Banditry: Kaduna residents advocate ‘open trial’ of culprits

Some residents of Kaduna metropolis have called for the open trial of traditional and religious leaders accused of connivance with hoodlums.

Responding to a survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the issue, they said considering the esteemed position of the leaders and the ‘weighty’ nature of the allegations, transparency ought to be displayed.

According to them, keeping ‘mute’ on such matters, after names have been mentioned and leaders dethroned from positions held, portends danger.

“It is either such matters have been confirmed but swept under the carpet, or allegations are discovered to be without basis; either way, grave injustice has been perpetuated.

“If allegations are confirmed, people have the right to know, through open trial, the ‘devil’ they had as their leader.

“If allegations were baseless, the alleged culprit deserves to be cleared in the open, in the interest of justice and fairness, especially considering his or her esteemed integrity ”, said a resident, who pleaded for anonymity.

Rev. John Hayab, Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State said in handling matters of security, the issue of respect for culprits, be he religious or traditional ruler, should not arise.

“If anyone of them (religious or traditional leader) is found complicit, then he has betrayed God and the people; he should not be spared, but brought to justice.

“ Constitution of our country does not have immunity for anyone who is a threat to national security, therefore our laws should make him pay for his action, ” he said.

Hayab however said allegations of complicity against some traditional and religious leaders in some states, should be treated with honesty and caution.

According to him, sometimes, there are a lot of accusations and counter-accusations that can not be substantiated.

” Some traditional and religious leaders are only being accused because they refused to play along with the powers that be; politics play prominent role in some of these issues.

“Some are seen as complicit because they are firm and uncompromising; unless we can separate the truth from the propaganda, we may hurriedly destroy innocent persons before knowing the truth”, he cautioned.

Malam Yusuf Bida, Acting Administrative Secretary, Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) National Headquarters, in Kaduna, said with happenings in some states, traditional leaders had to be dethroned over alleged security breach and complicity.

Bida however said thorough investigations were needed to unearth the truth, adding that it was a misnomer for a traditional or religious leader to aid, instead of abate, unwholesome activities.

In Kano, Malam Ibrahim Abdullah, spokesman of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in the State, said the alleged complicity of some traditional and religious leaders in matters of insecurity, was worrisome.

According to him, traditional and religious leaders have important roles to play in the security architecture of the country.

” They should always be engaged and incorporated in finding lasting solution to our security challenges, including saddling them with a constitutional responsibility.

“Society still sees traditional and religious leaders as custodians of culture and morality; they must strive to retain this golden respect passed on to them by generations,” he said.

On his part, a traditional leader in Kano, Alhaji Adam Ibrahim, said traditional rulers had a lot to contribute in checking security challenges, but under an atmosphere of collaboration.

“If government bodies will collaborate with traditional leaders, security challenges would become a thing of the past”, he said.

A community leader in Kano, Mr Golly Tarosi, said some traditional and religious leaders might be accomplices to insecurity bedeviling their communities.

He therefore called for close monitoring and the reintroduction of collection of tax by community leaders as practiced in the past.

“This will help traditional rulers know every member of the community, thereby assisting in securing their communities as no foreigner will arrive without their knowledge”, he said.

Also in his contribution, one of the respondents in Kano, Malam Halifa Sadam, said security situation is improving considering the decline in kidnapping, snatching of phones and other criminal activities.

Sadam, who is a religious leaders, said it is being alleged that some traditional leaders are complicit in the security breaches.

“This allegation, if can be proved, is enough for the government to take appropriate actions against them.

“If the allegation continues and nothing is done, others will also try to follow suit to derive benefits being enjoyed by those supporting illegality”,he said.