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Muslim cleric Malam Ja’afaru Ibrahim Tanimu shot dead in Zaria

On 26 August, an Islamic cleric, Malam Ja’afaru Ibrahim Tanimu, popularly known as Sarki Jafaru by his followers, was shot and killed by four gunmen in the Unguwar Jushi area of Zaria, the second largest city in Kaduna State.

Sources said the unidentified gunmen had apparently trailed the cleric and shot him at his residence at night, shortly after returning home from the mosque, where he performed the Tarawi prayers.

Narrating the incident, his younger brother, Muhammad Bello, said the four killers had come to the house at about 4pm and asked of Malam. They were told he was not in and they went away with a promise to come back later.

Bello said the killers came back in two Jeeps at about 8.30 pm, shortly after the breaking of Ramadan fast and evening prayers. They requested to see Malam who was sitting among other people in his compound. Acting as though they wanted to have a private chat with him, they took him to one corner not far away from the house.

According to Bello, the men suddenly asked him to hand over the keys of his Toyota Matrix car, which he gave them immediately. They asked him to leave, Bello said, “then the next thing we heard as he turned toward us was a gun shot from the killers and he fell down and died instantly”.

Neighbours and other residents say it may have been a robbery case, as the killers fled with the victims’s car. But his younger brother suggests otherwise. He said they could be hired killers, simply sent to kill.  

The spokesman of the Police Command in Kaduna State, DSP Aminu Lawan, told newsmen that investigation was underway; but he said the incident was being treated as a robbery case, since the killers had fled with the late Malam’s car.

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Sheikh Albani re-arraigned over illegal possession of arms, remanded in prison custody in Kaduna

On 23 June, the police again charged the Zaria-based cleric Sheikh Muhammad Awwal Adam Albani to a Kaduna State Magistrate’s Court over illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

Albani, a well-known Islamic teacher, was first arraigned in court on 13 June, charged with “criminal conspiracy, act of terrorism with intent to commit culpable homicide and mischief through explosives”. The cleric was charged along with three other persons who had been arrested in connection with the 22 April bomb blast in the Rafin Guza area of Kaduna, in which one person was killed. He pleaded not guilty.

On 21 June, a Kaduna State High Court presided over by Justice Tukur Mu’auzu granted him bail on the condition that he produces  two sureties who must have N5 million naira each or a property in the like sum and that he should deposit his travel documents with the court. His lawyer, Suleiman Umar, said Albina had met all the conditions and was released, but that he was immediately re-arrested by policemen at the entrance of the prison. 

At the fresh arrangement, the First Investigation Report (FIR) read before Magistrate Joyce Kaka, stated that the cleric was found to be in possession of unauthorised firearms between 21 April and 7 June 2011. But Magistrate Kaka ruled that her court does not have jurisdiction to entertain the case. She therefore ordered that Sheikh Albani be remanded in prison custody and re-arraigned in a court of competent jurisdiction. 

However, Sheikh Albani lawyer, Barrister Umar, said the police were only applying different methods to punish his client and deny him his freedom.

He said: “By merely hearing the charges, you would know that they are unjustly punishing my client. The police have implicated themselves because they said he was found to be in possession of firearms from 21st of April to 7th of June. You are aware that Malam was arrested on the 2nd of June; then how would the person who was in police custody be in possession of firearms?”

He further said he was filing other motions of bail and was optimistic that the court “would vindicate my client”.

Sheikh Albani: Accused bomb mastermind freed, re-arrested by police in Kaduna

On 22 June, Sheikh Muhammad Awwal Adam Albani,  the Zaria-based cleric accused of masterminding a bombing incident last April, was released on the strength of a bail granted him by a high court; but his lawyer reports that he was re-arrested by police as he stepped out of the prison in Kaduna, capital of Kaduna State.

Albani, a well-known Islamic teacher, had been arraigned in court on 13 June, charged with “criminal conspiracy, act of terrorism with intent to commit culpable homicide and mischief through explosives”. The cleric was charged along with three other persons who had been arrested in connection with the 22 April bomb blast in the Rafin Guza area of Kaduna, in which one person was killed. He pleaded not guilty.

On 21 June, a Kaduna State High Court presided over by Justice Tukur Mu’auzu granted him bail on the condition that he produces two sureties who must have N5 million naira each or property in the like sum, and that he deposits his travel documents with the court.

His lawyer, Suleiman Umar, said the cleric had met all the conditions and was released, but that the police promptly re-arrested him as he stepped out of the prison. 

Umar said: “We met all the bail conditions of the High Court around 5.pm and I took the bail paper to the prison officials in order to release him, which they did. But a few minutes later, the police re-arrested him at the gate of the prison”.  He added: “The police were waiting for the cleric outside. As soon as they saw us coming, they approached us and took him away. They did not present any warrant of arrest to us”.

Suleiman said they would file a motion on notice at the High Court today (22 June), in order to re-process the cleric’s release.

The police could not yet be reached for their confirmation at the time of writing this report.

Bombing charges: Sheikh Albani granted bail by court in Kaduna

On 21 June, a Kaduna State High Court presided over by Justice Tukur Mu’azu granted bail to Sheikh Muhammad Awwal Adam Albani, the Zaria-based cleric arrested recently in connection with the pre-election bomb blast in Kaduna. The bail is the result of an application filed by Albani’s students at the High Court.

The Kaduna State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Barrister Kore, had argued that the cleric was facing a charge of homicide and therefore was not supposed to be granted bail.

On the other hand, Albani’s counsel, Barrister AG Muhammad Bello, had told the court that the police had not provided any good evidence to substantiate the charges against the cleric. He also argued that the police had failed to provide the statement of the accused person whom they claim told them that Albani masterminded the bombing incidents in Kaduna. He added that the police could also not provide the name or the corpse of any person who died as a result of the blast.

After considering the submissions of the two lawyers, Justice Mu’azu agreed with the points raised by the defence counsel. He therefore granted bail to Sheikh Albani on the condition that the cleric should provide two sureties who must have N5million each or a property in the like sum. The judge also said Sheikh Albani must deposit his travel documents in the court.

Dr Abdurrafi’i Abdulganiyyu, spokesperson of the Sheikh’s students, said they were still trying to meet the bail conditions, but he was optimistic that they would be able to do so within 24 hours. He said they had also filed a case “against the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police and the Inspector General of Police, over the violation of Malam’s (Sheikh Albani’s) fundamental human rights among other issues”.

Bomb blasts: Muslim cleric Sheikh Albani, 3 others arraigned in Kaduna court

On 13 June, a Muslim cleric and national leader of the Salafiyah movement, Sheikh Muhammad Awwal Adam Albani, was arraigned before a Chief Magistrate Court in connection with a recent bombing incident in Kaduna, capital of Kaduna State.

Albani, brought to court guarded by dozens of anti-riot policemen, was arraigned with three other persons. He and the three men were charged with criminal conspiracy, acts of terrorism with intent to commit culpable homicide and mischief through the use of explosives in Kaduna, Kaduna State.

Reading the First Information Reports (FIR) to the accused persons, Chief Magistrate Rabi Salisu Oladoja said three suspects were arrested by a team of police and Air Force men, following the 23 April bomb blast in Rafin Guza, a suburb of Kaduna. She said items recovered from them included two rifles with 45 live ammunitions, four locally-made pistols, two dane guns, three locally-made bombs in gallons and one other in a steel case, one machete, military belt and one Honda Civic car.

She further read that when the three suspects were interrogated, one of them, Nasir Abubakar, confessed that they were working for Sheikh Albani. She said the act contravened Section 92 of the Penal Code. On 5 June, Albani was arrested at his base in Zaria, about 70 km northeast of Kaduna.

The four accused persons pleaded not guilty.

Albani’s counsel, Barrister Suleiman Umaru, applied that the cleric be granted bail. He drew the attention of the court to a High Court order directing the police to charge his client to court by 10am that morning or otherwise release him on bail pending the determination of the substantive application filed by him. He said the arraignment of Albani after the time stipulated by the High Court, amounted to contravention of court order. For that reason, he said, “I hereby apply that my client be granted bail”.

The State counsel, Barrister Dari Bayero, objected to the bail application. He argued that the court order had been substantially complied with, as the suspects had been brought to court. He asked the court to adjourn the case to enable the police complete their investigations. “We want a little time to conclude our investigation because this will give the lead on how bombs that are common now are made, and who are making them,’’ he added.

In her ruling, the Chief Magistrate said she lacked the jurisdiction to grant bail to the accused persons. Adjourning the case to 4 July for mention, she ordered that the accused persons be remanded in prison custody.

Local sources say a large number of anti-riot (mobile) police had been deployed to many parts of Zaria city, such as Magume, Agoro and Kofar Doka, to pre-empt or quell any form of protest or violence.

Seven Ahmadu Bello University students die in accident in Zaria, Kaduna State

On 7 June, seven students of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, died when the commercial bus in which they were riding collided head-on with a petrol tanker.

Local resident said the students were coming from Samaru when the accident occurred, along the Samaru-Sabon Gari road around 8pm, under a heavy rain. They also said the accident occurred on a stretch of road notorious for recurrent accidents, especially at night; but it is not clear what exactly caused this particular accident.

Reports say five of the victims identified as ABU students died on the spot. Others, seriously injured, were rushed to the ABU Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), but that two of them were pronounced dead by the next morning.

The Abuja-based and well-regarded newspaper, Daily Trust, reports that among the victims was Idris Umar Idris, son of Mr Umar Idris, a Deputy Commissioner of Police at the Police Headquarters in Abuja. The paper, quoting family members, also reports that the young Idris, a graduate of Computer Science from ABU, was due to commence his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in August this year.

Refugees from post-election riots: Groups decry poor camp conditions, task govts on welfare

Map of Nigeria highlighting Kaduna State

On 4 June, two groups, namely the Arewa Youth Forum (AYF) and the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Muslims Forum, both decried the conditions of people displaced by the post-election violence last April, and appealed for more active response from governments, regarding their welfare and security needs.

Speaking for his group, the National President of the AYF, Alhaji Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu, told newsmen in Kaduna that although government was doing its best to provide succor to the displaced persons, a lot still needed to be done.

He observed that the N15,000 cash stipends given to each refugee family to secure accommodation in Kaduna State, was severely inadequate. He urged the state government to review the amount upwards, to enable the displaced persons leave the camp and secure rented apartments. He said a provision of N50,000 would have been more realistic towards the accommodation needs of victims.

The AYF leader also urged the Kaduna State government to ensure that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry it set up to investigate the crisis swings into action immediately so that the culprits would be fished out and prosecuted.  He said that punishing those indicted over the post-election violence would serve as a deterrent to other would-be killers and looters in the North and across the country.

Alhaji Gujungu further suggested that the Federal Government should establish a military joint task force which should be deployed across the state, especially in Zonkwa, Kafanchan, Zaria and other flashpoints, in order to curtail future crises.

On its part, the ABU Muslims Forum described the conditions of the refugees staying at Hajj Camp, Kaduna, as pathetic, requiring urgent attention from the state government.

Speaking after a visit to the refugees, the Ameer of the Forum, Dr. Mustapha Isa Qasim, observed that: “It is unfortunate the way these people are being treated by the government. We discovered that the refugees are living on donations from individuals and organisations. We feel that the government has neglected them”.

He said: “Some of them (the displaced persons) are still with gun-bullets on their bodies. More than ten women have given birth in the camp and they are still there at the camp. Had it been that the government has any respect for the refugees, they would have evacuated the pregnant and nursing mothers to a special place…It is unfortunate that these people are being maltreated and nobody seems to care”.

Dr Qasim said the Forum would donate food items, medicine, clothes and money to the refugees, but he also argued that the government must do more.

He said: “Government should rebuild houses for them and ensure that they put adequate security in place so that these people would not be attacked again”.

Post-inauguration bombings: ACN calls for all-stakeholder summit on security

On 31 May, a leading opposition party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), urged President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently summon a national security summit that would provide stakeholders a forum to proffer solutions to the increasing bombings and other violent acts in the country.

Reacting to the post-inauguration bombing incidents in Abuja, Bauchi and Zaria, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, proposed that such a summit should involve all those who could make positive contributions towards ending the rash of explosions, regardless of their political affiliations.

ACN stated that: “After every bomb attack, the government will vow to get the culprits and punish them. Then more explosions will occur and the government will repeat its vow. This is not reassuring to the people of Nigeria as well as foreigners who may want to do business in the country”.

“Therefore, it is now clear that, in spite of its best efforts, the government alone cannot stop the bombers. It is time for all patriots to put heads together to identify the culprits and their grievances, and seek the way forward”.

The party urged that the growing security challenge should now be treated as a national emergency.

Two blasts in VP Namadi Sambo’s hometown Zaria, Kaduna State: At least 6 persons injured

Zaria: Gate to the Emir's Palace

On the night of Sunday 29 May and the morning of Monday 30 May, two explosions occurred in Zaria, the second largest city in Kaduna State and hometown of Alhaji Namadi Sambo who was sworn in as Vice President in Abuja, earlier on 29 May.

The first explosion occurred in a beer parlour in the government reservation area (GRA), an elite district, wounding at least four people.

The second, reported around 6am, occurred on the fringe of a refuse dump in Tudun Masallaci, in the Iyan Juma Ward of the city’s ancient quarters.

Local residents said it went off when two teenagers on an errand for their parents unsuspectingly stepped on it. The youths suffered serious injuries and were rushed to a nearby clinic.

The Public Relations Officer of the Kaduna State Police Command, Mr Aminu Lawal, told the AFP news agency that both blasts were caused by “locally-made explosive devices” and that the police had “intensified security in the affected areas”, deploying more patrol teams.

Zaria was a notable flashpoint of the violence that erupted in a dozen northern states, following the 16 April presidential elections. Vice President Sambo’s country home in the city was sacked by the rioters.  

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the explosions. It is also not clear whether the blasts are related to the earlier post-election violence, to other bomb attacks staged by the militant Islamist group, Boko Haram, mostly in Maiduguri, Bauchi and Kaduna in recent months, or to the inauguration of Dr Goodluck Jonathan as President  – and Sambo as his deputy.

Violence after Presidential elections: Kaduna State

On 18 April, riots erupted in Kaduna State with properties being destroyed and casualties feared. The riots are protests against the results of the 16 April presidential election, which indicate that President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is set to win. As the rioting has spread and grown more intense, the Kaduna State government has decreed a 24-hour curfew.

Following the report that Jonathan, a southerner, has all but won the election, the northern camp of his main rival, General Mohammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) said some results looked suspicious, especially in some of Jonathan’s Niger Delta home zone where turnout had been exceptionally high. Consequently, some youths, believed to be supporters of the CPC, started public protests which later turned into vandalism and fighting.

Early in the day, columns of smoke could be seen rising to the skies in parts of the city, as the protesters set fire to street barricades made of disused tyres. By late morning, some sources said the angry youths had burnt down at least two churches; another said a church, an eatary and several other properties had been set ablaze. The streets were deserted but for the angry mobs chanting pro-Buhari slogans.

There have been no official casualty figures, but reports suggest that there may have been many deaths.

“We have seen dead bodies lying by the road,” Red Cross official Umar Mairiga told the news agency, Reuters. “Two thousand people have been displaced at one military camp alone”.

Human rights activist Shehu Sani, of the Civil Rights Congress, said his organisation, based in Kaduna, had confirmed 42 deaths in Kaduna and other troubled northern cities.

“This is the worst post-election violence I have seen since the return of democracy in 1999”, Sani said. “The police shot and killed one person. They became infuriated and went from house to house, killing members of the ruling party and burning their houses. People don’t see it as an election, but as a war between north and south. That’s why people are so passionate and angry about it.”

The riot also spread to some other parts of the state. In Zaria, areas affected by the protests included Zaria City, Tudun Wada, Samaru, Danmagaji and Gwarwaji. The youth swarmed all major roads in the town and residents said a church was burned overnight. The emir, Alhaji Ado Bayero, a prominent traditional and religious leader, is reported to have subsequently left the palace,  as the mobs damaged a number of cars in his compound.

The youth mobs also burned down the country home of Vice President Namadi Sambo, on Bala Ahmed Street, Tundun Wada, Zaria. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) further reports that the rioters forced open the town’s central prison, freeing the inmates.

Armed policemen were on hand to control the situation; but as the police became overstretched by the disturbances, soldiers were deployed in both Kaduna and Zaria, to stop further violence and provide security.

Later in the day, the Kaduna State government imposed a 24-hour curfew on the state. The Kaduna State Commissioner of Information, Saidu Adamu said: “This situation, if left unchecked could lead to total breakdown of law and order…I have found it necessary to immediately place a 24-hour curfew restricting all forms of movement across the state.  The security agencies have been directed to enforce this decision in order to protect the lives and properties of all law-abiding citizens of our dear state.”

This report is an updated version of our earlier report on the Kaduna incident.

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