By Chimezie Godfrey
The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has appealed to communities to work for the peace, harmony and economic development of the state.
El-Rufai made the appeal on Thursday during
the commissioning of the new Kasuwan Magani market, Kaduna state.
The Governor who expressed delight at the
the commissioning of the new Kasuwan Magani market, said it is a deliberate investment by the Kaduna State Government in peace-building and economic prosperity in a diverse community.
He noted that markets have been a source of conflict in some of the communities, adding that contentions over the location of markets and access to them have been implicated in the legacy of violence that has blighted parts of the state.
According to him, the Kaduna State Government is aware that certain resentments driven by poverty and a sense of inequality have manifested in violent episodes that have started in and around markets, often targeting the economic assets of other citizens.
El-Rufai revealed that it was in Kasuwan Magani that Kaduna State lost its innocence, recording the first ethnoreligious clash in the 1980s.
He therefore said that the Kaduna State Government’s post-conflict assessment after the October 2018 crisis in Kasuwan Magani included a resolve to address the question of markets.
He said,”As a government committed to promoting equality of opportunity, we announced in October 2018 a plan to promote prosperity in places impacted by conflict by rebuilding their markets.
“The goal is to ensure that the new markets will accommodate the previous shop owners, and other persons who are interested in and are able to own shops. Perceptions that there are insurmountable barriers to securing trading places in markets will be erased in the new, expanded markets.
“The designs for these markets will also include space to host police formations. Today’s event marks another significant day in our quest by the Kaduna State Government to advance the cause of peace on many fronts.
“We commission the replacement of the burnt Kasuwan Magani market as part of our programme to promote equality of opportunity and economic development in our communities.
“We partnered with the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to deliver this project.
“Through the Kaduna Markets Development and Management Company, we funded the construction of the Kasuwan Magani market from our state budget because of its importance to the recovery of this community from the needless violence of 2018.This explains the deliberate steps being taken to make the market an inclusive space.
“Interested buyers of stalls in the market are being supported with access to mortgage finance. The sale of the shops is not driven by profit but by a desire to make the market a hub of traders from diverse backgrounds with a shared interest in prosperity.
“I appeal to all our communities to work for peace and harmony. Economic development requires an atmosphere of concord in which everyone feels safe to pursue their livelihoods. Let us defeat poverty together and build communities of prosperity.”
El-Rufai thanked Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for taking time to Commission the project.
“The first is that you are a man of deep social conscience. You care deeply about poor people and you care about giving them opportunity to prosper economically.
“The second reason is that you are a bridge builder. You are a pastor who is friends with imams, khaliphas and emirs. You are a professor who can speak the language of ordinary people.
“You are a lawyer who pursues justice, not technicalities. You care for people, you care for Nigerians and you care for unity in diversity. You care about dropping differences in religion and ethnicity, and you always promote peaceful coexistence.
“Your Excellency, this community needs an apostle like you to preach unity and peaceful coexistence,” he said.
He also extended his gratitude to CCECC for doing a great job in constructing the market, as he equally acknowledged the support that the people of Kasuwan Magani have provided to the project.
El-Rufai therefore urged them to use it together, share its blessings together and protect it together.
The Governor thanked Mr. Cafra Caino for being a symbol of unity as chairman of Kajuru Local Government.