Governor Nasiru el-Rufai of Kaduna State has promised to prosecute whoever is found guilty in the killing of people in crisis -ridden Southern Kaduna and described the crisis in the area as unfortunate.
El-Rufai stated this when the Council of Traditional Chiefs and Emirs, led by the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, paid him a solidarity visit.
“This is not something to talk about because, I am not the first governor to receive this kind of treatment; every governor in the last 15 years, in this state, has been treated this way and it is part of the challenges and burden of leadership. So, I am not disturbed.
“As you know, leaders, especially in any political dispensation, must learn to tolerate a lot of things because, you have those who like you and those who oppose you because of political differences.
“That is why I did not take this personal, but, what we will do is to prosecute all those responsible for the killings. And, we are working hard with security agencies to ensure our citizens are safe and secure,” the governor said.
According to him, the biggest assignment is for citizens to unite and “should do their best to see that they have peace and unity, which is prerequisite for progress and development
“My deputy and I, and all those who work under this administration, have taken oaths with either the Qu’ran or the Holy Bible that we will be fair and just in our affairs.
“I am giving you my promise that we will be guided by this oath, in all our dealings.” He disclosed new measures have been adopted measures to tackle the crisis in the area.
“I have met the Chief of Army Staff and he has approved the establishment of two battalions in Sothern Kaduna; one in Kafanchan and the other one in Kachia.
“I thought the one in Kachia will be sited elsewhere, because of the presence of both the Nigerian Army and Navy Schools but, I know the military has a reason for putting it in Kachia.”
el-Rufai told the traditional rulers that his administration is looking for a temporary place in Kafanchan to provide the army a temporary settlement before a barrack will be constructed for them.
Meanwhile, Prof. Pat Utomi is expected to lead a broad civil society network, the Civil Society Conflicts Intervention Team to intervene in the Southern Kaduna crisis.
The new group also has Prof Mallam Jibo Ibrahim of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) on the team heading to Southern Kaduna.
According to a statement by the Head of Publicity, Mallam Naseer Kura on Sunday, in Abuja, the team is set to interface with the Presidency, el Rufai, the three Senators from Kaduna, as well as the four peace initiatives working on the Southern Kaduna crisis.
Eminent leaders of thought from Southern Kaduna, among others, would also be consulted on the way forward for the area.“We hope that this will douse the fear in the mind of people and that the military presence will build confidence and we hope that their presence will help in confronting the attackers, especially with the added surveillance aircraft. We also know that this is a harvest period for farmers so, we are asking the traditional rulers and community leaders to arrange with security operatives to plan how soldiers and police drafted in these areas will provide cover for farmers to go and harvest their crops.”
“The second measure is that those involved in attacking and killing people and those behind the violence are being tracked and we hope, with the arrests, they will be prosecuted.
“They have done similar work in Jos in reconciling the conflicting communities in Plateau and when they completed that assignment we invited them to come to Southern Kaduna. They facilitated the signing of Kafanchan Declaration in April 2016.
“These are some of the measures we are taking but
The governor, who said his doors would remain opened for anyone that has a recommendation or any advice on how to tackle the challenges facing the state further said: “Our royal highnesses, I want to let you know that drafting security men alone will not give us the desired peace we want, except people are ready to tolerate and embrace one another, as well as choosing the path of forgiveness and unity.”
Earlier, Alhaji Shehu Idiris said the council condemned the cycle of killings and reprisals in parts of the state, describing them as senseless and inhuman.
While the council appealed to security agencies and government at all levels to urgently tackle hate speech, divisive rhetoric and incitement, it said: “Killings and counter killings are senseless and ungodly; they are not solution to any problem. It is quite disheartening and worrisome. We must work hard against these threats to our peace and unity,”