Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, yesterday, said communities have an obligation to keep the peace, report and expose criminal elements, stressing that government intends to encourage peace by vigorously enforcing the various provisions of the riots damage law of 1958. The governor added that government would also enforce the collective punishment law of 1915 and the peace Preservation Law of 1917:”These laws impose costs on communities that permit violence in their midst, obliging community members to be charged and levied monies for the cost of repairing damage done during episodes of violence.” Addressing council of chiefs during an emergency meeting held in Kaduna over the outbreak of violence in some parts of the state last week, El-Rufai, in his address entitled, “Let us strengthen the Coalition for Peace” updated the resolutions of the security council meeting which okayed selective variation of the curfew as appropriate in certain parts of Kaduna metropolis. The governor said that KSTA vehicles with Police/NSCDC would escort travellers passing through Kaduna.
He revealed that police would work with other relevant agencies to revive the task force to enforce the proscription of operations of commercial motorcyclists popularly known as okadas and re-establishment of checkpoints and military patrols along Kachia Road. He said that government would review of the activities of youth groups and community development associations to ensure that they are conducive to the promotion of peace and harmony” The governor said, “As you are aware, there have been breaches of the peace since Thursday, 18th October 2018, when unrest broke out in Kasuwan Magani. The state government promptly imposed a curfew in the area. The loss of lives was staggering- at least 55 corpses were recovered, and the damage to lives and livelihoods considerable. A brazen crime was committed. We owe the victims justice, and our state respite from the impunity of those who have arrogated to themselves the authority to wantonly violate lives, livelihoods and the rights of others.”
“The necessity to apply the law vigorously is illustrated by the panic and anxiety that spread into our capital city and environs as people spread vile rumours on Sunday, 21st October 2018. Hoodlums exploited the situation to engage in further criminal activity and to violate the rights of other citizens. The aftermath of the disinformation and resulting panic led to the death of another 22 citizens, injuries to 44 persons and destruction of property within Kaduna metropolis. Some of the injured have been discharged, but 34 others are still receiving medical attention,” he added. “The Kaduna State government was therefore compelled to declare a 24-hour curfew in the metropolis to stem the proliferation of false rumours, prevent the spread of chaos and to enable the security agencies to restore calm. We have gone round affected areas, visited hospitals, interacted with communities and counseled against reliance on unsubstantiated information.
“I wish to inform your Royal Highnesses that the government is constantly reviewing the situation with the leaders of the security agencies. Yesterday, senior government and security officials went around Kaduna metropolis, Kujama and Kasuwan Magani to further reassure and calm our people. We also visited Kachia, where we met and commiserated with the family of HRH Agom Kachia whose release from abduction we are all working and praying for,” he noted. “Your Royal Highnesses, we all have a supreme obligation to overcome the legacy of strife in Kaduna State. We are not the only diverse place on this planet. And we must not hold on to a legacy of division. The first ethno-religious clash in the state which happened in Kasuwan Magani in 1980, led to the loss of our innocence. Since then, it appears that a constituency has developed which believes that violence pays, and is convinced that violence has no consequence for the perpetrators.
“ It is time to firmly persuade them otherwise. It is time for a powerful coalition for peace to speak frankly and support firm actions against those who menace the right of our citizens to live in peace wherever they choose, to freely practice their faith anywhere and to pursue legitimate livelihoods without let or hindrance. No group or individual will be allowed to veto or constrain the rights that the Constitution has guaranteed,” he said.
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