On 15 February, the Kano State government released the report of a committee it set up to probe unrest in the city: the report said poor governance, poverty and unregulated migration had turned the largest metropolis in northern Nigeria to “an urban jungle”.
Kano had been in a security crisis, sharply aggravated by the 20 January bomb and gun attacks staged by the militant Islamist sect, Boko Haram, which killed at least 185 people. In the wake of those attacks, the Kano state governor, Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, constituted a 15-member committee of political and business leaders to probe the factors fueling unrest in the city.
Magaji Dambatta, who headed the committee, said that “With the virtual collapse of governance structure at community level, making it impossible to keep track of activities in local communities… Kano has unfortunately been reduced to an urban jungle”. The report further cited “the uncontrolled influx of foreigners” as a cause of insecurity. It called for “massive assistance” from the federal government to tackle the city’s staggering poverty and explosive unemployment.
Since 2010, Boko Haram has been waging an insurgent campaign with the goal of establishing Islamic government under strict and comprehensive Sharia law, in the northern parts of the country. While its attacks had been largely in the north-eastern states, the 20 January 20 gun and bomb assault on Kano, was the group’s bloodiest attack. On January 26, a security source said Nigeria had arrested some 200 foreign “Boko Haram ”, mainly from Chad, who may have been involved in the attacks.
On 9 May, President Goodluck Jonathan named a 22-man committee to investigate the violence that rocked Akwa Ibom State before the elections as well as several northern states following the 16 April presidential polls, and in which hundreds of people were killed. The committee is to be chaired by Sheikh Ahmed Lemu.
It will be recalled that on 21 and 22 March, clashes between opposing political parties in Akwa Ibom State resulted in several deaths and massive destruction of property. Thereafter, even before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared President Jonathan winner of the 16 April presidential election, supporters of the rival Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) went on rampage in several northern states. Hundreds, including nine Youth Corps members, were killed and many thousands displaced.
In his national broadcast on 21 April, President Jonathan announced that “a Judicial Commission of Inquiry will be constituted to look into the immediate and remote causes of this recent tide of unrest”.
Mandate of the Committee
According to a statement signed by a Permanent Secretary Mr. Femi Olayisade on behalf of Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, the terms of reference of the panel are “to investigate the immediate and remote cause(s) of the pre-election violence in Akwa Ibom State as well as the tide of unrest in some states of the Federation following the Presidential election and make appropriate recommendations on how to prevent future occurrence”.
The committee is to further “Ascertain the number of persons who lost their lives or sustained injuries during the violence as well as identify the spread and extent of loss and damage to means of livelihood, and assess the cost of damage to personal and public properties and places of worship and make appropriate recommendations.”
The panel is also to “Investigate the sources of weapons used in the unrest and recommend how to stem the tide of illegal flow of such weapons to the country and also examine any other matter incidental or relevant to the unrest and advise government as appropriate.”
Who Is Who on the Committee
The Chairman, Dr Sheikh Ahmed Lemu, is a retired Grand Khadi of Niger State. He a co-founder of the Islamic Education Trust (IET) in Minna, Niger State, which he currently also heads, and has written many books on Islam. In 2009, he was appointed Chancellor of the Fountain University, Osogbo, Osun State.
Other members of the committee are as follows:
- Justice Samson Uwaifo – Vice Chairman – retired as a Justice of the Supreme Court in January 2005; was appointed chairman of the Osun State Truth and Reconciliation Commission in February 2011.
- Mr. F. F. Ogunshakin – Secretary.
- Mrs Lateefat Okunnu, former Deputy Governor of Lagos State; currently President, Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations of Nigeria (FOMWAN).
- Chief Ajibola Ogunshola, immediate past Chairman of Punch Newspapers; president of Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN).
- Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Archbishop of the Anglican Diocese of Kaduna.
- Alhaji Muhammadu Danmadami, retired Assistant Inspector General of Police (ASP), Sa’in Katagum.
- Alhaji M. B. Wali, a legal practitioner.
- Dr (Mrs) Timiebi A. Koripamo-Agary, former Federal Permanent Secretary.
- Comrade Peter Esele, President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
- Alhaji Muhammed Ibrahim, former director general of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).
- Prof. Femi Odekunle, Professor of Criminology, and Director, Centre for the Study of Corruption, University of Abuja.
- Ambassador Ralph Uwechue, former Ambassador of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to the United Nations Mission in Cote d’Ivoire; elected President of the pan-Igbo association, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in 2008.
- Alhaji Bukar Usman, retired permanent secretary.
- Sheikh Adam Idoko, Chief Imam of the UNN/UNEC Central Mosque, Nsukka/Enugu.
- Major General Mohammed Sa’id, former Chief of Defence Intelligence.
- Mr. P.C. Okorie, Senior Special Assistant to the Minister of Justice.
- Mr. Shamsuna Ahmed, an architect.
- Alhaji Sani Maikudi.
- Major General L. P. Ngubane, former Director of Military Intelligence.
- Rear Admiral I. Hotonu, Managing Director of Navy Post Service Homes Limited.
- A serving member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
The Committee is to be inaugurated in Abuja on 11 May 2011.