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Text Of Press Conference By The Southern Kaduna Lawyers’ Forum On The Violence In Jere Chiefdom Between Some Indigenous Gbagyi Natives And The Chief Of Jere Held On 9th January, 2014



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It is now in the public domain that on the 3rd of January, 2014 there was a fracas at Issah Pago, Jere between the Chief of Jere on one hand and some Gbagyi indigenes who are his subjects; which led to fatal injuries being sustained on both sides.

We wish to join well meaning citizens to condemn the very incident as we do not support violence in whatever form. The incident was quite unfortunate and avoidable judging from the facts emerging from the incident.

We as a forum pray for the speedy recovery of those who were injured in the incident.



We note that as a result of this unfortunate incident, individuals, groups, the media, Government and particularly the Police took certain actions and made comments regarding the incident. Some media reports had it that there was a fracas between Gbagyi community and Fulani herdsmen and that the chief of Jere went there to settle the fracas. This story is not only misleading but ridiculous as a Royal father of such standing cannot be found on a farm resolving a crisis involving his subjects. The story is hence a product of the imaginations of mischievous minds and does not add up to a coherent whole. Of particular concern is the indiscriminate arrest from the community and continuous detention of persons from the area where the incident occurred. The Police authorities have admitted arresting about 14 suspects who they have kept in detention in the name of investigation and have refused to grant bail or charge such individuals to Court. The Police, represented by the Commissioner of Police, Kaduna State have made disturbing comments. Of distinct note is the statement credited to the commissioner in THE NATION Wednesday 8th January, 2014 page 9 in which he confirmed that those arrested will be kept in detention until the principal characters are discharged from the hospital. This is a travesty of justice and a ploy to continually keep unlawfully in detention persons who ought to be either released conditionally, unconditionally, on bail or charged to Court. It is an infringement on the constitutional rights of the suspects who are presumed innocent until proven otherwise by a competent Court of Law. We call on the Police to desist from the indiscriminate arrest of individuals and resort to a clinical and intelligent way of investigation. We equally call for the immediate release of those arrested either conditionally or unconditionally or charge them to Court if found culpable failing which we shall be constrain to seek the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights of the suspects as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Kaduna State Government is reported to have made remarks even before investigations are concluded blaming the Gbagyi Group and exonerating the Chief of Jere. This is untoward of a Government whose statement ought to be a stabilizing force to encourage peace and harmony rather than acting in a manner that will aggravate the problem instead of solving it.

We therefore call on the Kaduna State Government as a matter of urgency to set up an administrative panel of enquiry to unearth the root cause of the incident and proffer a solution which will bring peace among the individuals and the community. Any attempt by the Kaduna State Government to be biased or show favoritism will only inflame the problem.

We look forward to a thorough, unbiased and total resolution of this protracted matter henceforth.

Thank you.

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