Press briefing by Samuel Aruwan, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Governor of Kaduna State on the prosecution of 65 suspects following the 26th February, 2018, crisis in Kasuwan Magani, Kajuru Local Government Area. At Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, 6th March 2018.
Distinguished gentlemen of the press:
You will recall that on the 26th February 2018, the monster of religious intolerance ignited violent crisis in Kasuwan Magani, Kajuru Local Government Area. It was in Kasuwan Magani in 1981, that the first religious violence broke in Kaduna State, initiating an unfortunate legacy of violence.
The Kaduna State Government and well-meaning Nigerians have condemned this needless tragedy, in which several lives were lost, properties worth millions of naira destroyed, and homes and places of worship burnt. The violence has undermined communal harmony and goodwill that had been patiently rebuilt over the last four decades.
Therefore, the state government directed that the security agencies to contain the situation, prevent escalation, investigate the violent incidence, effect arrests and prosecute persons indicted. The security agencies have since complied with the directives and security agencies are still carrying out internal security operations in Kasuwan Magani and its environs, stretching from Maraban Rido to Maraban Kajuru.
On 27th February 2018, a team from the Kaduna State Security Council visited Kasuwan Magani. The team, led by the General Officer Commanding, I Division Nigerian Army, Major General Mohammed Mohammed, included Commissioner of Police Austin Iwar, State Director of Department of State ServicesMohammed Wakil, Commander Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, AM Bunu, Special Adviser on Internal Security, Col. Yakubu Yusuf (rtd) and Samuel Aruwan, Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity.
After assessing the situation on the ground and preliminary report, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Austin Iwar told journalists, that security agencies have arrested 18 persons in connection with the mayhem. Since then, further arrests have been made.
In fact, 65 persons have been charged before a magistrate’s court in Kaduna. All the suspects have been remanded in Kaduna Prison custody and the case adjourned to the 15th, March 2018. There should be no doubt that the state will not relent in vigorously prosecuting the suspects.
The legacy of violence in Kaduna State has been enabled by impunity. This cannot continue. Nobody will be allowed to use religion or ethnicity to justify criminal conduct. It is also important to stress that nobody or group has the constitutional right to force other people to embrace their prejudices or beliefs. Matters of faith are the prerogatives of individuals whose voluntary decisions must be respected by all.
The presumption by some misguided people that they can tell others what to belief, or compel them to embrace or reject any faith, or subject their private beliefs to the unlawful supervision of any group is baseless, and becomes criminal when acted upon.
The Government of Kaduna State urges all our communities to firmly reject those who instigate or justify violence, using religion and ethnicity as a weapon. The Constitution of this country grants everyone the right to life, and the state government will firmly protect this right and secure justice for the victims.