Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, has inaugurated a 10-man judicial commission to investigate the communal crisis in Kajuru, Kachia and Chikun local government areas (LGAs) of the state.
The development comes five months after el-Rufai announced plans to set up the commission.
Speaking at the inauguration of the panel on Wednesday, el-Rufai charged the commission to investigate and identify the immediate and remote causes of the crisis from 2017 till date in the three LGAs and surrounding communities.
Several Kaduna communities have suffered series of attacks, leading to loss of lives and destruction of property.
In April, suspected bandits attacked Kajuru castle, a holiday resort, killing two people including a British expatriate.
The state government had pegged the death toll of a February attack on the local government at 130.
El-Rufai urged the panel to “identify individuals, traditional and religious institutions and other associations that might have contributed to the build-up of the disturbances and recommend further action by government”.
He asked the commission to make appropriate recommendations to the state government on steps to be taken to forestall future occurrences of the crisis.
The commission was given three months to conclude its assignment.
“Assess and determine the extent of loss of lives and property and other forms of damage caused during the disturbances and identify the perpetrators of the dastardly acts for further action by government,” el-Rufai said.
“Make any other recommendations to government consequential to or related to any or all these terms of reference…and recommend appropriate legal and other actions to be taken against those responsible for the disturbances.
“This year alone, mass killings and displacements were reported in communities within Kajuru LGA in February and March.
“Amidst the contending narratives by the parties involved in the conflict, the state government is convinced that building sustainable peace in the area, requires that all the facts around the episodes of violent conflict be established.
“Therefore, while visiting Karamai community in Kajuru LGA on 2nd March 2019, I announced that the Kaduna State Government had decided to establish a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the communal conflict in Kajuru Local Government Area.
“One of the problems that has driven conflict in Kaduna State is that people have taken sides in these conflicts, not based on reason but along ethnic or religious lines.
“We are confident that from the track record f the chairman and members of the Commission, you are well above that. We have selected the members from all parts of the country, but with in-depth knowledge of Kaduna state, because we believe that the conflict in Kajuru and surrounding areas is of interest to the entire nation.
“Every Nigerian has a stake in knowing what is happening in Kajuru and surrounding communities.”
The commission is headed by Isa Aliyu, a judge of the state high court. Other members of the commission include Abdullahi Shehu, B. C. Osuji, U. U. Shehu, Hannatu Ugah, rear admiral Ferguson Bobai and Auwal Aliyu Damau.
Others are Muhammad Sani Isa, Yusuf Biniyat, Salim Umar, M.I. Aliyu, and Edward Andow, who is to serve as secretary to the commission.