We are a job-creating government – El-Rufai

We are a job-creating government – El-Rufai

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Kaduna State Governor , Malam Nasir El-Rufai needs no introduction as far as Nigeria politics is concern. El-Rufai,a former Minister of Federal Capital Territory,FCT,recently fielded questions from selected journalists  in Kaduna. El-Rufai speaks on the ban of Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zazzaky’s Islamic Movement of Nigeria,IMN, Southern Kaduna killings , massive investments in the state for job creation. The governor  also articulates his public service reforms and transformation blueprint. JOHN FEMI ADI was among them. 

EXCERPTS:

About a month ago, you submitted the 2017 appropriation bill to the State House of Assembly, the first state to have done so. Can you give a breakdown of  the implementation of this year’s  budget? 

Our budget implementation has been satisfactory, I will not say it is very impressive by our standard, but compared town what has been done before, I think this administration has done very well. As at October 2016, we had about 50 per cent budget implementation with the following break down: 85 per cent of personnel cost has been drawn, 77 per cent of overhead cost has been drawn and 32 per cent of capital expenditure has been drawn. So,  in over all in percentages, it amount to about 50 per cent implementation.

In specific terms, as at October this year, we have spent about N29 billion on capital projects compared to N27. 5 billion in 2013 for the entire year, N17 billion in 2014 for the entire year and N27.6 billion in 2015 for the entire year. So we have already spent more in the first ten months of this year than the previous three years, two and a half of which were under the PDP government.

The bulk of this spending was on emergency education intervention, water supply, road construction and health care. We are spending money in areas that we think add value to the society and create jobs. We have seen a drastic reduction in recurrent expenditure, even though we have employed more than 5, 000 people in the public service since we came in. As you recall, we employed 2,550 into Kaduna State Traffic Enforcement and Environmental Law Enforcement Agency ( KASTELEA ) and we also employed over 2,250 science teachers in our secondary schools. Yet our personal expenditure has been going down. As at October this year, our recurrent expenditure clocked N43.4 billion. In 2013, the PDP government spent N56 billion on recurrent expenditure, so we are much lower. They spent N66.7 in 2014 and N64 billion in 2015. But so far we have spent only N43.4 billion with only two months of the year to go.

Of course you cannot spend money without income, you recall that for the first time in the history of the state, we hit monthly internally generated revenue of N1.6 billion in July this year and this has remained more or less around this level up till today. We are moving away from reliance on federation account, to  more on self sustenance based on what we have. By the end of the year, we hope to achieve 50 per cent capital budget implementation and 65 per cent overall total budget implementation. Like I said this is not very impressive by our standard, but in 2014, the PDP government in the state only implemented  26 per cent of the budget  and they didn’t have money problem. So, comparatively, we are doing very very well, though by our standard, we can do much better and we are pushing to do better.

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Gov. El-Rufai centre stressing a point during the interview

One of the priorities of your administration is education. For this reason, Kaduna state was the first state that launched the free feeding programme. Why did you stop free feeding and does that mean that the state is not doing as well as it had expected in the education sector?

 

Education is the fundamental gift you can give to your citizens. Unfortunately, education investments don’t show returns immediately. It takes  about a generation – 30 years before you see the benefits. Many of us  are beneficiaries of education investments made by the northern regional government. That is why many governments ignore education because it is not like building a road that people will see it and praise you. But we believe that the restoration of public education to the quality that we had when we were going to school is an imperative and we  are  doing all that we can, to achieve this. Part of the package of the reforms that we introduced  in education included not only the free basic education for nine years, but the primary school feeding programme. It was costing us N1. 1 billion a month and we believe in it.  We felt that even if you make education free, if a child cannot get pocket money to eat while in school, the parents may decide it is better to withdraw him or her  from school and we didn’t want that. This is why we introduced this programme. For the 1.8 million children in schools in Kaduna, this is what we were spending. We were encouraged to start  the programme  because the office of the Vice President, under the Social Investment Programme,  promised to subsidise 60 per cent of the cost of the programme. So we started spending our money in the expectation of being reimbursed. We have spent, nearly N8 billion on this programme this year and the office of the Vice President is supposed to pay us back in the region of N6 billion to N7 billion.

Since we made education free, the enrollment in class one was huge. We have not been paid this money, the amount we earmarked for the programme in the 2016 budget has been exhausted, so we cannot continue with the programme. We are expecting the reimbursement from the office of the Vice President and we had been assured over and over that we would be reimbursed. But we didn’t think that we had the resources to continue without that reimbursement and we had exhausted what we budgeted for it. We have to take supplementary appropriation to the House of Assembly to continue. Even if we did that, we have liquidity constraints because our revenue projections have not been fully realised. We decided to put it on hold and we are waiting for reimbursement from the office of the Vice President. I think we are doing well in education generally. I cannot prove it because it takes time before education investments are matured. But I can give you some statistics to show that we are doing well.

When I took over in 2015, the total enrollment in our primary schools was 1.2 million pupils. By September 2015 when we announced  the free basic  education programme and abolished all fees including PTA levies, the enrollment went up to 1.8 million pupils, a 67 per cent jump in enrollment. It means  that parents in Kaduna state want their children to get education, but poverty or financial constraints are an issue. All of a sudden, 700,000 pupils went into our schools and put pressure on our facilities, but we still think it is better for them to put pressure on our facilities than to remain out of school.

In the September academic year, the enrollment moved to 2.1 million. Three hundred thousand more pupils came into the schools even though 200,000 have left having completed class six. So we are convinced that, the fact that more and more children are coming into our public schools is an indicator of success. Of course, the have to get good quality education before we can start clapping. But there is an issue because education is not just about enrollment and classrooms. Education is mostly around quality of teachers. What we inherited from the PDP government is that 42 per cent of our teachers in primary schools are not qualified to teach. Recently the chairman of Makafi local government administered a test to primary school teachers in his local government. The test was an equivalent of what a class four primary school pupil should be able to pass and a large percentage of the teachers failed to score 40 per cent of the test. Some of them have certificates that shows that they are qualified, but couldn’t pass an equivalent of class four exam.

We have a serious problem of teacher quality because over the years, PDP governments had allowed thugs and others to be employed as teachers. The previous government gave those without qualification five years  to acquire qualification and that  dateline expired in 2015. So those that have not acquire the require qualification may have to be eased out. That will open the opportunity for us to employ younger and educated and more qualified people.

But in spite of this, Kaduna state came first within the northern states in the last WAEC exams and placed 12th overall in Nigeria. So I will say we are doing pretty well, we are not where we should be, because I want us to be number three not number 12, we are getting there by God’s Grace.

We have spent N3 billion on school modernisation and N2 billion on renovation of schools. We spent N7. 5 billion on school feeding this year and N80 million on teachers’  professional training. We have paid N180 million for NECO exams for our students, we spent N275 million on scholarships – N145 million for local scholarship and N130 million for foreign scholarship and this will continue.

We have 30 girls in Uganda studying medicine and we hope to send more of our girls to other countries. We are discussing with Cuba to send more of our girls to study medicine because we have shortage of doctors in Kaduna, especially female doctors. We will resume the primary school feeding programme as soon as we complete the verification of the vendors and we have a framework that the office of the Vice President finds acceptable to not only reimburse us but also to continue to pay for primaries one to three. We have already budgeted for 2017 to continue with these assumptions in mind.

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Governor El-Rufai flanked by journalists after the thought provoking interview session

Your administration inherited a decayed and aging infrastructure. Given the importance of good infrastructure in attracting investment, what has your government done in the last 18 months in this regard?

 

We are looking at several components of infrastructure. The township roads in Kaduna have been allowed to go into disrepair for long. The same in other urban areas of the state. Our local government headquarters are all glorified villages, they have no roads, they have no street lighting. Our roads sometimes have no drainage so they don’t last. Of course there is the issue of electrification, particularly rural electrification. So we have tried to focus on these.

We started street lightings and road rehabilitation in Kaduna. We have now moved to all our local government headquarters; township roads are being built,  street lights are being put up. We want to tell our people that live in the rural areas that rural areas can also be cities. You don’t all have to move to Kaduna, Zaria or Kafanchan to have a good life. We will bring the good life to them, so we have a massive programme for  every local government headquarter and towns.

We have invested a lot in rural electrification; buying of transformers, deploying them where Kaduna Electric Company cannot and offsetting the cost of deployment from our electricity bills. We believe that having these basic  infrastructure is vital to people. We have ensured  that our communities have water. If they cannot have pipe water, we have boreholes that are solar powered and we are rehabilitating them all across the state.

We have had some issues with some of the township roads, for instance, Rigasa road, Anguwar Dosa, Barnawa and so on because of compensation. We want to dualise roads, people have built too close to the roads. Sometimes it is their fault, some times the authorities allowed it to happen. But if we have to dualise, we have to look at payment of compensation. We are not even following the law strictly because, to get compensation, you must have building plan approval for your building and certificate, but we said no. If you have a building that will be affected by dualising the road, we will pay you reasonable compensation. If you lose a substantial part of your land, we will give you another plot of land in addition to paying you compensation  because the whole idea behind this is not to punish people while giving them better roads. It is   to ensure that they are not worst off. We have cleared the compensation issues in Rigasa, so that dualisation is going on.

We have overall, awarded 29 road contracts under what we called a retainer scheme. We found that when you advertised and go through tenders, it takes four to five months to award the contracts. So we came up with some very innovative ideas. We got an initial list of ten contractors that have done roads in Kaduna.

Every month, we give  N100 million to each of them, that is N1 billion. Ministry of Works will ask you to do a particular road, you build the road, at the end of the month, we will reconcile account and balance you. We determine the rates which are the same for  all the contracts. Of course when we invited Julius Berger, they couldn’t accept our prices, but some others accepted it. So we have 10 or 12 contractors that we have on the retainership scheme. This idea came to us because of the budget support facility by the federal government. Every month the federal government gives each state N1.3 billion to augment the prices in the fall of crude oil. So we felt the money will be better utilised this way. So we pay N1.2 billion to the 12 contractors every month that is why they keep on working.

The four dualisation roads include Rigasa, college road, Anguwan Dosa, Aliyu Makama Road in Barnawa and Sabon Birni Road in Kawo, these are all going on.

We have also awarded Saminaka – Rahama road in Lere local government and the carrier bridge in Ikara.

We are about to award contract for Guchimishi – Kuyelo , Randagi – Funtua, Rigachikun – Sabon Birni, Anguwan Katafawa, Anguwan Kaji, Rafin Guza and the Kaduna bridge. We want to build another bridge across river Kaduna to open up the eastern sector. We have also taken over the Nnamdi Azikiwe Express Way from the federal government. Initially, we thought we should patch it up a little, but looking at it, we have realised that it requires complete reconstruction, so we are in negotiation with major construction companies to completely reconstruct the express way and expand it if necessary as well as reconstruct the overhead bridge at Kawo. We think that the junction in Kawo has to be sorted out, it is a bottleneck and something must be done. We are going to do something to reduce the congestion and confusion in that area because it is a security nightmare, we are always worried.

About 20 percent of all the projects would be completed before the end of 2017. I have focused more on roads, but of course we are doing a lot in electrification and water and everything. I will not relent until we give Kaduna state the infrastructure I think it deserves.

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Governor El-Rufai explaining to journalists steps taking by his administration to reposition Kaduna

How have you been able to create jobs and yet reduce you recurrent expenditure like you earlier claimed?

 

We have been able to increase our revenue generation to N1.6 billion since July. We have never gone below this since then.  The reforms we introduced, largely made this possible. We got a new tax code enacted by the state House of Assembly which centralised all revenue collections in the Kaduna Internal Revenue Service , so we stopped all other agencies from collecting revenue. We stopped all agencies from collecting cash. Every revenue must be paid through the bank or POS, bank transfer, so no cash collection. This caused  a little problems particular in hospitals when people want to pay for N100  hospital card, but we now have POS terminals there that take the cash.

Just ensuring that there is no cash collection, increased our revenue by nearly 50 per cent. We have not introduce any new tax. In fact we are lowering taxes because very soon the State House of Assembly will pass a resolution to lower ground rent and land charges in Kaduna state because we want more people to own certificate of occupancy and to encourage them, we are lowering the charges.

We are also broadening the tax net. We are bringing small businesses to make  their own contributions. We believe that what we have shown on the ground, how state revenue are being spent will make people to know that their monies are not being stolen, their monies are being used for the purpose that are meant for.

We are also diversifying our sources of revenue away from just relying on federation allocation and Pay As You Earn,  from businesses,  to include agriculture and minerals. If we can get more of our farmers to produce more and more, the more they sell, the more we are going to get taxes from them.

We are working very aggressively on mining because we have a lot of gold in Kaduna state. We have nickel and tantalite  in Jama’a local government. We picked on a few of these minerals to focus on developing them so that they become a source of revenue.

We have also abolished Kaduna state ministry of land and survey and created Kaduna Geographic Information Service (KADGIS) and vested all land matters in it and it is now collecting more revenue than ever because the land registry is being computerised, everything is easier and there is much transparency……

 

There is a lot of apprehension amongst civil servants that your public service reform programme is aimed at retrenching workers. Can you clarify what the reforms are all about?

People usually worry when you talk of public service reforms because of  retrenchment and so on. I think if people have been very discerning as far as this government is concerned, we’ve been a job creating government, not a job destroying government.

I think we are the only state in Nigeria that has hired 5,000 people in its first year in office.

We also brought back 800 retired nurses because we have a shortage of nurses in the state. We brought them back to mentor the younger nurses. We have not retrenched  since we came. We have verified and removed ghost workers, but that is not retrenchment, that is removing those that don’t exist. Though we have added 5,000 people to the payroll, we still spend less on salaries and allowances than when we came into office. The purpose of this reform has nothing to do with retrenchment. We call it public service revitalisation programme. There are  three legs to it, we want to bring in younger people. There has been an embargo on employment in Kaduna state since 2008. Only when you know the governor, you will hire one or two people or when people retire, you will do a memo to the governor, asking  to replace and then you bring your friends and relations. There has not been proper employment of young people into the government for eight years! The result is that our civil service is aging.

The qualifications of those in service is not commensurate with the level of education in Kaduna state. You see many people that joined the service after secondary school, they just attend one course and they convert when you have people with degrees and HNDs looking for work. One of the key objectives of the programme is this renewal. How do we inject new, young blood into the service.

How do we get new skills? You have confidential secretaries that are used to typewriter . Nobody uses  typewriter any more. You need new skills. The world is changing, even education is evolving. Skills have disappeared, new ones are coming in, we have young people out there with these skills and they are not in the service. Bring them so that the skills that you have, match with the people of the right age. You revitalise the service, you make it better.

The way and manner public servants think needs to be restructured. We are called public servants, but we don’t behave like public servants. We behave like lords of the manor, we behave like masters. You need to take all various grades and cadre of the public service for a reorientation programme for them to understand that they exist to serve the people and not the other way round. All these are the key  components of the programme. We have no intention of retrenching any one; of course, some people will loose their jobs because some have fake certificates. Someone sent me the name of a person through Whatsapp with the photocopy of his degree certificate from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and said governor, it is fake, check. I asked the commissioner for education to check, the certificate looks as good as my ABU certificate but it was fake. They said the name has never registered in ABU.  But he has a proper ABU certificate and NYSC discharge certificate and he is working in one of our agencies! So one of the things we are going to do as part of this   reform is to cross check things like that.

So there are many people with certificates that are fake. If you find such a person are you going to leave him in the service ? There are people that  have three birth dates. They had gone to their records and change their age three or four times because they don’t want to retire, if you catch those people, according to public service rule, it is gross misconduct, they should be punished. In the process of the reform and checking ,  all these people will loose their  jobs. But that is not the intention, the goal is to clean the service, get the right people. For me, it is more important to inject young people into the service.  Eighty nine per cent of the population of Kaduna state is below the age of 35. What percentage of people below the age of 35 are in the public service? Just 15 per cent. There is something wrong, it is all old people that are  trying to run a state in which the majority of the people are young and are angry and frustrated because they can’t get work. It is our intention to try to reform the service to bring in younger people.There is no motive behind the reforms other than to get our service to work better, bring in younger, more skillfull, more vibrant people, that is the objectives.

There have been a lot of hues and cries over the banning of  the Islamic Movement in Nigeria(IMN) as activists argued that their human rights have been violated. Why did the government decide to infringe on the Shiites’ freedom of association and the freedom to practice their religion? 

The issue of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and their declaration as an unlawful society is something that we did with all sense of responsibility. Many media outlets have presented what we did in various ways which are misleading.

What we did was not to ban any organization; we have no power to ban an organisation if it exists, we cannot ban religion or religious practice. What we did is to say that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria is an unlawful society and we derived the powers to do this under the Penal Code that was passed in 1963, so it is not a new thing that we did. The governor can declare any organisation an unlawful society, if it poses a threat to the security, peace and governance of the state. And we concluded, after receiving the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that looked into the clashes between the IMN and the army, that the IMN poses a threat to the peace, security and good governance of Kaduna state. That is what we did.

We did not ban Shiism, we did not ban Shiites. We did not say they cannot practise their religion, because in Kaduna state, there are at least two Shiites organisations that we know. There is Al-Thaqalayn Foundation,  there is Rasul A’azam Society. These are all Shiites organisations and they are not outlawed. They are not outlawed because all they do is to preach their brand of Islam and they practise their brand of Islam and they are free to do so. Both of them are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), they recognise the constitutional order in Nigeria, they recognise President Muhammadu Buhari as president of Nigeria. They recognize Nasiru El-Rufai as governor of Kaduna state and they obey the laws of Nigeria and Kaduna state. They have no paramilitary  arm, they do not carry arms, they do not block public highways, they do not occupy schools.

The IMN does not recognise the constitution of Nigeria, they do not recognize Buhari as President of Nigeria, they do not recognise me as governor of Kaduna state because they had their governor in Tudun Wada. They have their para military wing, the call them ‘Hurras’. They train them in violation of our laws. They do not accept that any law in Nigeria applies to them. They block public high ways, they occupy schools when they are doing their processions and they feel that to practice their religion, they have to infringe on the right of others. That is completely wrong!

There is also a misconception that IMN is the same as Shiites, IMN is only one out of many Shiites organisations. There is a prominent Shiite organisation with its headquarters here in Kaduna that is headed by Sheikh Hamza Lawal.

Because IMN doesn’t recognise Nigerian laws, they are not registered with CAC, so they cannot be sued or held responsible. They build anywhere they want without approval. They don’t even bother to acquire title to land. Their allegiance is not to Nigerian government, their allegiance is to somewhere else.  I want to ask you, if you put all these facts together, what does IMN look like? IMN looks like an insurgency waiting to happen.

The report of the commission of inquiry recommended that we should proscribe IMN because they are not registered, they can’t sue or be sued in their own name. The media should stop referring to the IMN as Shiites because they are just one group out of many others. I will like you to speak with other groups to hear what they think of IMN. The IMN is a political organisation. The objective of El-Zakzaky is to gather enough followers to effect an Iranian type Islamic Revolution in Nigeria and you know what that can cause! Nigeria is not 100 per cent a Muslim country that you can do Islamic Revolution, it is a recipe for crisis.

I laugh when some people that are not informed on this subject are sympathetic to him, talking about human rights. What he has in plan for you, you will not have any human rights. Anybody that tries to say Nigeria will be an Islamic country, do you know how much crisis he is trying to create? That is the agenda. So let us understand this problem.

We remain open to talk to their members like any citizen, not as IMN because they are unlawful and if you claimed to be a member of IMN, it is seven year imprisonment. That is why we are looking for Ibrahim Musa who has signed a statement as their spokesman. We are raising the reward for exposing him to N500,000. Anyone that knows where he is should tell us so that the police can collect him, we are going to try him for signing a statement that he is a spokesman for IMN after the publication of an order outlawing the organisation.

The crises  in Southern Kaduna have been recurrent and there seem not to be an end in sight. Recently, the Centre of Humanitarian Dialogue has started a peace building effort. Will this initiative make any difference?

When we came to office, the two problems we faced in the area of security were cattle rustling in Birnin Gwari/Giwa axis and this communal killings in southern Kaduna. We were very concerned about both and we did two things. We needed to understand what was happening in Southern Kaduna. We understood cattle rustling and we convened a meeting of all the north west governors because the problem was centred around the forest ranges of Kuyambana and we felt state cooperation was necessary. We came together and launched an operation to deal with cattle rustling. We were successful because we degraded their ability to do cattle rustling, even though that created a problem of kidnapping, because they moved from cattle rustling to kidnapping we are still facing.

For southern Kaduna, we didn’t understand what was going on and we decided to set up a committee under Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (rtd) to find out what was going on there. What was established was that the root of the problem has a history starting from the 2011 post election violence. Fulani herdsmen from across Africa bring their cattle down towards middle belt  and southern Nigeria. The moment the rains starts around March, April, they start moving them up to go back to their various communities and countries. Unfortunately, it was when they were moving up with their cattle across southern Kaduna that the elections of 2011 took place and the crisis trapped some of them. Some of them were from Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Mali and Senegal. Fulanis are in 14 African countries and they traverse this country with the cattle. So many of these people were killed, cattle lost and they organised themselves and came back to revenge.

So a lot of what was happening in Southern Kaduna was actually from outside Nigeria. We got a hint that the late Governor Patrick Yakowa got this information and he sent someone to go round some of these Fulani communities, but of course after he died, the whole thing stopped. That is what we inherited. But the Agwai committee established that.

We took certain steps. We got a group of people that were going round trying to trace some of these people, trying to trace some of these people in Cameroon, Niger republic and so on to tell them that there is a new governor who is Fulani like them and has no problem paying compensations for lives lost and he is begging you to stop killing. In most of the communities, once that appeal was made to them, they said they have forgiven. There are one or two that asked for monetary compensation. They said they have forgiven the death of human beings, but want compensation for cattle. We said no problem, some we paid. As recently as two weeks ago, the team went to Niger republic to attend one Fulani gathering that they do every year with a message from me.

So this was the problem, we knew this by August last year and we started taking steps. But what is happening now, I don’t want it to be restricted to Southern Kaduna. I noticed that some people are trying to bring religion or ethnicity into it. What about Zamfara state? Are there southern Kaduna people in Zamfara? That is why I considered the statement by the President  of Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN ) as regrettable. Some people don’t understand the burden of leadership. The same Fulani are killing Fulani in Zamfara, it is not about religion or ethnicity, this  is a pure case of banditry! They are criminals, their ethnicity, their religion does not matter. Let’s fight the problem, let’s not bring sentiments, sensationalism and division into it. What is happening in southern Kaduna today, in my opinion, has roots in banditry, it has nothing to do with what has happened in the past to a large extent.

It was a small problem that started in Ninte village, Godogodo that could have been handled better by the local communities; but the leaders of the Fulanis and the leaders of the communities  did not do it well. I was very sad, I went there. Any life lost in Kaduna state is a burden on me because as the governor, I have to defend the life of every one. As a government, we regret the loss of lives. We regret the destruction of property.

Today in Kaduna state we have arrested 400 people for kidnapping and cattle rustling and armed robbery. All except  about 5 of them are Fulanis. I am Fulani, does it mean I should not have them arrested and prosecuted? I don’t consider them Fulani, I consider them criminals. Whenever I sit with Fulani leaders I tell them that we arrested over 400 suspects and 99 per cent of them are Fulanis and they should ask themselves why is it only Fulanis that are doing this. Is that part of the culture of the fulanis, since when did they start carrying AK47 rifles and so on!

From a small problem in Ninte, some people found a way to add fuel to the fire, because it is politically expedient to do so not caring how many people get killed. Over time, the culture of impunity has permeated all segments of society, people think they can do anything and get away with it. There is very weak law enforcement or uneven law enforcement. If you are from this ethnic group or religion, you can do something and get away with it but the other one cannot. There is a mindset that you can take the law into your hands. This is what has been happening and escalating the problem. So it is most unfortunate, but honestly the whole challenge is that of banditry and it has to be addressed.

Secondly , I think that those that preach the message that this one is a settler, he shouldn’t he here or this one is of different tribe and religion, he should not live with you, are more responsible for what is happening than anything else. How can you look at somebody that has stayed in a place for 200 years and say he is a settler. How long have you lived there? We all came from somewhere.

The media should not give these kind of people the oxygen that they need to propagate this. Those that think that there is any profit to be made from this kind of narrative and division should go to Plateau state and ask. Jos is quiet, peaceful, because after years of killing each other both sides realised that it doesn’t make any sense. That is why when we went to Samarun Kataf for the unveiling of the apology, we invited the Gbong Gwom Jos, His Majesty Da Buba Gyang, because he has been through it, he has seen it.

We must have peace for any progress and there is no problem in the world that you can solve through violence. Even if you go to war, the war doesn’t end until you come to a table and discuss peace. Why not start with the peace?

For some of the politicians from the southern Kaduna that are trying to politicised this, they should go to Plateau state and find out or talk to former Governor Jonah Jang and find out what happens when you add fuel to the fire of this kind of division.

We are deploying more and more security to the crisis prone areas. It is costing us tonnes of money at a time when we don’t have resources, but we have to do it because security is the foundation of everything.

There are people that are sending a message, defend yourselves, we will get them; defend yourself is hate speech. You can’t defend yourself if there is a government. We are going to arrest and prosecute all those that pass that message.

The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) has done a lot and they have been very successful in helping bring peace to Plateau state, this is why we asked them to come and help us in Kaduna. We have made a lot of progress with the Kafanchan declaration, but there are people bent on frustrating that and we know them and they are being monitored by the security agencies.

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