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NBA Crisis: Ganduje seeks ethnic, religious unity

The Kano governor has failed to explain why he freed four suspects arrested over the murder of Mrs. Agbahime in 2016.

• September 26, 2020
Abdullahi Ganduje
Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje (Photo Credit: Premium Times)

On June 2, 2016, Bridget Agbahime, 74, was lynched by a mob in Kano’s Kofar Wambai Market for alleged blasphemy.

A few days later on June 10, the police arraigned five suspects. Both the police prosecutor and the state’s attorney-general said the suspects for incitement, mischief and culpable homicide. 

Mrs. Agbahime’s murder, which was condemned by President Buhari after generating nationwide uproar, was being keenly followed by the public when the Ganduje administration decided to withdraw the case.

Mr. Ganduje ordered withdrawal of the case, even though Mrs. Agbahime’s husband identified the suspects as culpable in the murder of his wife.

Despite repeated demand from the public, Mr. Ganduje has yet not explain why he freed the only suspects arrested by the police over the murder. His government has not arrested or bothered to continue investigation into the matter ever since.

Four years on, however, the Kano governor has decided to cast himself as a proponent of ethnic and religious harmony.

On Friday, he cautioned the Nigeria Bar Association not to allow ethnic and religious bigotry to tear it apart.

“While there are bound to differences, it is better to be united than to be divided, as a conventionally persuasive opinion moulder and group that helps shape public policy, it is never going to fulfil that role if it is divided,” Mr. Ganduje said while receiving Olumide Akpata, NBA president, at his office.

The NBA has faced internal squabbles over its decision to drop Nasir El-Rufai from speaking at its annual conference last month. Several branches of the NBA in the northern parts of the country disagreed with the removal of Mr. El-Rufai and sought to create their own association of legal practitioners.

Mr. Ganduje said the NBA should deescalate bickering within its ranks.

“No one expects the NBA to be invulnerable to bickering associated with any group of people coming together, but as a body of lawyers with outstanding record of achievements in shaping the country for good, it should not allow ethnic or religious sentiments to riven it,” he said.

Mr. Akpata said the NBA would consult widely on the matter, but will ultimately ensure unity of the association.

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