FOR DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION (NDF)
36 NIGERIA BAR ASSOCIATION (NBA)