Following the recent bloody showdown between men of Nigerian Army and members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria popularly known as Shi’ites in Zaria, Kaduna State, Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) has described the incident as unfortunate and vowed not to make another mistake as it was the case with Boko Haram when it started in 2009.
Chairman of NSGF, who double as Borno State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Kashim Shettima, who stated this at the opening session of the forum’s emergency meeting held at State House, Kaduna yesterday, added that both immediate and remote causes that led to the incident and other issues that affect the region would be extensively deliberated upon with sole aim of preferring solutions.
Governor Shettima was quick to clarify that, that did not equate the Islamic set with dreaded Boko Haram, neither did they underscore the ability of Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s adequacy to put the situation under control.
His words, “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.
“We are very confident in the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasiru El-Rufai, his competence and character have never come under any doubt. Soon after the Zaria crisis, the Governor was at the scene and he spoke with leader of the Islamic Movement and met the Chief of Army Staff. He addressed the people of Kaduna State on Thursday, December 17, 2015 and the government took some firm far reaching measures it considers necessary. Malam El- Rufai is the man on ground, he knows the subject matter more than us and he knows the steps he deems most suitable after his extensive consultations. So, we are not here to do his job.
“However, we are here in connection with what happened in Zaria, first because the issue has to do with an Islamic group that has membership across the nineteen 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.”