The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, said on Tuesday that no fewer than 20,000 persons had lost their lives in various crises in the state since 1980.
The solution to killings with impunity in the state, the governor said, was enforcement of the law and prosecution of perpetrators.
El-Rufai spoke when he received a delegation of the executive team of the Nigerian Bar Association who paid him a solidarity visit at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna.
The delegation was led by the President, NBA, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), first Vice- President, Caleb Dajan, national executive members and other prominent lawyers in the state.
El-Rufai told the lawyers that apart from the Justice Benedict Okadigbo Tribunal on the Zango-Kataf Religious Crisis, no government had prosecuted anybody over their involvement in various crises in the state.
The administration of a former military dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, established the Benedict Okadigbo Tribunal to try all those that were implicated in the 1992 Zango-Kataf crisis, during which hundreds of people were killed and property worth millions of naira were destroyed.
El-Rufai, however, vowed to prosecute all those found to be behind the recent killings in the three local government areas of Jema’a, Zango-Kataf and Kaura.
He said a number of arrests had been made and more people in connection with the crises would soon be picked up.
El-Rufai said, “ Since 1980, about 10,000 to 20,000 were killed in Kaduna State during crises and government did not prosecute anybody. We are determined to end the killings in Kaduna. Henceforth, the law will fully apply without fear or favour.
“We have made some arrests and you will be shocked to see the calibre of perpetrators that we are going to prosecute. No matter how highly-placed the person is, we will bring him or her to face the full wrath of the law, to serve as deterrent to others who may want to sponsor crisis.
“Some of the things you are hearing are not true. Some people have made up their minds to spread hatred and falsehood especially in the media. We thank you for your visit to Kaduna. Don’t stop at Kafanchan, go to communities to see things for yourself and also interact with all the stakeholders to have correct and accurate facts. By doing so, your delegation will know the truth. Let me correct this impression, it is not the entire Southern Kaduna that is under attacks, we have problem in three local government areas but crisis in the areas have been brought under control.”
Earlier, the NBA President had said he led the delegation to express the lawyers’ concern about the crisis, and show solidarity with the state over the killings in Southern Kaduna.
Mahmud said, “The objective of our visit this morning is the issue of some of the recent happenings in some of the local governments in the southern part of the state. We are concerned because of the level of violence and listening to our colleagues, we understand that the scale of violence has really been unprecedented.”
Meanwhile, the state has further relaxed the curfew imposed on Jema’a, Kaura and Zangon Kataf LGAs in the wake of the recent crisis in the southern part of the state.
A statement issued by el-Rufai’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said the decision to relax the curfew was taken by the State Security Council at their 41st meeting.
Aruwan said, “The Kaduna State Security Council on Tuesday in its 41st meeting reviewed the current security situation in the state. The council deliberated on the security situation in Jema’a, Kaura and Zangon Kataf Local Government Areas in Kaduna South Senatorial District. Following its assessment of reports from the field, the Security Council relaxed the 24-hour curfew in Kaura Local Government Area. The curfew is now from 7pm to 6am daily.”