From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna
The Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator David Umaru has blamed the Niger state government for the on delay in implementation of the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry it instituted into the clash between the military and communities.
Umaru stated this at the weekend in Minna while speaking at the opening of a sensitization seminar organized by the National Human Rights Commission held in Minna.
He expressed concern and dismay over government inability to implement the panel report 12 months after the commission submitted it.
He said that the refusal of the state government to make the report public and issue a white paper on the report amounted to irresponsible act particularly as many people affected by the crisis were waiting for government action and justice.
He said, “It is unacceptable that the government has undermined the plight of the people from across the entire state affected by the Bosso communities and military clash during which many lives were lost. It is sad for the government to have continued to brush aside such an important report while the widows and children of victims and the general public are kept in the dark over the situation. I am aware that the commission completed sitting and submitted its report since December last year. It is unfortunate that the government is sitting on the report instead of implementing it to bring succor to the affected families. This is unacceptable”
While calling the government to commence implementation of the report without further delay, the lawmaker said many villagers whose houses and farms were destroyed by the military invasion have since then been subjected to untold hardship while waiting in vain for justice to be done.
He said that it was not the military but the police that has the constitutional role in restoring peace during civil crisis, adding that the police should be empowered and efficiently trained to handle such situations instead of the military.
The lawmaker also called on the Niger state government to re-establish Customary Courts earlier abolished in the state and replaced by Sharia courts, adding that such action of government was a miscarriage of justice.
According to him, the abolishing of customary courts in the state has continued to deny Christians in the villages’ access to fair hearing in cases that has to do with customary laws such as marriage and devoice.
He also urged the government to reintroduce the teaching of Christian Religious Knowledge in public schools saying that the abolition of CRK in public schools amounted to depriving children of the right to moral upbringing.