The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has told the governor of Plateau State, Dr Simon Lalong, that his apology will be accepted “so long as he allows a free and fair trial of the 23 suspects arrested in connection with the killing of 32 Muslim travellers which occurred in Jos on Saturday, 14th August, 2021”.
MURIC spoke on the heels of reports that the governor had apologised to the people of Ondo State on the incident.
This was made known in a statement issued on Monday by the group’s director and founder, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement reads:
“Governor Simon Lalong has apologised to the government and people of Ondo State for the killing of 32 Muslim travellers in Jos. The sad incident occurred on Rukuba Road, Jos, on Saturday, 14th August, 2021. Lalong apologised for the attack through his deputy, Prof. Sonny Tyoden, who led a delegation from the state to Ondo on a condolence visit, and to formally deliver the survivors of the unfortunate attacks.
“However, we believe that there are issues with that apology. That attack attracted nationwide outcry. Lalong must extend his apology to the government and people of Bauchi State in particular and Nigerian Muslims in general. These are the people whose sensibilities have been most hurt by the senseless attack and they need assurances that it will not be repeated.
“The victims of that brutal massacre were coming from Bauchi State where they had gone to attend a religious programme. To that extent they were guests of the Bauchi State government and any attack on them is an affront directed at their host. Therefore, Lalong’s apology is still half-hearted. He needs to tender a more comprehensive and all-inclusive apology.
“A special delegation to Bauchi to condole with Shaykh Dahiru Bauchi whose members were brutally murdered will not be out of place. The highly influential Muslim leader has expressed bitterness over the killing and demanded compensation for their families. Besides, Governor Yahya Bello visited the Shaykh five days ago to commiserate with him. The question is why should another governor be consoling those whose bereavement was caused by the criminal impunity of Lalong’s over-pampered people?
“MURIC joins Shaykh Dahiru Bauchi in demanding compensation for the victims’ families. All the victims of the unprovoked attack were bread winners for their families. We are still unaware of any arrangement being made by the government of Plateau State to cushion the effect of their irrepairable losses. Lalong’s apology will be more meaningful if the above moves are made.
“Most importantly, Lalong’s apology will be more acceptable if he does not interfere in any manner with the case in question. Lalong must take his hands off the trial of the 23 suspects arrested over the killings. We will frown at any interference, indication of interest or deliberate action or inaction capable of delaying or derailing the course of justice through the office of the attorney general or unnecessary transfer of the judge handling the case or any other means.
“MURIC calls for a free, fair and transparent trial of the murder suspects. We will continue to monitor the situation. Apart from Governor Lalong, we are holding a number of people accountable for fair trial in the two cases involving the recent killing of 32 Muslim travelers and that of General Alkali which occurred in 2018. An update on the case involving the general’s killers will give credibility to Lalong’s apology.
“Those we are holding accountable are Lalong’s deputy and those who accompanied him to Ondo State, namely, the Emir of Wase, Dr Mohammed Haruna; Yoruba Community Leader in Plateau, Chief Jide Olagbemiro, and Alhaji Nura Mohammad, Plateau Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Asociation in Nigeria (MACBAN). We expect these four distinguished gentlemen to go beyond just delivering a condolence message to ensuring that justice is done.”