No fewer than 1,000 shops and several vehicles were torched in the violent clash that occurred between Christian and Muslim youths in Kaduna on Monday over girls, as the death toll rose to 12 yesterday. When Vanguard visited the scene yesterday, the large scale destruction that trailed the clash which engulfed Kasuwan Magani town in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state was benumbing.
Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Austin Iwar, who disclosed the new death toll yesterday, said 18 people had also been arrested. Addressing journalists after a fact-finding and assessment visit to the area, the Police Commissioner vowed that no stone would be left unturned in unravelling the immediate and remote causes of the crisis. The Police Commissioner, in company of the General Officer Commanding I Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Major-General Mohammed Mohammed and state commandant of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps, Modu Goni, expressed shock at the scale of destruction. He said: “It is unfortunate. As we can see, the level of destruction is very high, some people were killed and properties were destroyed. This is not what we wish for our state, Kaduna.
“Let me say that we will not leave any stone unturned in investigating the remote and immediate causes of this problem. We will talk to the stakeholders here and try to find out what the problem is and through civil problem solving approach and conflict resolution, we will deal with that.”
Meanwhile, the Senate has cautioned religious, political, community leaders against hate speech to avoid hate actions. It also said any conflict with religious colouration would be the fastest way to liquidate Nigeria as a country.
Speaking yesterday, in Abuja during plenary when Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna Central) raised a point of order on the killings, destruction of property in Kasuwan Magani, Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over plenary, said if all Nigerians, irrespective of class, religion and status, treat themselves as brothers and sisters, those following them would follow.
Ekweremadu, who urged the leaders to try as hard as they can to avoid escalation of religious crisis in Nigeria, said: “This is one incident too many. This is becoming very worrisome. What is even more worrisome is the religious colouration to the killings, based on what Senator Shehu Sani has said. This is something we need to avoid. “That is, any conflict that will have religious colouration, that will be the fastest way to liquidate this country. As leaders, we must understand that leadership comes with responsibilities. I
t is our job to keep preaching to those who are leading through our actions and words that we belong to one God. “The fact that somebody is a Christian or Muslim does not mean that he should hate another person. I have not seen any religion that preaches hate killings. It is the way we behave that promotes that. “We are talking about hate speech. The worst of it is hate action. If we treat ourselves as brothers and sisters, those following us will follow us. We must try as hard as we can, not to have any religious escalation in Nigeria.”