Botched Kano Wedding: Couples seek compensation for rights violation
Police Service Commission Probes Matter
Two weeks ago, they were denied the right to associate and the fanfare of an elaborate pro bono wedding ceremony, at the instance of Kwankwasiyya Development Foundation, the foundation owned by former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
A week after that, agents of the state, again stood between them and their wedding gifts, which one of their national lawmakers came up with.
Peeved by high-wire political fight between political titans, which is robbing off on them negatively, and diluting the joy of their fledgling marital union, no fewer than 100 new couples are seeking redress. They have taken their grouse to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The state Police Command advanced security concern as reason for the stoppage of the mass wedding, which was at the instance of Senator Kwankwaso, and the brain behind the Kwankwasiyya Development Foundation.
The botched wedding ceremony penultimate week, was billed for Kano metropolis.
The couples, who presented their petition to the Prof. Bem Angwe-led NHRC, blamed both the state Police Command, and the Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje-led administration for the cancellation of the elaborate wedding ceremony, a development that forced them to settle for low-keyed alternatives in their respective locations, contrary to their expectations.
Malama Khadijat Ibrahim, who spoke on behalf of the affected couples, wondered why the aforementioned stopped them from performing their wedding fatiha, which is in line with the tenets of the Islam.
According to her, “Our rights to self dignity, family life, peaceful assembly, freedom of movement has been violated. We urge the commission to investigate these breaches and enforce our fundamental rights.”
Angwe, while expressing gratitude to the couples for choosing to register their grievances with the commission in a manner prescribed by law, reiterated the commission’s resolve to enforce the rights of the citizenry.
“We assure you that this commission would investigate the allegation. We will find out, if there exists, any justification for the cancellation that is known to law. We will abide by the rules of our procedure, by giving the opportunity to the alleged violator- the opportunity to be heard. Where it is established that your rights have been violated, we will order payment of compensation to you. We will not condone any institution or authority violating the rights of Nigerians, because the essence of the NHRC is to protect the rights of Nigerians.”
Besides approaching the NHRC, the livid couples are equally pained by the role the police played in killing their joy, hence their decision to approach the Police Service Commission (PSC), which has equally ordered a probe into the issue.
Chairman of the commission, Mike Okiro, a retired Inspector General of Police (IGP), who met with officials of the foundation, assured them that he would probe claims that the couples’ fundamental human rights have been infringed upon by the cancellation of the mass wedding.
He, however, promised to reach out to the incumbent IGP, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, as well as police authorities in Kano, to ascertain the veracity of claims made by members of the Kwankwasiyya group.
Said he: “Let me express my gratitude to you for the petition. I cannot do anything for now since you have levelled accusations, which border on breaches of fundamental human rights. I will listen to the other parties and investigate the matter. I assure you that action will be taken within a reasonable time frame regarding the petition.”
A member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Ali Madaki, who presented the petition on behalf of the foundation, accused the police authorities of infringing on Senator Kwankwaso’s right to discharge his responsibilities to his constituents in the state.
While describing as unfortunate, the banning of the exercise by Kano police, he stated that as loyal members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and law-abiding citizens, they have to seek the intervention of the PSC to wade into the matter.
He noted: “Recently our leader, and as we know, which is usually the norm, tried to organise his constituency project as part of his responsibilities to his constituents. And as we know, he is a serving senator with the highest population in terms of his constituency. But that project was cancelled, by the police.
“We wanted to carry it out on a Saturday, but they turned us down on the ground that government had a programme that day. We wrote to them requesting that it be shifted to Sunday so that the government event would hold on Saturday, even though we first requested for Saturday.
“To our dismay, we had to tell the couples to go and hold the wedding at their various locations, but to come to a particular place to collect the gifts given to them by Senator Kwankwaso. They were also blocked from receiving these gifts as police vans were everywhere and nobody was allowed to come in, or out of the area.
“We felt that as citizens protected by the constitution of this country, and citizens that respect the laws of this nation, we do not want any breakdown of law and order, in any part of the country. That is why we felt it was necessary to come and lay our petition before you so that you can find an amicable solution to this crisis. We are citizens of this country, and we know our right and privileges. Right now, we feel this is the right thing to do, and we know you will do what is right in the best interest of all.”
Among chieftains of the All Progressives Party (APC) in attendance at the event were leader of the Kwankwasiyya Group, and former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Rabiu Sulaiman Bichi, and supporters of the party from the state.