Drama over ‘one minute silence’ for massacre victims
A mild drama occurred yesterday at the National Conference on whether to observe a minute silence for the more than 120 people massacred in Zamfara State Saturday, or to also include others who died in other states.
During the morning session, Mohammed Bello Halliru moved a motion for a message of felicitation to be sent to Chief Edwin Clark, a delegate whose son was kidnapped last week but was released. Halliru also condemned last weekend’s killings in Zamfara.
“I will like to move that this house sends a message of felicitation to Chief Edwin Clark who is one of us at this conference to felicitate with him for the safe release of his son. Mr Chairman, while I am standing also, I will like to call on our government to take very stern action to control these episodes of kidnapping.
“We have enough problems with violence in the country. Unfortunately, recently in Zamfara State, during this weekend, about 120 people were massacred in one village…but I will particularly like to appeal to the government, the security agencies in particular to take something very urgent and drastic to address this loss of lives which has become persistent in this country,” Halliru said.
Some delegates wanted not just to felicitate with Clark but also to observe a minute silence to the Zamfara victims, but others kicked against it, saying other states have also suffered deaths at the hands of gunmen.
At that point, conference chairman Idris Kutigi, after conferring with his deputy Bolaji Akinyemi said delegates should only send the felicitation letter and leave the Zamfara massacre for another day.
However, during the afternoon session when it was the turn of Colonel Bala Mande who is an indigene of Zamfara State to speak expressed his fears and worries with the security situation in the country.
Mande, who just returned from Zamfara yesterday morning pleaded with delegates to revisit the issue of one minute silence for the victims.
At that point, a delegate from Nasarawa State, Musa Elayo Abdullahi raised a point of order presumably to call for his state to also share in the minute of silence.
Abdullahi who wanted to rely on an unrelated Point of Order was ruled out of order by the Akinyemi who was presiding.
Akinyemi who prevailed upon Elayo to discontinue with his quest, said “I have already said we should stand for a minute of silence. Distinguished delegates please let’s stand.”
Justice Mamman Nasir (left) being congratulated by former Anambra State governor Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife after his comment during the National Conference in Abuja yesterday.