Buhari warns religious groups, N’Assembly probes Zaria clash
• Followers demand release of EL Zakzaky
• ’Unlawful killers must be brought to book’
Following the clash between soldiers and members of Shi’ites Islamic sect in Zaria, Kaduna State, President Muhammadu Buhari has warned religious bodies across the country to refrain from unpatriotic activities that may breach public peace and order.
He advised them to always respect constituted authorities and extant laws when conducting their activities in the country.
The President gave the warning through the Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdularahman Danbazzau (rtd) who visited Zaria to assess the impact of the clash last Saturday. The minister, who was accompanied by the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase and Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Abdullahi Mohammadu, warned that the Federal Government, under Buhari’s leadership will not condone any act of lawlessness and disregard to the rule of law by any religious organisation or individual.
During the violent clash between soldiers and members of the Islamic movement scores were said to have died. The Hussainiyya shrine of the sect and the residence of its Spiritual leader, Sheik Ibraheem El Zakzaky, were allegedly demolished.
During the tour, the minister and his entourage assessed the level of Damage. They visited Governor Nasir El-Rufai and the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris. They were later conducted round the demolished sites by top army officers on ground.
The minister expressed disappointment over what he called continued show of disrespect for the law and breach of public peace by members of some sect groups in the country, and cautioned them to desist from such act.
Meanwhile, the Senate has begun investigations into the violent confrontation.
The decision to investigate the matter was taken during an executive session of the Upper Legislative Chamber where the danger and the dimension the conflict could take were discussed.
Accordingly, the Senate set up a joint committee comprising seven of its standing committees to unravel the remote and immediate causes of the clash. The investigation which will be coordinated by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence, Ahmed Lawal, is also to enable the Senate determines allegations of breaches of the law and the constitution.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, who presided over yesterday’s session said “the Senate sincerely regrets the loss of lives and property during the conflict”, urging all parties involved in the crisis to maintain calm during the investigation.
Also, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has mandated the committees on Defence, Interior, Police, and Intelligence of the Lower Chamber to immediately commence investigations into the violent clash.
Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday.
Followers of the leader of the Shi’ite Islamic Movement, Ibraheem EL Zakzaky yesterday in Abuja demanded his immediate release. They rejected claim by the Nigerian Army that he is being kept in protective custody.
El Zakzaky’s followers, who spoke at a press conference, said they had confirmed reports that their leader suffered several gunshots to parts of his body, including his eyes and therefore required urgent medical attention.
They urged the international community to mount pressure on the Federal Government to release him to them as well as the bodies of their fallen members so they could be buried in accordance with Islamic rites.