The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, on Wednesday appealed to citizens in the state not to react to the treatment meted on him by demonstrators in Kafanchan, Jema’a local government area on Tuesday.
Mr. El-Rufai and his entourage were pelted with stones and some of their vehicles damaged after addressing some demonstrators, immediately after he held the state security council meeting in the area.
The official residence of the local government chairman, Bege Katuka, was also burnt down in the attack.
According to a resident of Kafanchan who witnessed the attack on the governor, the attack was not by women who initiated the protest, but by youth who joined the protesters.
“They threw dangerous items at the governor. Bottles, stones and rods. They were shouting and singing hate songs,” the resident said.
The governor’s spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, disclosed in an official statement that Mr. El-Rufai considered the unfortunate event as part of the burden of leadership.
He added that the governor urged that there should be no reaction to the incident, other than a continued commitment to restoring peace and harmony.
The statement quoted the governor as saying that “in the name of God, I am begging you. No one should take the law into his or her hand over what happened in Kafanchan.
“Although it is unfortunate, we must rise above induced prejudice and hatred. We must defeat hate with patience, love and dedication to duty and not an eye for an eye.
“It is also a burden of leadership and we will, by the special grace of God, overcome these forces of darkness who are dividing our citizens using religion, ethnicity and politics. I commend the high sense of professionalism exhibited by security personnel.
“I listened to three of the women who led the protesters as they asked me questions. I answered them and even invited them to a larger meeting, but they went on the rampage and burnt the residence of the local government chairman.
“The government of Kaduna State and the Security Council sympathise with the chairman of Jema’a local government, Dr. Bege Katuka, and his family over the unfortunate incident that led to the burning of their home. Our prayers and support go with them,” the statement quoted the governor as saying.
In a related development, the state government has imposed a 24-hour curfew on three local government areas.
The affected areas are Zangon-Kataf, Kaura and Jema’a.
The government said it took the step following credible intelligence about risk to lives and property in the areas.