Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has insisted that his administration will not enter into peace talks with bandits and other criminals despite the spate of abductions and killings rocking the state.
El-Rufai said his prime responsibility as the Chief Security Officer of Kaduna State is to enforce the law and help to prosecute people who commit offences.
The governor restated his government’s position during an expanded meeting of the State Security Council which was held at the Council Chambers of Sir Kashim Ibrahim House last night.
He said, “We will not engage with bandits or kidnappers. Private citizens like clerics and clergymen can do so in their individual capacities, to preach to them and ask them to repent. We also want them to repent but it is not our job ask them to do so.”
He made the statement in reaction to the abduction of students and staff that happened in quick succession in the state last week and early this week.
Last week, bandits in large numbers invaded the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Mando in Igabi LGA of the state and kidnapped over 30 students of the institute.
A viral video was released on Saturday where the students were seen crying and appealing to the government to pay the N500m demanded by the bandits as ransom for their release.
Kidnappers also struck at the Government Science Secondary School, Ikara in Ikara LGA of the state but for the prompt intervention of troops, 307 students of the school would have been abducted.
While the residents were still heaving a sigh of relief, thanking their lucky stars for the cheering development, bandits on motorcycles, at about 8.50am two days ago, stormed the UBE Rima Primary School, Birnin Gwari where three teachers were abducted and no single pupil affected.
But with these ugly incidents which appear to be bandits’ own way of forcing the governor to eat his words and dance to their tunes, El-Rufai has stuck to his guns.
The governor, who said he would not be cowed into submission by the incidents, insisted on not negotiating with bandits for the release of those held captive.
Also, speaking on Farmer-herder clashes, El-Rufai said the best way to solve the farmer-herder clashes, cattle rustling and banditry is for nomadic herdsmen to live more sedentary lives in order for them to be more productive and give their children education and access to better healthcare.
The governor argued that nomadic or transhumance cattle breeding had been rendered obsolete by urbanisation and population growth as most of the cattle routes have been taken over by development.
El-Rufai said the state government was “implementing a big ranching project in Damau Grazing Reserve in Kubau Local Government, adding that the project would make about 1,500 herdsmen sedentary.”
He further emphasized that the project would enable the herders to raise their cattle in a facility with pastures, a school and a primary health centre, with a commercial partner ready to buy their milk.
The governor commended the security agents for their efforts to keep the state residents safe in spite of the challenges they were facing.
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