President Muhammadu Buhari has said he would only comment on the Shi’ite killings after receiving reports of investigations from the police and the Kaduna State Government.
Mr. Buhari said this at his first presidential media chat on Wednesday.
He had refused to comment on the Zaria killings which occurred over two weeks ago.
In his first public comment on the clash that reportedly led to over 300 deaths, Mr. Buhari said he was in touch with the governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai, and that the president of Iran had also called to ask about the crisis.
“I was in touch with the governor of Kaduna state and interestingly the president of Iran talked to me about it.
“I told him we have a system of investigation as a government. This happened in one city out of 36, and the governor visited the scene. As the head of the federal government, I have to wait for official report from the Kaduna State government from their investigations before I comment,” Mr. Buhari said.
But the president momentarily chided the Shi’as for “creating a state within a state”.
“How can any group create a state within a state? I saw a clip in which some dissidents were virtually hitting the chest of Generals,” he said.
He said community members in Zaria had also spoken to the media about their “sufferings” for 20 years at the hands of the Shi’ites.
“I expect the Kaduna State government will bring the report on the inquiry because the crisis happened in its domain. There are all sorts of allegations. So, we just have to wait for the report.
“To be fair to the both sides, we have to wait for the report of the inquiry.”
“In any incident where lives and property were lost there is a standard way of doing things and people would be asked to come and give evidence.
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria, a Shia Muslim group led by Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, says hundreds, if not thousands, of its members were killed when soldiers stormed its base in Zaria and opened fire on unarmed civilians.
The sect leader Ibrahim ElZakzaky is still at the police custody.