By Hussaina Yakubu
#TRacknigeria: Gov. Nasiru El-Rufa’i of Kaduna State called on parents in the state to monitor their children and shield them from all forms of violence during the forthcoming elections.
El-Rufa’i gave the advice on Wednesday in Kaduna at a high level dialogue on peaceful elections, organised by the National Peace Committee, supported by the United Nations.
“Be careful of politicians hiding their children at home or either taking them to Abuja or Europe during election periods, and instead engage children of the poor to give them peanuts and drugs pushing them into mayhem and destruction.
“Tell such politicians to send their children on such errands and the story changes.”
According to him, there has been significant reduction in the number of thugs wielding weapons since the campaigns began across the state.
“At least, as far as our party the APC is concerned, we have made it very clear to the young people not to escort us with weapons,” he added.
The governor urged all political actors in the state to make it a part of their campaigns, to discourage the youths from indulging in violence the elections.
He said that all responsible stakeholders in the elections must avoid a repeat of the 2011 post election violence in which over 800 persons needlessly died.
“The UN and National Peace Committee are in Kaduna because there is a reasonable belief of electoral violence in the State, but it is our duty as stakeholders to disappoint them by not engaging in any election violence”.
He acknowledged that election violence were mostly ignited by desperate politicians who give youths money and drugs to harass political opponents before, during and after elections.
“The control of these periods is in our hands as politicians and unless we decide to work together to end the menace, it will spread.
“I call on community leaders not to allow politicians use youths as thugs during elections due to it’s dire consequences”.
He reiterated the State’s commitment in ensuring free, fair and peaceful elections, as well as issue based campaigns.
The governor also assured that anyone found wanting or carrying weapons during or after the polls would be arrested and prosecuted irrespective of their political parties.
He added that security agencies would be deployed during the elections to guard against violence and ballot box snatching.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Ahmad Abdur-Rahaman said the police is collaborating widely with other security agencies for effective policing of the state during the general elections.
He explained that he will soon meet with divisional police officers, candidates and other stakeholders including youths and women leaders across the State on peace building during the polls.
The Commissioner also advised all to abide by the rules of the election and do their own beat peacefully while assuring the electorates of their safety.
“From our intelligence reports, some politicians are planing to use thugs to disrupt election and snatch ballot boxes.
“I pray and hope they will refrain from their decisions because the police and other security agencies will never allow such to happen”.(NAN)