Execute Zamani Lekwot, others, for peace to reign in Southern Kaduna, says Supreme Council for Sharia

The Supreme Council for Shariah in Nigeria says peace can only reign in Southern Kaduna if government executes Major General Zamani Lekwot (retd.) and other leaders sentenced to death over the  Zango-Kataf riot in 1992.

AbdulRahman Hassan, The SCSN’s Secretary, stated this at a press conference in Kaduna on Thursday.

He said government’s failure to execute Lekwot and others sentenced to death over the  riot was responsible for the persistent attacks in Southern Kaduna.

Lekwot, Major James Kude (retd) and others were sentenced to death for their involvement in the Zango-Kataf riot that claimed several lives in 1992 under the regime of General Ibrahim Babangida (retd.).

Since 2015, there have been increasing attacks by Fulani herdsmen  in  Southern Kaduna,  despite the claim by the Federal Government that it had deployed troops in the area.

In the last few months, communities such as Kigosi, Manini, Katarma and Kajari  in the Chikun Local Government Area and Doka, Gonar Rogo, Agwala, in the  Kajuru Local Government Area had been attacked.

The Southern Kaduna People’s Union had raised the alarm that famine was imminent in the area because bandits had forcefully taken over people’s farms.

On Thursday, the Shariah council proffered a solution to the Southern Kaduna killings. At the press conference in Kaduna, its Secretary, Hassan, called for the revisit of the death sentence passed on those convicted for the riot in Zango-Kataf.

Hassan said those convicted including Lekwot, Kude and others, should be executed to allow peace reign in Southern Kaduna once and for all.

He stated, “We want those pardoned in 1992 during Zango-Kataf crisis, after being condemned to death, to be executed now because that is the only way peace will return to the area.

“Till now, Zonkwa is still a ghost town. Surprisingly, the Christian Association of Nigeria, the Southern Kaduna People’s Union and their allies have never cried foul in the massacre of innocent law-abiding citizens on the account of their faith.

“Many more ethno-religious crises continue to occur in Kasuwan Magani, Kajuru, Zangon Kataf and some other places.

“After every crisis, a commission of enquiry will be formed, a report will be submitted to the government of the day, yet to no avail.

“For instance, the late Justice Pius Okadigbo tribunal on the Zangon Kataf crisis, found retired General  Zamani Lekwot and others guilty of the massacre that took place there and they were sentenced to death, but they were later pardoned.

“That was what opened the floodgate of violence, mayhems, upheavals and total breakdown of law and order in that axis, which is ravaging the area till today because some people felt they are above the law.

“The council has been saying, time without number that all those found guilty in these crimes against humanity, must face the wrath of the law.”

“Muslim communities of Southern Zaria filed a suit on the mass killing of Muslims during the post-election crises of 2011 at the ECOWAS Court.

The secretary recalled that Justice Gberi-Be Quattara, in its ruling on March, 2020, held that the respondent should “effectively hold accountable, the individuals responsible for the mass killing in Kaduna State, and complete their prosecution within a reasonable time.”

“Our belief is that the Kaduna State Government is only trying to abide by the court order, which did not go down well with SOKAPU and CAN, hence the recent upheaval in Zangon Kataf in which some Fulani herdsmen were killed and their rugas were burnt by the Katafs’ Christian militia.

“This was exactly what triggered the recent reprisals we are witnessing today. This unfortunate situation would have been avoided, had it been the past Kaduna State administrations had taken the right steps taken by the current administration in implementing the recommendations of successive white papers.

“However, the only way peace could be achieved in any case is through the administration of justice, which will serve as a deterrent.

“Therefore the committee inaugurated by the Kaduna State Government to go over the reports of all the previous ethno-religious crises, and advise on the implementation of the recommendations in the white papers on the respective crises is a welcome development.

“We call on the state government to continue with this good work, as it will, by Allah’s Grace, be the lasting solution to the ethno-religious crises in the state.”

When contacted to comment on the position of Shari’ah council, the President of SOKAPU, Jonathan Asake, simply replied, “I can’t comment on it without seeing the press statement.”

Recall that the 1992 Zango-Kataf riot took place  during  the Babangida regime, which set up a tribunal, headed by the late Justice Pius Okadigbo.

Okadigbo tried and sentenced Lekwot, Kude and others to death by hanging over their complicity in the riot.

However, they had a reprieve when the late General Sani Abacha granted them state pardon.

About the Author: Success Kafoi

Success Kafoi is a technology oriented Nigerian Journalist, with penchant in ICT development and technology innovation. You can reach him on success@naijaaffairs.com

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