The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) yesterday condemned the planned arrest of members of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) by Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, saying it is not in support of the decision.
Specifically, spokesman of the forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi, noted that the Kaduna State governor has no moral stand to seek for the arrest of the Arewa youths, who he said woke the country from its slumber.
According to the Northern elders, it is amazing that el-Rufai who did not obey previous court orders could obtain bench warrant for the arrest of the leaders of the CNG.
The Kaduna state government had on Thursday said it obtained bench a warrant from the court to arrest members of the CNG who gave October 1, 2017 as deadline for Igbos leaving in the North to quit or be forced out of the region.
The CNG, including the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum led by Shettima Yerima, had in July given all the Igbos resident in the 19 states of the North a three-month ultimatum to quit or be forced out after the expiration of the October 1, 2017 deadline, a quit notice the Northern youth groups has since withdrawn.
But the Northern Elders Forum told Journalists Weekend in an exclusive chat yesterday that it was wrong for the state government to have approached the court to seek for the arrest of Arewa youths.
The forum’s spokesman, Prof Abdullahi, who is also a former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria said, “The government owns the power to arrest whoever they want to arrest, but I hope that they would arrest the youths and put them on trial in the court of law that belongs to Nigerians and not the ones they set up.
“We know that the government of el-Rufai doesn’t even obey the law or court orders. I supported the youths’ declaration. They did a good job and by waking up Nigeria from its sleep.”
But the Kaduna State Police Command maintained last night that the warrant of arrest on the Arewa youths from the court of law will be fully implemented.
Speaking with Journalists Weekend in Kaduna, the state commissioner of Police, Agyole Abeh, said,” Any warrant of arrest from a court will be carried”.
Meanwhile, details of the warrant of arrest on the Arewa Youths obtained by our correspondent showed that the application for criminal direct complaint was signed by Bayero Dari, M.D Joseph, O.A Adejobi, A.A Muhammed and A.G Makinde and the Kaduna State Ministry of Justice.
The document dated August 3,2017 and addressed to the Court Registrar enumerated the offences committed by the accused persons to include “inciting disturbance punishable under section 78 of the penal code laws of Kaduna State 2027, disturbing public peace punishable under section 77 of the penal code laws of Kaduna State 2017, Injurious falsehood punishable under section 373 of the penal code laws of Kaduna State 2017, unlawful Assembly punishable under section 66, and criminal conspiracy punishable under section 59 of the penal code laws of Kaduna State 2017”.
In granting the prayer of the arrest warrant in the case no KMD/137x/2017 between commissioner of Police (aplicant) VS Abdulazeez Suleiman (respondent), the spokesman of Arewa youth Coalition, the court said, “Upon an oral application dated the 8th August,2017 brought pursuant to section 24 (1) of the Kaduna State administration of Criminal Justice Laws 2017 and under the inherent powers, sanctions and jurisdiction of this Hon. Court, praying the court for the following orders: (1) An order of the Hon. Court directing the commissioner of Police Kaduna State to arrest the accused person and conduct an investigation into the allegations made in the criminal direct complaint, after conclusion of the investigation refer the matter back to court for adjudication.(2) And for such further orders as the court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.”
“It is hereby ordered that the commissioner of Police Kaduna State is hereby ordered to investigate the allegations contained in the criminal direct complaint against the accused person, one Abdulazeez Suleiman, and refer the matter back to court for adjudication within two weeks after service of this order. Case adjourned to 28th September, 2017 for mention.
“The accused stands charged with the offence of inciting Section 78, disturbance 77,injurious falsehood 37,unlawful Assembly section 66,criminal conspiracy section 59 of penal code law 2017. You are hereby directed to arrest the said Abdulazeez Suleiman and to produce him before me.”
No Group Will Be Allowed To Cause Mayhem On October 1- IGP
Meanwhile, ahead of the October 1 quit notice given the Igbos in the North as well as the Hausa/Fulanis and Yorubas in the Niger Delta region, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris warned yesterday that the Nigerian Police Force will not folds its arms and watch any organisation or group cause mayhem in the country.
Accordingly, the IGP has ordered a massive deployment of combat-ready policemen to curtail any violence or uprising that may arise in any part of the country during tomorrow’s independence celebration.
Idris said the deployment of Policemen is to ensure that the quit notice and threats from the various ethnic groups in the country do not materialize in violence.
While urging Nigerians to go about their duties lawfully, IGP Idris warned that anyone who contravenes the law will be arrested and prosecuted in court.
Disclosing the IGP’s position, Force PRO, CSP Jimoh Moshood, said “the IGP has placed all police personnel on red alert across the country. They cannot travel and they have to be within their stations so that at the beckon of the commanding officer, they can be deployed to attend to any situation that may come up.
“We are well-prepared, October 1 or whatever date given, the police would beef up security across the country to ensure that both indigenes and non-indigenes go about their lawful businesses because nobody has the right to tell anybody to quit or relocate. So, there is no cause for alarm and we have increased deployment across the country.
“The Inspector General of Police had before now directed that commissioners of police in charge of commands and AIGs in charge of zones be ready to ensure that the threats and the counter threats are not actualised.
“We are doing our best to ensure that any organisation or group under any name is not allowed to unleash mayhem on the society. Our police station in Ariara Market was attacked and about seven suspects have been arrested. We are still arresting more and the suspects are being charged to court”.
This is even as the commissioner of Police, FCT Command, CP Sadiq Abubakar Bello, has assured residents of the Federal Capital Territory of peace, noting that there is no cause for alarm.
The newly appointed FCT police commissioner also pledged to ensure community policing in FCT. He said, “I believe that, policing is a collective responsibility, and for us to get it right in FCT, all and sundry must come and partner with the police through the provision of timely information or advice on how to effectively fight crime.
“My priority as the Commissioner of Police FCT is to see to the reduction of crime to barest minimum, this I intend to do in partnership with FCT residents, as such I call for their support and cooperation.”
CP Bello, who hosted stakeholders from Igbo, Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba and other ethnic groups in Abuja yesterday, while responding to preparation made by the police to curtail any violence on October 1, stated that police officers are properly on alert and that there would be no room for any violence.