Remarks by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, at the high-powered meeting on the violent crisis in parts of southern Kaduna, held at the Council Chambers of Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, on Tuesday, 28th July 2020
- I welcome you to this meeting with a heavy heart, saddened by the needless pain several of our communities are enduring in the cycle of violence that is recurring in parts of our state.
- Over the last five years, this government has invested heavily in reinforcing security presence in the southern part of the state. We answered the decades old demand for a permanent military base by working with the Federal Government to deploy a forward operating base of the Nigerian Army in Kafanchan. Our government purchased an estate to provide accommodation for a permanent mobile police squadron in the area. Also, deployed in area are troops from Operation Safe Haven and Nigerian Army Special Forces, complemented by two mobile police squadrons.
- Having taken steps to emplace more security formations in the area, this government has also made it clear that beyond boots on the ground, the best guarantee of peace is the willingness of communities to live in peace and harmony, and a resolve to settle differences through exclusively lawful means. We established the Kaduna State Peace Commission to engage communities and nudge them towards accord and conciliation as a better alternative to the breaking of bones and the shattering of lives.
- We are witnessing the tragic aftermath of events of 5 June 2020 when youths from two communities clashed over farmlands in Zangon-Kataf and the upsurge of violence in the same area that started on 11 June 2020. Like an unwanted virus, the violence has spread to and has necessitated extraordinary measures in four local government areas in southern Kaduna.
- Our task as always is to find means of containing the violence and ending the bloodshed. Today, we want to hear from you the leaders of the security agencies deployed in the area what further measures can be taken to end the agony. On our part, we continue to support the efforts of the security agencies as best as we can.
- We will also continue invest effort in the urgent necessity to create and sustain a constituency for peace by persuading elected officials, traditional rulers and community leaders in the affected areas to live up to their responsibilities, respect diversity and the rule of law. We have nudged stakeholders in Kauru and Zangon-Kataf LGAs on this path and will continue to do so. We have also resolved to address lingering issues from the 1992 crisis in Zangon-Kataf by producing a White Paper on the recommendations made by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry and the Reconciliation Committee.
- So much unhelpful narrative is being spun, but the priority is to stop the bleeding and encourage communities to live in peace. Just as the 2016-2017 cycle of violence in the area painfully showed, the only victors in communal violence are death and destruction. That is the baleful legacy of all the division and violence that has blighted lives and fractured communities all too often since 1980. We must stop it, understand why it persists and remove the causes. Banditry menaces many other parts of the state and the Northwest region, but it gets so uniquely compounded by communal tensions in certain parts of the state.
- No one should be allowed to get away with crime just because they can hide it under an ethno-religious veneer. Respect for the rule of law compels us to prosecute anyone indicted for involvement in the wanton violence.
- We owe it to the memory of those who have suffered to ensure the triumph of a common humanity and the restoration of communal harmony.
- Once again, I welcome you all once again, and wish us a very fruitful deliberation.