More facts have emerged as to why the 70-man Kaduna State Peace and Reconciliation Committee could not submit its report to the state governor, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, as scheduled on Friday.
The committee was set up by late governor, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, as part of recommendation of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry constituted to look into the post election riot in the state. Forty members of the committee had converged on the Kaduna government house around 11:30am last Friday but could not submit the report due to disagreements, our reporter gathered.
Governor Yero had held a closed door meeting with the co-chairmen of the committee after which he led them to the Government House chamber. Soon after everyone was seated in the chamber, Yero excused his commissioners, other aides and journalists.
An hour later, committee members started streaming out of the chamber one after the other. It was at this moment that newsmen suspected that all was not well. General Zamani Lekwot was among the first to leave. The co-chairman of the committee Alhaji Abbas Dabo Sambo who also left the chamber said they couldn’t submit the report because many members were yet to append their signatures on the report.
Co-chairman AVM Ishaya Shekari (rtd) corroborated Sambo’s statement, saying: "we want to make sure that those who did not get have the chance to travel here today to sign the report are given enough time to come and sign."
However, Daily Trust exclusively gathered that the report was not submitted because members of the committee were divided over it. At the last meeting of the committee which was held at the Hassan Usman Katsina House, Kaduna, in December last year, more than half of the committee members were said to have raised issues over the report. Daily Trust gathered that at the meeting which was attended by almost all members, it was agreed that a 6-man committee be constituted to fine-tune the report and submit same to the committee of the whole.
But on March 13, co-secretary of the committee, Mr. Adamu Atama, sent a text message to members inviting them to government house for the submission of the report against the December agreement.
A member of the committee Alhaji Muazu Maiyaki said they refused to sign the report because they were yet to iron out the grey areas. “In our last meeting we agreed that a committee be constituted to iron out the grey areas in the report. Our agreement was that the 6-man committee will submit the fine-tuned report to us during meeting of the whole house. This did not happen. Normally, before a committee submit its report, it must have been tabled before the whole house and deliberated upon.
“I don’t know why the rush in submitting the report. I will only sign the report after I’ve seen and read it. Do you want me to sign my death warrant? I participated in all the activities of the committee including the zonal tours. I’m suspecting that some people are trying to use the report to advance a hidden agenda,” he said.
On Thursday, the chairman of Jama’tul Nasrul Islam in Kaduna state, Alhaji Ja’afaru Makarfi who is a member of the committee wrote a petition to the state governor, objecting to the submission of the report. In the petition titled: “Objection to submission of peace and reconciliation committee report”, he said the report was subjective and inconclusive.
The petition was signed by Alhaji Makarfi and 14 other members of the committee. The petition reads in part: “During the last plenary session that took place in December, 2012, the general observation was that the report was highly charged and not representing the voices of the general committee. This necessitated the appointment of new drafting committee of 6 to fine-tune the draft submitted as at then.
“This report has not been submitted to the plenary for deliberation and final resolution. Hence, the document is not known to most members of the committee, therefore is inconclusive. This report if submitted and accepted would not address the issues of peace and reconciliation in Kaduna state.”
Following the drama at the government house, Daily Trust gathered that a new date would soon be fixed for the submission of the report. But it is not known whether the committee will seat on the report again. For now, members have been asked to ensure they sign the report between Monday this week and Friday.
A text sent by co secretary of the committee Adamu Atama to members reads: “This is to invite all Members of Kaduna State Peace and Reconciliation Committee, to kindly come and sign the Report of the Committee at the Secretariat of the Committee at Gen. Hassan Usman Katsina House, Kawo-Kaduna from Monday 18th - Friday 22nd March, 2013, between 8.00am and 6.00pm each day. Please assist by passing this message to other members near you.” A member said their honorarium has been tied to signing of the report.