The Kaduna Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the state government to uncover the real cause of the December 12, 2015 bloody clash between Nigerian Army and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria also known as Shi’ites in Zaria, began hearing without the representatives of the Shi’ite group.
The committee of inquiry has had series of postponement due to the failure of counsels to the Shiites to have access to its leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky who is believed to be in the Department of State Services (DSS) custody since the December‘s clash.
However, at the resumed sitting of the Commission on Wednesday, Nigerian Army brought four witnesses who were part of the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-Gen.Tukur Buratai on the fateful day.
Among the witnesses are, Maj-Gen. Ado Abubakar, Maj-Gen.Adeniyi Oyebade, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman and Brig-Gen. Ayuba Ted Gamma.
The judicial commission was told why it took the Nigerian Army three days before the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky could be arrested and taken into custody.
The General Officer Commanding (GOC) the 1 Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj-Gen. Adeniyi Oyebade, who explained what transpired during the clash said on the fateful day of the clash, he got reports that the IMN members were gathering to launch attacks.
He explained that based on that report, he moved round the town in the evening and confirmed that the IMN members had started gathering around the Gyallesu area where the Hussainiya was located carrying all sorts of weapons.
The GOC, under cross-examination, noted that the Zaria clash was extremely bloody even compared to the war that ravaged Sierra-Leone and Liberia.
He said, “What we saw were very violent extremist group willing to take on the state and they did that so strongly.
“I’ve been involved in operations in Sierra Leone and Liberia but I have not seen anything as bloody as what I saw in Zaria, I have never been involved in anything as bloody as what I saw in Zaria.”
Relatively, the Director of Administration of the Nigerian Army, Maj-Gen. Ado Abubakar while testifying before the commission, said from what he saw, he has no doubt that there was a plan to kill the Chief of Army Staff.
He explained further that while others were allowed to pass, immediately it became obvious that the Army chief was about to pass, some youths blocked the roads and while his men tried to persuade them to clear the road, gunshots were heard coming from the Hussainiya.
He said soldiers had to act to save the COAS in line with army act, stressing that people died as a result of fire outbreak and the stampede that resulted from trying to avoid fire.
The Acting Provost Marshal of the Nigeria Army, Brig-Gen Ayuba Ted Hamman in his own submission pointed out that it was the Shiites that lunched the first attacked on the Army after blocking the roads to prevent the COAS from going through the route.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Government has granted a three-week extension to the committee to finalise their job.
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