Northern governors meet over Zaria killings, warn FG against provoking new insurgency
Governors of 19 states in northern Nigeria met on Saturday to discuss the recent clash between the Nigerian army and the Shi’ite Muslim group in Zaria, Kaduna state that left many of the group’s members dead.
The killings had sparked off protests in different parts of the country against the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai whose convoy was involved in the confrontation and against the Nigerian government as a whole.
The Northern States’ Governors Forum at its meeting in Kaduna on Saturday to review the situation warned that the crisis was not in Nigeria’s best interest and a repeat must not be allowed.
Chairman of the Forum and Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima said “we don’t want the same mistake that happened over the Boko Haram crisis to repeat itself. The issue has to do with an Islamic group that has membership across the 19 States in the North and beyond. We want to look at how to ensure that the incident does not provide room for anyone or group to perpetuate violence in any of the 19 northern states.
“We already have the serious problems of Boko Haram to contend with. We are not in any way comparing the Islamic Movement with Boko Haram, no. But we don’t want the same mistake that happened over the Boko Haram crisis to repeat itself.
“When Boko Haram went wild in July 2009 with clashes between them and the police in Bauchi on 25th and 26th in Maiduguri, most Nigerians saw the issues as the problems of Bauchi and Borno. When they continued to attack Borno and Yobe, it became the affairs of Borno and Yobe States. All of a sudden, there was suicide attack in Abuja in 2012 and then everything went out of control and we are where we are today.
“So, like I said, we do not make any comparison between the murderously violent Boko Haram insurgents and the Islamic Movement but we are here to analyze and ensure that we take measures that will close any avenue which some people may want to seize to create violence in the immediate or long run.”
The governors also said that while they had no doubt about the capability and competence of Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai to take necessary measures to address the incident, their intervention in the matter stemmed from the influence of Kaduna state in the whole North.
Present at the emergency meeting were Governors Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto), Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari (Zamfara), Idris Wada (Kogi), Alh Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Mohammed Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa), Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina) and Kashim Shettima (Borno), among others.