As President Muhammadu Buhari embarks on a two-day visit to Kano, his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, has provided some of the benefits the state has gained under the APC administration.
Mr. Shehu said Mr. Buhari has made Kano more secure in the last two and the half years than the period before his assumption of office.
The president got his largest votes in the 2015 election from Kano.
In an article made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday, Mr. Shehu, making reference to Boko Haram, said “a few morons who did not in any way represent Islam, a religion of peace had launched a series of horrendous gun and bomb attacks on the city as they did on a number northern towns and villages.”
He said nowhere was safe in Kano then. He said the police, other security agencies and the general public bore the brunt of a large-scale insurgent offensive.
“The security situation was intensely volatile.
“Men and women leave home to fetch food for the children and later in the day, their dead bodies are brought back.
“The casualties mounted to dramatic levels. On a particular Friday in February 2012, Boko Haram launched a deadly attack on police and other security establishments leaving in its trail, hundreds of deaths and thousands with various degrees of injury.
“In December 2014, suicide bombers and gunmen launched yet another deadly attack on the city’s Juma’at mosque killing 300, leaving hundreds of others injured.”
Mr. Shehu said Kano residents, like nearly everyone across the country, had by 2015 “lost confidence in the incompetent, corrupt Jonathan administration which they said was not doing enough to protect them against Boko Haram.”
He said Nigerian soldiers with centuries old reputation for courage, valour and accomplishment were starved of needed arms and ammunition. They recorded their first-ever failure to bring peace and stability, he said.
Mr. Shehu said after years of murderous campaign by the terrorists, what everyone wanted from candidate Muhammadu Buhari was “security first, security second, security third, then economy and jobs and the fight against corruption…”
He said Mr. Buhari did not disappoint the people because on the day he assumed power, “there and then on the inaugural Dias, President Buhari began the war against terrorism and insecurity.”
The presidential spokesperson said peace has returned to Kano.
“Peace is back and people are no longer preoccupied with the fear of when the next bomb attacks will happen.
“They are fighting over their favourite football teams. Our men and women are squabbling over who is the best player,” he said.
Mr. Shehu also said the president is putting Kano State through a revolution in the way projects are being assigned and executed.
He said Kano, which for long had been one of the fastest growing economies in the country , had begun to lag in the years preceding Mr. Buhari due to problems occasioned mainly by the acute shortage of power.
He said neighbourhoods spent weeks without electricity and factories sent workers home and shut down because they had no money to sustain production using diesel generators.
“Now, things are getting better. The numerous projects put in place to enhance power generation and transmission in particular are being brought to fruition. Records indicate that Kano today enjoys a daily cumulative power supply of about 18 hours,” he said.
He added that in order to bring a permanent solution to the problem of electricity, the Buhari administration has been discussing the idea of a contract for the laying of gas pipelines from Ajaokuta through Abuja and Kaduna to Kano.
“This should meet the needs of manufacturing industries as it has been for the coastal areas including Lagos and Ogun states industrial zones,” he said.
Mr. Shehu also listed some ongoing road projects in and around Kano to include dualisation of Kano- Maiduguri Road Section IV (Postikum – Damaturu) with over 58 per cent completed; Dualisation of Kano – Katsina Road ( From Dawanau – Katsina); Kano – Western Bye Pass; Rehabilitation of Saminaka – Doguwa Road; and Doguwa – Tiga Road.
He also said the state of Abuja-Kaduna-Kano dual-carriage way which has attracted so much public criticism is now receiving attention.
“But the President, it has reliably been gathered, has a different plan for the road. It is expected that in the course of this visit, he might be making a significant pronouncement on the future of this road,” he said.
On the aviation and rail sectors, Mr. Shehu said Mr. Buhari has also given Kano a good deal.
“Presently, construction is ongoing of a new international terminal building at the Kano International Airport, as well as rehabilitation of car parks and service roads,” he said.
He also said President Buhari just approved the construction of rail tracks connecting Kano to Maiduguri.
“ A brand new standard gauge rail line will connect Kano and Lagos. This railway development funded through partnership between Nigeria and China has delivered Kaduna-Abuja and the Lagos-Ibadan sector is under construction, to be delivered by the end of the year 2018.
“Actually, Kano-Kaduna contract would have been signed months ago, but was postponed following Chinese, the funder’s insistence that they wanted to take Kano-Ibadan in one stretch,” he said.
Mr. Shehu said Kano, as to be expected, is one of the major beneficiaries of the administration’s Social Investment Programs.
“Following successful awareness creation among the state’s large population of the unemployed and the downward revision of the entry requirements to accommodate NCE and diploma certificates holders, Kano entered more than 80,000 applications for the current wave of N-Power recruits.
“On the Conditional Cash Transfers, Cash Transfer Facilitators have been giving orientation and training; State Cash Transfer Offices have already been set up in the state and enrollments have commenced from the 23rd of November. The payment of beneficiaries is expected to start this week, that is the first week of December.
“The Implementation of the Home Grown School Feeding Program is commencing soon. The month of December has been set as the target month.
“The Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program, GEEP loans through the Bank of Industry are currently being received by traders, artisans and small scale business men and women in the State. The special intervention fund for textile manufacturers is already making possible the return of the industry in Kano and other states,” he said.