The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has outlined three steps his government is taking to permanently end the repeated violence in Southern Kaduna.
Mr. E-Rufai mentioned one of the three steps as the prosecution of all those found culpable in the killing of innocent people.
He described the killings as unfortunate and condemnable.
He said this when the Council of Traditional Chiefs and Emirs, led by Emir of Zazzau, 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,” he said.
“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.
He said the biggest assignment was for the citizens to unite and should do their best to see that they have peace and unity, which is prerequisite for progress and development.
“Besides security challenges, we are faced with poor infrastructure, poor social amenities, poor schools, bad roads, lack of power and potable water and that is what this government is working to provide for the people.
“We have cut down the gains and monetary profits people get in government just to be able to provide democratic dividends to the people. In your domains, you can see on-going projects at various stages of completion.
“We are also committed to demonstrating fairness and equity in the way we execute projects all over the state. I and my deputy and all those who work under this administration, have taken oaths with either the Quran or the 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 said the government had adopted three measures to tackle the persistent crises 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,” the governor said while explaining the first step.
“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 of putting it in Kachia.
“Kaduna State government is looking for a temporary place in Kafanchan to provide the army a temporary settlement before a barrack will be constructed for them.”
He said the army will start with Kafanchan, while that of Kachia will follow.
“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.
“The third measure is that we have to go back to the dialogue and reconciliation efforts we have started in the past. We have a Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue that has been working in southern Kaduna in the past two years.
“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 our doors remain open for anyone that has a recommendation or any advice for us on how to tackle these challenges.
“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, Mr. Idris said the council condemned the cycle of killings and reprisals in parts of southern Kaduna describing them as senseless and inhuman.
The council appealed to security agencies and government at all levels to urgently tackle hate speech, divisive rhetoric and incitement.
“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,” the leader of the delegation said.