QUESTION: Your Excellency In your opinion, what are some of the factors responsible for the crisis in Southern Kaduna?

ANSWER: The Southern Kaduna crisis has existed for long and it will take long time before it is solved because there are some leaders who have made it their duty to fuel the crisis so that they can get paid in Millions from the Government’s coffers in the name of conflict resolution. Most of them have nothing doing; they are self-acclaimed leaders of areas in Southern Kaduna, all they want is this crisis to continue so that will be called on how the problem will be solved.Their work is just to fabricate lies against the government, and when they exhaust these monies, they will go back to fueling the crisis again.

The previous government gave us some of these names, but our administration will not continue to enrich such people from the taxpayers’ money; we will not expend money meant for the masses on such individuals. Laws govern the State and whoever is found guilty of inciting violence will be arrested and charged to court. Another disturbing thing is the way places of worship are used to mobilize people for protest. The reason for this, I still don’t know. If you mobilize people to come out for protest, that is just the beginning and only God knows what the end would be. If you notice these people who call for protests don’t usually allow their children to join.

The problem of ethnic crisis in Kaduna has been there since 1980s and apart from that of Zangon-Kataf that the perpetrators of the violence were punished; there wasn’t a time that anyone has been punished. That’s why people believe they can commit this kind of heinous crimes and go away with it. But I am assuring the people of Kaduna that no one will commit such crime again and go scot-free, this is going to be the end.

From now on, this has come to an end. No one will ever break the law and go free. No matter how big or small, one must face the law. I think this is the only solution for the problem because all of this crisis was caused by the breach of law and order.

QUESTION: Sir, some people have been seen to use ethnicity and religious division to fuel the situation and incite violence among the people of Southern Kaduna. What steps are you taking to address this?

ANSWER: Me and my deputy are doing all we can to do address this. First of all, we work together. There is nothing I do without the knowledge of my deputy. Whenever I travel, I handover the affairs of the state to him. There is no other state in Nigeria that does this. Me and Architect Bantex are like twins, we do everything together. To us, our unity will serve as an example that we have no intention to cheat anyone.

Secondly, whatever we are doing, we make sure we treat everyone equally without looking at religion or ethnic group. The way we work together should serve as example. Those working close to us know this. Ask our commissioners, permanent secretaries and everyone working close to us, they all know this. The problem is the masses are not yet aware of this. But with time, we hope they will come to know.

Thirdly, I, the deputy and commissioners hold town hall meetings every two months or so to meet with our people and ask them of their problems. We organise this from town to town to bring people close to us, so that people can ask whatever question they have in mind, even if we are going to be abused. I have said this severally that if you are a leader and you are not abused, you are not leading. Even past leaders before us like Sardauna, Prophets and Messengers of God were also abused and lies were fabricated against them talk less of us, that are nothing. We are all engaging ourselves on this to show people that our government is not the same as previous governments. Our government is not the kind of government that condones injustice and unfairness.

Our leadership style is not that of sharing money just like that or to enrich our friends and family. Our leadership is to give equal right to everyone so that the son of a poor man will have the opportunity to become governor one day like me. But with time all this problems will be solved. But many people have been brainwashed at their respective homes, churches and mosques. So it will take long time to change this. But our belief is that with the capital projects and youths empowerment projects we are doing, if you tell someone that has benefited and you tell that person that this Government doesn’t care about them, they won’t believe. To us, these are kind of things that will solve all these problems. This can not be solved in one year, two years or even four years. Our target is to lay the foundation for a continuous process so that those that will come after us will continue with what we’ve started and one day Kaduna will be united. All these differences that exist were caused by some leaders because once the masses stick together there is no way leaders can cheat them. This is our focus. So any kind of abuse on us, we leave it to God.

QUESTION: So, that means you will do all you can to restore peace and unity back to Kaduna?

ANSWER:  This is what we are here for; to do justice to everyone and show the masses the only solution to their problem is to obey the law and forward their problems to the appropriate persons. Our doors are always open to listen to their observations and correction. We are always ready to accept corrections.  Almost all of us here, myself, my deputy and almost all of our commissioners are from poor families. There is no son of a King, Minister or Governor. But because we are opportune to go to school and we did things the right way, we are here. Our hope is for every Kaduna State citizen to get same kind of opportunity we did. But, there are some that don’t want this. All they want is for their kids to go grow up and occupy their positions, and they believe the son of a poor man does not deserve such positions Or someone from another religion does not deserve such. This is the biggest challenge we have. But we believe everyone has equal right and we will give this to everyone. This is our major problem with these people and that is why they are planning all this chaos. But we leave everything with God.

QUESTION: Your Excellency, there have been reports going round that your administration paid the Fulani herdsmen so that they can continue their attacks on Southern Kaduna. What is the true picture?

ANSWER: Majority of people in Kaduna are either Muslims or Christians and if you read both Holy books, it is agreed that if you hurt someone or kill someone, you can pay compensation. It is agreed in both religions. Secondly, after the 2011 election crisis, more than 800 people were killed. The FG set up a committee under Sheikh Lemu who went round and suggested that compensation should be paid, some have received their compensation even here in this state, but they haven’t finished paying the compensation and the money is still there since Late Yakowa’s tenure. So those that are saying we paid compensation and that is wrong, I urge them to check history and see, we are not the first to do that. And thirdly, Late Yakowa when he was in power, he sent some people to go from country to country, because even though we got to realise quite late, he realised from the onset that most of the killings that are happening in the southern part of Kaduna are Fulanis that were passing by during the 2011 election and were caught up in the mayhem and killed. So he realised it was their relatives that were coming back for revenge. Hence he saw the need to find them and dialogue with them, and compensate them so that the killings will stop. What is wrong with compensating someone you have wronged in order to stop the reprisals and for peace to reign?

But everything in Kaduna State is based on ethnicity and religion. Anything Nasir elRufai does, the Southern Kaduna people will disagree with it. And if you dare to agree, they will call you a sell out.

After we set up the Martin Luther Agwai committee, because that is the first thing we did. After we came into power we discovered that the Birnin-gwari issue if insecurity was mainly cattle rustling around the Kamugu and Kuyanbana axis, so we strategised and were able to tackle the problem. But the southern Kaduna crisis, you cant really pin-point it because today you will hear 5 people have been killed here, tomorrow you will here a different village, no specific pattern. So we set up a committee under General Agwai, who is from Southern Kaduna and who was a former Chief in the Nigerian Army. Their report showed us that what Lt Yakowa realised since 2012, which is that those Fulani people who were killed in the 2011 crisis have been coming back to the exact spots where their cattle were attacked and have been coming for reprisal. So we also sent people to them to dialogue so that the reprisals can stop.

Some even said they had forgiven, since they have received an apology. And others said they want compensation for their cows that were killed only, but not for the lives taken. That is what we did and people now started saying “Nasir ElRufai is sharing money to his Fulani brothers to continue killing Southern Kaduna people”. The people we have been following are those who have not come yet to take revenge, but are planning to, those are the ones we paid compensation to.

And I stand on my word; we will go to any length to prevent someone from taking a life of another in Kaduna State. Because in my religion, and that of the deputy, we know that God will ask us what we did to prevent the killing of innocent people. So all those going about misinterpreting this action and using it to cause division and tension in state, we leave them with God.

Those that are accusing us of saying we don’t like the people of Southern Kaduna, if this is true, why do we go meeting people to ask them not to come and continue killing. We could have turned a blind eye if it was true that we didn’t care.

And those that are saying they should be allowed to face the Fulanis in battle, they should go to Jos and ask them, after many years of fighting, they eventually sought dialogue after many lives have been lost.
This is what we want to prevent but some people don’t want it because the crisis is beneficial to them politically and financially. So we will not relent in our effort to ensure peace and stability in the state. We will continue to seek the aggrieved parties that are seeking revenge and if they demand compensation, we shall pay them because the money has been set aside, since the Jonathan administration. It is my responsibility to safeguard the lives and property of the people in Kaduna, whether you are from the Southern part, Kaduna Central or Kaduna  North, from now to 29th May, 2019 by the grace of God.

QUESTION: There have been accusations that some political leaders are the ones responsible for fueling the crisis in Southern Kaduna and they are the ones behind the recent protests in Southern Kaduna with some of them calling on the Federal Government to impose a curfew in Southern Kaduna accusing the state government of not being able to handle the situation. What do you have to say about this?

ANSWER: We know and the security agencies are aware too. we hope that the Security agencies will take action on this people. And we know that some of them are the ones who give arms to the perpetrators. There are reports that some  people from other areas come in to the state  and dress like Fulanis to attack people so it looks like the Fulanis are responsible. If we don’t curtail this, we are not far from facing what the Niger Delta people are experiencing.

The security agents are aware of this and we hope they will take appropriate action. The Kaduna State Government has informed the security agents and they are conducting their investigation and we hope they will apprehend all those caught wanting.

QUESTION: Some people have been heard calling on the youth to take up arms and protect themselves.

Some say that for politics and some are just irresponsible. Only an irresponsible person will give statements that can cause crisis and incite violence. But there are rules in Kaduna State, and if you break the rules there are consequences. Those who said we have failed, should look back at the last 6 years, all the killings that were done, what was done that we didn’t do? And they should tell us, what would they do differently?

We know how many sleepless night we have on this issue, but like I said there are people who don’t want this to stop because they get money from it.

But by the grace of God, we will defeat them, and we will restore peace and stability to the state.

QUESTION: Some people accuse the KDSG of being partial to a certain group

ANSWER: A leader is always accused of one thing or the other. All those making such accusations are those we defeated in the eletions. They were ruling for 16 years but haventt been able to achieve much. So for that reason, they throw accusations at us.
If you accuse us of being partial, tell us what we did to show partiality. Because I am from Kaduna, my father is from Zaria, so tell me what did I do here in this part that I don’t do in another part of the state. Let them give examples. I assure you they cant because it is all lies. Were they sidelined in political appointments, or job opportunities, let them tell us.

Go and check the 2015 election, we won in every zone but then where did we get the most votes? In the Northern part and central. But that didn’t make us focus all our developmental projects in this zones alone. We swore to be just and that is what we are doing but these people will not agree to that because they were defeated in the elections.

They don’t like the fact that we are bringing investments and job opportunities and those youth they are giving hard drugs to go and do their evil bidding for them will soon stop when they get jobs.

They also don’t like the fact that we are giving the children of the Poor quality education. That is our crime.

QUESTION: we heard that when you went to the Southern part of the State to commemorate with them and meet with their elders on the security challenges, women and youth blocked the road and some even threw stones at your vehicles. How did you feel?

ANSWER: I actually pitied them. But if you remember this is not the first time. Even Yakowa was given the same treatment one time. It is not only because am a Muslim and  Hausa.

QUESTION: Some wonder why you didn’t ask the security personnel with you to arrest some of the people blocking roads?

ANSWER: No that is not how it done. We are not in a military regime. We asked them not to arrest them. Some women came out without clothes and we told them to go back and get dressed. Because in Kaduna, it is against the law to come out without clothes. It is called indecent exposure. The soldiers arrested some of the women and I asked that they be brought back to Kaduna but they hurriedly wore their shirts back, and they were let go.

So any woman who is caught going about naked in the name of protest will be arrested and charged to court.

But we don’t want it to be like we are against criticism that is why we arrested them, that is why we asked that they shouldn’t be arrested. I even went out and spoke with them and they were insulting us but like I said it is normal to be insulted as a leader. But those that destroyed the cars, which is Government property, they will be arrested and prosecuted. But one cannot get arrested for insulting me or the Deputy. And we know that some particular security personnel are the ones that asked them to come out and protest and we will take appropriate action on them.
We will always obey the law.

QUESTION: What is the Government doing in collaboration with the Federal Government to bring an end to this worrisome trend?
Like you know all the Security Personnel are under the Federal Government, so we get a lot of support from the Federal Government. And sometime, we support them in whatever way we can because we also have a responsibility towards them. The Army, Navy, Airforce and SSS have been really helpful. We will continue to support them and I will go to Abuja tomorrow or next to show appreciation to the President, Chief of Army Staff, and the Inspector General of Police for the support shown. For eg, due to this problem we have deployed two mobile police squadrons to the Southrn par of Kaduna, and more soldiers have been deployed to that area in order to curb this menace. And as soon as we request more security personnel, they send them over to us and for that we are grateful for support of the Federal Government.

QUESTION: There has been reports about motorist plying the southern Kaduna routes been ambushed and attacked. Is the Government aware of that and what measures are being taken?

ANSWER: we are aware, and it is those people who do not want peace in the region that arm some youth, give them hard drugs and tell them to go on the roads, anyone they see that looks like  Fulani or muslim, they kill him. We are aware and the security agencies are on it. And those areas where they do these heinous acts, we have deployed soldiers and and any one the soldiers catch doing that will face the full wrath of the law. We are calling on parents also, to monitor their children and wards, because anyone who allows their children to get involved, will be punished.

QUESTION: Your Excellency, with the Christmas celebration around the corner and the already existing tension in some parts of the Southern Kaduna, what measures have you taken to ensure that the Christmas celebration goes on safely.

ANSWER: We have taken many measures and we have announced that a 24hr curfew has been placed in Kaura, Jama’a and Zangon-Kataf. And the security personnel have intel on planned riots on the festive days, that is why we have taken such measures. We have told the security personnel that whoever disobeys the curfew should be punished.

Secondly, all across the state, we have prohibited protests and unlawful gathering because we have noticed that they plan to use that as an avenue to create chaos.
Thirdly, we have deployed soldiers across the state and anyone caught trying to cause chaos, will be arrested.

From today (Wednesday, 21st December) to Saturday 24th December, there will be 24 hour curfew in the 3 local Governments. On Christmas and boxing day, the curfew will be relaxed for 12 hours that is from 6am to 6pm, after which the 24 hour curfew will be reinforced.

All entertainment spots, markets, motor parks and places of gatherings will be fully armed with security personnel. So we are doing everything to ensure that our people are protected especially against the insurgents.
I am also calling on the people of Southern Kaduna to obey the law and respect the curfew. As soon as we see that there is no longer a threat, we will relax the curfew. We are doing this only to ensure peace and security and we hope that everyone will have a wonderful Christmas celebration.

QUESTION: A certain past administration in Kaduna once set up a Military Barrack in Souther Kaduna in order to curb the problem of insecurity in the area. The question is, is your administration planning on doing something similar in the affected areas?

ANSWER: Setting up a barrack is the responsibility of the Federal Government. We made a request to the Minister of Defence and the Chief of Army Staff for 3 barracks to be set up in Kaduna State.

Firstly, at Birnin gwari because of the insecurity in that area. Eventhough the problem has been solved for now, we can not relax and expect that it will not occur again due to the proximity of the place to the Kuymabana Forest and the Kamuku Forest.

Secondly, we request a barrack at Fadan Karshi, close to GodoGodo and also kafnachan due to the incessant attacks in these areas.
Thirdly, we request a barrack at Kauru because of the insecurity in that area and around Kubau; because Kubau and Ikara are neighbouring the Falgore forest and these attackers use these forests a lot.

We have sent these requests and thankfully, the president is in support and the Army Chiefs are also in support. But before the barracks are completed, the State Government will have to provie housing for the soldiers and we are looking into that.

But in the mean time, there are soldiers who have been deployed temporarily to the Southern part of Kaduna and also the Birnin-Gwar axis in order to protect the people before we find a permanent residence for them.
We have made these plans and all these plans we made to protect the lives and property of the people during the Christmas celebration, we did together with the Police, the Army, the Civil dence and all other security agencies available

QUESTION: Your Excellency, in your previous response, you made mention of some projects that your administration is working on. Can you tell the people what kind of projects you mean

ANSWER: Anyone who has seen our 2017 budget knows that we have many projects coming up.

Firstly, Primary school renovations. We have noticed that renovations alone will not yield the desired results because the schools are not enough to accommodate our pupils. So in the year 2017, we will start constructing new classrooms.

We will demolish the existing classrooms and construct storey buildings because of the high number of primary school students that we have in the state. The population of primary school pupils has risen from 1.1milion pupils as at when we came in to 2.1 million presenlty. In just one year of this administration 1 million pupils have enrolled into primary school because of the steps we took to improve on education. This is a huge responsibility but we are very happy with this because children attending school is a thing pride for every Nation.

With this population boom in Primary schools in the state, we have to re-strategise this year which is why we would be constructing 3 storey buildings for pupils in the metropolis and in the hinterlands where the population is less, we will construct one or two storey buildings.

Maryam Abubakar

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