Cooperation and Consensus vital to securing our people
Remarks by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, at the presentation of the state’s 2020 Annual Security Report, held in Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna, on Wednesday, 10th March 2021
- I welcome the presentation of the 2020 report of security incidents in Kaduna State. It is sobering reading because it is a factual account of a challenging situation. It reflects the pains of individuals, families and communities, buffeted by the brutal antics of criminals and outlaws. And it explains the measures being undertaken by the Kaduna State Government to manage these tough times in the security sector with the support of our military, police, para-military and other security agencies.
- The 2020 report contains data on and analysis of the main security issues in our state. The report also explains the nature of the security events across the three senatorial districts of the state in the period covered. As observed by the Commissioner, these are official and recorded statistics, and it is quite possible that more unreported crimes may have been committed in the State.
- As we accept this report, we pray for the repose of the soul of those killed, pay tribute to the victims of various crimes, reiterate our solidarity with them, reaffirm our resolve to continue to protect our people, and stop the criminals. The victims of these outlaws cut across our state, even if certain narratives have tried to disguise sheer criminality in ethno-religious or regional hues, depending on the identity of the victims.
- Thus far, the Kaduna State Government has used the limited tools available to a subnational to address these dire times. Since 2015, we have supported the federal security agencies deployed in our state with vehicles and other logistics. Security incidents in the 2016-2019 period ranged from communal clashes to cattle-rustling, kidnappings, robberies and murders. Lessons learned from managing these incidents during our first-term informed our decision to establish the first sub-national Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs at the beginning of our second-term in 2019. Since then, many states have followed suit.
- The mandate of the Ministry is to manage the state government’s relationship with the federal security agencies deployed in the state and to coordinate their activities towards securing our people in an atmosphere of unprecedented challenges. This entails building strong relationships with these agencies. Through the Ministry, the state is deepening intelligence gathering from communities. It also runs the 24-hour Operations Room.
- The Kaduna State Government has also invested in technology to help our security agencies secure the state better. A CCTV network is being deployed in Kaduna metropolis while vigorous arrangements for consistent operations of the drones (UAVs) Mr. President commissioned in 2019 are being explored. We are also building and equipping a world-class forensic laboratory to assist our security agencies in the detection, investigation and prevention of crimes.
- Kaduna State also embraces collaboration as a security tool. Together with Niger State and our neighbors in the North-west, we put together resources to fund military operations against bandits in the Kamuku-Kuyambana forest range that straddles the region. It is regrettable that this 2015 initiative was not sustained or expanded into a campaign of continuous, simultaneous operations against the bandits across our vast region. Failure to contain and defeat them in one place has emboldened them to develop a near-nationwide footprint thus endangering national cohesion.
- Our lived experience in managing these tough times has persuaded us that there must be an urgent national effort to strengthen our security forces. The military and police need modern technology, advanced armaments, equipment and more boots on the ground. The security of our communities depend on the robust projection of state power, and that can only done with sufficient security numbers to overawe and deter criminals. The prerogatives of the state need to be asserted, not merely proclaimed. The people we put in uniform must never be placed in avoidable danger, outgunned or outnumbered by non-state actors.
- In our view, critical to multiplying and reinforcing state power is a decentralization of policing. There simply are not enough police officers in Nigeria and the idea of policing such a vast, federal republic of nearly a million square kilometers in a unitary manner is not pragmatic. This arrangement has already proven inadequate and we should promptly replace it with state police and other levels of policing. I want to commend and thank our own son of Kaduna State, Distinguished Senator Uba Sani for introducing four bills in the 9th Senate to amend the Constitution and related statutes to enable the establishment of State Police to complement the efforts of the Nigeria Police. I seize this opportunity to urge the leadership and membership of the two chambers of the National Assembly to expeditiously enact these bills into law which contain adequate regulatory standards and safeguards to enable State and Community Policing throughout Nigeria, without any fear of abuse.
- Part of the soft tools we have developed in Kaduna State is the Peace Commission, empowered to engage our communities and incline them towards a peaceful resolution of differences. We are also supporting the House of Kaduna Family as a vital platform for religious leaders to promote a common humanity across our diversity. We commend the leaders responsible for the ongoing community level peace processes underway in Zangon-Kataf and Jema’a local government areas. The peacemakers can always count on our support. The elimination of communal clashes will be a tremendous contribution towards compliance with the rule of law and denying criminals refuge in religion or ethnicity.
- The banditry outlined here has severely impacted the rural economy and shaken the confidence of citizens. It has driven farmers from their land, putting food security at risk, displaced communities, stolen property and deprived people of their right to life. We must put a stop to these criminal acts and enable our people to live their lives in peace and safety. This is a most urgent task.
- Our position in Kaduna State has been clear, unequivocal and consistent. Bandits, cattle rustlers and armed militias must be degraded and decimated to a state of unconditional submission to constituted authority. We will neither negotiate with criminals of any description nor support any grant of amnesty. Criminal gangs, bandits, insurgents and ethno-religious militias made a conscious choice to challenge Nigeria’s sovereignty and menace our citizens. These criminals must be wiped out immediately and without hesitation.
- I am assured by the recent directive given to the federal security agencies to wipe out such gun-wielding criminals by the President. I am further encouraged by the stance of Federal Government in my periodic interactions with President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigeria Governors Forum, that there is near unanimity and broad consensus on the part of the national and sub-national political leadership – the President and the State Governors – on this course of action.
- We therefore need to further empower the security sector to defeat the criminals, including providing the additional funds, the armament technology and the required personnel. This national consensus to eliminate all forms of insecurity must be operationalized immediately. Our people face deadly perils daily. Converting this national consensus into decisions and actions in support of our armed forces, police and other security agencies with human and material resources cannot wait.
- Let me at this juncture, extend our sincere gratitude to our Emirs and Chiefs for being the leading and influential anchors of peaceful coexistence in our various communities. Our Peace Commissioners and the House of Kaduna Family deserve exceptional recognition and our gratitude. We appreciate all the Local Government Chairmen, District Heads, Village Heads, the groups of Ardo and Gora throughout the State for supporting our Emirs and Chiefs in promoting better communal relations and peace-building.
- We are grateful to the security agencies, particularly the Army, Air Force, Navy, Police, Civil Defence, SSS, our State Vigilance Service and KASTLEA for constant collaboration with our Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs that has made our state safer than most. Some ignorant or mischievous people out there may think you are doing nothing, or complain that your best is not good enough. Please forgive them for they don’t know any better, and continue to work day and night so that we can sleep with our eyes closed. Your reward is in the hands of the Almighty God.
- We have made progress in the last five years due to the quality of our leadership team, the prayers of our citizens, the support of the Federal Ministries of Finance, Environment, Agriculture, Water Resources, Interior, Aviation, Transportation and Defence; CBN, UBEC, TETFUND, among others, and our many development partners. We thank all these Federal MDAs and Mr. President for always standing up for, and assisting Kaduna State Government and our citizens.
- On behalf of the grateful people of our state, I also want to thank our development partners particularly the World Bank, ISDB, AFDB, UNICEF, UNODC, UNFPA, UNDP, UNIDO, Afrexim Bank, the EU, UK FCDO, USAID, AFD, Indian EXIM Bank, Global Fund, BMGF, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and others too numerous to mention.
- This is to inform our Traditional Leaders that we have received about 180,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Our frontline health workers are being vaccinated right now, and I will, along with the Deputy Governor and members of the State Executive Council, be taking the vaccine for all our citizens to see. The vaccine is quite safe and we urge all of you to be the first to take the jab in your communities to encourage our citizens to follow suit. This will accelerate the return to normalcy in our lives and pursuit of livelihoods, and full opening up of all schools, event centers, restaurants, markets and gamut of human activities.
- We thank you for your time and God Bless you all. God Bless Kaduna State. God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, OFR
Governor of Kaduna State