Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State has called on security agencies to release members of the Yusufiyya Movement, popularly known as Boko Haram, and other members of religious groups who are currently in detention.
The governor made the call in his office yesterday after granting unconditional pardon to 20 prisoners in the state, saying there was no justification whatsoever for the continued detention of members of the religious sect.
Kwankwaso said that the state government was surprised about a story published in the Sunday Trust edition of August 28, 2011, on the purported arrest of members of Boko Haram at the instance of the state government and the Emirate Council.
He noted that at no time did the state government ever authorise any security agency to arrest or detain any member of a religious group.
“As a government, we consider all Islamic and Christian religious sects as the same. It is the duty of government to embrace all religious groups toward peaceful coexistence among citizens,” he said.
The governor stated that, contrary to the report, the state government was unaware of the alleged arrest of any member of any religious group nor did it order the detention of members of the Islamist group.
“But if there is any member of the sect in detention, I am hereby calling on the security agencies to either release or charge such person to court within the time stipulated by the Constitution,” he said.
He added that the Kano State government has been working assiduously to promote peace and harmony among all the religious groups.
He assured the people of his administration’s determination to safeguard the lives and property of the people at all times, adding that his administration places high premium on the security of the citizens.
Earlier at the Kano Central Prison, Kwankwaso said a committee on prerogative of mercy carefully selected those who benefited from his clemency. It was, he said, a gesture made in the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan and Eid-el-Fitr.