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Quit notice: Kaduna Govt obtains bench warrant against Northern youths

Godwin Isenyo, Kaduna

The Kaduna State Government on Thursday said it has obtained a bench warrant from the court to arrest members of the Coalition of Northern Youths that gave October 1, 2017 as deadline for Ndigbo in the north to quit or be forced out of the region.

This was despite the withdrawal of the quit notice by the group.

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A coalition of Northern groups, including the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum led by Shettima Yerima had, in July, given all Igbo resident in the 19 Northern states a three-month ultimatum to quit or be forced out after the expiration of the October 1, 2017 deadline.

They also asked all Northerners resident in the southeast to be prepared to return home (north).

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, had earlier ordered the arrest of the principal signatories to the ‘Kaduna Declaration.’

The declaration was jointly signed by Nastura Ashir Sharif (Arewa Citizens Action for Change); Amb. ShettimaYerima (Arewa Youth Consultative Forum); Aminu Adam (Arewa Youth Development Foundation); Alfred Solomon (Arewa Students Forum); Abdul-Azeez Suleiman (Northern Emancipation Network) and Joshua Viashman (Northern Youth Vanguard).

However, on Thursday, the state government said it had obtained a bench warrant from court to arrest the those that issued the quit notice.

Addressing a press conference at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House, Kaduna, el-Rufai’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Samuel Aruwan,  assured residents that they had nothing to fear, no matter what their ancestry is.

He said the assurance was given by the Kaduna State Government, which commended all residents and communities in the state for their contributions to peace and harmony.

The government, he added, informed residents that law enforcement and security agencies are taking necessary action to prevent any threat to peace.

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Aruwan said the state government was steadfast about enforcing the law and in keeping the peace, disclosing that the government had taken further actions in relation to persons who, he said, “carpet-bagged into Kaduna to threaten the liberty of other citizens.”

“The government has obtained bench warrants for their arrest, after filing a formal criminal complaint,” Aruwan said.

He added, “The Kaduna State Government notes with commendation the efforts of the residents of our diverse state to uphold peace in their communities.

“The government and the security agencies are working to prevent any threat to this cherished harmony.

“Vigorous security patrols will continue as part of concrete action to reassure residents and demonstrate that bad behaviour is unwelcome and will not be tolerated.

“When some elements barged into our state capital to deliver an illegal ultimatum to a section of our community, the government condemned it and ordered the arrest of those concerned.

“The Kaduna State Government followed up with a formal criminal complaint to the police, and has obtained a bench warrant against them. Therefore, anybody that sights them or is aware of their location should proudly discharge the civic duty of informing the police.

“The criminal complaint specifies the sections of the recently updated Penal Code Law of Kaduna State, 2017 that were violated by those that issued the illegal ultimatum.

These include:

1. Inciting Disturbance:​​ Section 78

2. Disturbing Public Peace: ​​Section 77

3. Injurious Falsehood: ​​Section 373

4. Unlawful Assembly: ​​Section 66

5. Criminal Conspiracy: ​​Section 59

“The formal criminal complaint and the bench warrant secured on 8th August 2017 provides a basis to investigate, apprehend and ultimately prosecute the suspects.

“Accordingly, a competent court has directed the Commissioner of Police, Kaduna State Command, to act on the criminal complaint.

“The Kaduna State Government considers this a most important matter of law enforcement, and will not relent on the matter.

“Anybody contemplating unlawful action should know that such will invite vigorous law-enforcement response.

“The Kaduna State Government is persuaded that a law-governed society should always signal that sanctions will follow illegal behaviour. This is in the interest of justice, peace and harmony.

“All residents of Kaduna State are enjoined to go about their lawful business, uphold and respect their neighbours and report any suspicious activity or person.

“Nobody has the power to evict another citizen or to tell them where they can or cannot live.”

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