El-Rufai reacts after hoodlums attack two Kaduna senators, journalists

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai

The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has condemned the violence, in which two senators, Shehu Sani and Suleiman Hunkuyi, were targeted.

The violence occurred at the premises of the Nigerian Union of Journalists in Kaduna.

Earlier on Sunday, hoodlums had disrupted a press conference held by the two senators, Messrs Sani (Kaduna Central) and Hunkuyi (Kaduna North); and injured at least one journalist working for Liberty TV/Radio, in the violence that ensued.

According to witnesses, including journalists, the hoodlums numbering over 100 were wielding dangerous weapons and overpowered police officers to unleash the violence.

“Having been briefed on the situation, the governor expressed sympathy with the NUJ and the persons that were harassed by the hoodlums,” said a statement signed by the governor’s spokesperson, Samuel Aruwan, Sunday afternoon.

“The governor directed that the security agencies should investigate and take necessary action against the hoodlums. The governor also directed security agencies to beef up security at the NUJ secretariat to protect journalists doing their duty.

“The media must not be hindered from carrying out their constitutional and professional obligations. The government of Kaduna State upholds the principles of free speech and respects the freedom of expression,” added Mr. Aruwan.

Mr. Sani had, in the wake of the violence, told reporters the hoodlums were sponsored by the Kaduna State Government. He said the press conference was planned to protest “manipulation of the party (APC in Kaduna)” by Mr. El-Rufai with whom he has been having running political battle since both officials came to their offices in 2015.

Apart from Messrs. Sani and Hunkuyi, members of the House of Representatives, including Mohammed Soba and Mohammed Usman were also present at the press conference.

Before the violence, Mr. Hunkuyi had told Journalists that they were sidelined in the election of the party’s delegates that held on Saturday.

The elected delegates would represent the Kaduna APC during the non-elective national convention of the party/

Mr. Hunkuyi remarked that as stakeholders, they ought to be contacted and enabling environment provided for them to participate.

“The list of the delegates were not known to us. The list was fake. So, we wrote two petitions to the national secretariat and zonal to buttress our grievances.

“We hope the national body would look into our complaints and fix another date.”

But the Kaduna APC, in its reaction by the publicity secretary, Salisu Wusono, said the election was “credible, free and fair.”

The party insists on the suspension of Mr. Sani, an arrowhead of the bill to review the Nigerian Constitution to allow independent candidacy in elections.

In his statement on Sunday, Mr. Aruwan did not respond to Mr. Sani’s specific allegations, but warned against political violence and attack on the press.

“Politics should not be a desperate game. And desperation should not be visited on journalists or any citizen.

“The government of Kaduna State will not tolerate any attempt to muzzle the press and innocent citizens from exercising their constitutional rights,” said Mr. Aruwan.

The Commissioner of Police for the State, while addressing Journalists, after the violence which ended only when he arrived, said the hoodlums would be arrested.



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