KADUNA State governor, Mr. Nasir el-Rufai yesterday linked the frequent killings and other violent activities in the state to cattle rustlers, who he said were mostly Fulani from neighbouring countries.
The governor, who spoke during a television programme, Sunrise Daily on Channel Television monitored in Lagos, however, expressed delight that such killings have ceased within the last six months due to some measures put in place by his administration.
According to the former minister, the intervention of a committee he set up under the leadership of Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (retd) did a very good job. His words: “By going round and tracing the root of these killings, we found that most of those who come in to do those killings are from other countries like Cameroon, Chad, Mali and Senegal.
“This happened in April and these cattle rearers had come from these countries and were going back, because they move across the West African sub region and were going back with their cattle when this problem happened. If you remember the elections of 2011, they were just victims that were passing through.
“And of course you know the Fulani have a long memory of revenging any killing; so, there relations were coming from other countries to revenge the killings and we had to reach out to some of these countries outside Nigeria telling them this cannot continue,” he said.
The governor noted that they offered to compensate those affected “and do anything” to bring the killings to an end, insisting that “there is no sense wiping out an entire village just because something happened five years ago.”
These tactics, according to him, have brought about the needed result, maintaining that “there has been no killing in the last six months, since Agwai did that job and reached out to these people and talked to them.
Speaking on how he was able to succeed in office, he said his first mission after assuming office was to call a security meeting to address the killings and reprisal killing that occurred after the general elections.
“In the South you have Christians and non-indigenes and in the North you have mostly Muslims and Hausa speaking Northerners and it is very unhealthy,” maintaining that “these repeated cycles of ethnic and religious violence are part of what contributed to what is destroying Kaduna.”
As a way of tackling cattle rustling, the governor said a joint military operation was funded by his government alongside those of Zamfara, Niger, Katsina and Kebbi – states which they use to flush the rustlers out.
“So far, we have recovered cattle and many of the rustlers have been killed,” he said.
Meanwhile, the governor has disclosed that raw gold deposit in the state is far larger than entire mineral deposits in the Republic of South Africa, urging investors to do business with the state.
He said the new vision of his administration was to make the state programmed for abundant investments, economic opportunities and prosperity. The governor, who spoke during the opening ceremony of the first Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit, (Kadivest) told the gathering that his government had put all mechanisms in place to ensure adequate peace and security, good governance, improved quality of lives, and social inclusion for the people and investors coming to do business in the state .
He said: “We have just found that there is more gold in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna than in South Africa. “We are discussing with a large international mining company to come and explore our gold reserves in Kaduna State.
“We are focusing on mining and agriculture in creating jobs in this state. The mining company we are discussing with is going to train our local miners and will group them into cooperatives so that they would become like sub contractors to them and be able to work with them.
We are working with the Federal Government very closely to ensure that this happens.”