Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has disclosed that 22 people lost their lives during the Sunday crisis that rocked Kaduna metropolis while 44 others sustained injuries and several properties damaged within the city.
This was as the Governor vowed to enforce the various existing laws that impose costs on communities that permit violence in their midst, in order to stem the intermittent crises in Kaduna state.
Meanwhile, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has condemned the crisis, saying that, such crises have threatened the polity, politics and socio-economic development of the region.
El-Rufai issued the warning in an address during the emergency meeting of the State Council of Chiefs on Tuesday, stated that, laws impose on community members to bear the cost of repairs of damage arising from crises.
El Rufai mentioned that the various provisions of the Riots Damage Laws of 1958, the Collective Damage Law of 1915 and the Peace Preservation Law of 1917 will henceforth be enforced.
According to him, “these laws impose on communities that permit violence in their midsts, obliging community members to be charged and levied monies for the costs of repairing damage done during episodes of violence.”
The governor promised that his administration will provide details of the enforcement of these extant laws.
El Rufai also warned the Royal Fathers that government will no longer accept excuses from them when crises erupt in their domains.
“In situations of unrests, it is common for traditional rulers to disclaim any control over unruly youths. It is an excuse we can no longer accept. Where significant sections of a community disdain the counsel or authority of their traditional ruler, it imperils the rationale for keeping the traditional institution and the occupant of the office”, he argued.
The governor who traced the genesis of crises in Kaduna state, said that ethno-religious clash first occurred in Kasuwan Magani in 1980, adding that “since them, it appears that a constituency has developed which believes that violence pays, and is convinced that violence has no consequences for the perpetrators. ”
According to him, “it is time for a powerful coalition for peace to speak frankly and support actions against those who menace the right of our citizens to live in peace wherever they choose.”
The governor who vowed to prosecute the perpetrators of the crisis, however lamented the slow pace prosecution in the courts.
He stated that Kaduna State is working to secure the approval of the National Judicial Council in order to expand the bench with 20 additional high court judges.
In addition, El Rufai said that government is working with Kaduna State Police Command to establish a police division in Narayi and Sabon Tasha. He expressed gratitude to the police authorities for agreeing to establish a police division at Kasuwan Magani.
ACF in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim Biu, said, “Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) is saddened with the spate of communal clashes in some parts of the North and in particular the recent one in Kasuwan Magani village, Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State where about 52 people were alleged to have been killed.
“The communal reprisal clash over simple disagreement with its consequent loss of lives and destruction of property is most unfortunate and condemnable. Communities that have lived together peacefully over the years should refrain from such avoidable violent conflicts that in most cases also destroy trust and harmony among communities, which is not helpful.
“Threats to our peace as one united people and a region over the years have affected our peaceful coexistence, unity, polity and socio-economic development. We must therefore, come together and stop this unfortunate and condemnable carnage that does no one any good.
“Reprisal attacks are certainly not the best way to resolve disputes. ACF therefore calls upon the warring communities in Kajuru and in other states to lay down their arms and embrace dialogue in resolving their disagreements. Leaders of the various communities should also play a greater role in ensuring that peace and harmony are restored in the affected areas.
“ACF urges the Security Agencies to swing into action and not only fish out the criminals who perpetrated these dastardly acts, but also ensure that they face the wrath of the law to serve as deterrence to others. The Police and Judiciary should therefore fast track its investigating and prosecuting processes, as justice delayed is justice denied.
“ACF also commends the prompt intervention of the Security Agencies in the Kasuwan Magani crisis and its spill over to other parts of Kaduna and urges them to sustain surveillance in the areas until normalcy is restored.
“ACF equally commends the Kaduna State Government for imposing 24hour curfew in Kaduna and environs to stop further escalation of the crisis. We urge the Government to strengthen its peace building process by engaging the leaders of the affected communities and other stakeholders in finding an endurable peace in the Kaduna State.
“ACF extends its condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones, the Government and people of Kaduna State over this unfortunate incident.