by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state has said that his administration has done everything within its constitutional powers to bring peace in Southern Kaduna and all parts of the state for over five years.
In a welcome address to the high-level security meeting, which held at the council chambers of Sir Kashim Ibrahim House on Tuesday, the governor was specific to the peace-building efforts in Southern Kaduna.
“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 the area are troops from Operation Safe Haven and Nigerian Army Special Forces, complemented by two Mobile Police Squadrons,” he added.
The governor, however, said that in spite of these measures, “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.”
El-Rufai recalled that his government “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.”
According to him, the current crisis is as “a result of 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,” he added.
The governor said that he called the security meeting “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,” he added.
El-Rufai promised that his government “will also continue to 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,” he added, while lamenting that “So much unhelpful narrative is being spun, but the priority is to stop the bleeding and encourage communities to live in peace.”
The governor but warned that “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.”