Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai on Sunday criticised Southern Kaduna leaders for being responsible for the killings in the region, as a ploy to force his government to appease them. El-Rufai made the remarks during an appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
Scores of people have been reported killed in Southern Kaduna recently, sparking outrage across the country and prompting the military to send in Special Forces to control the situation.
But, on Sunday, El-Rufai said Southern Kaduna leaders who have accused him of taking sides in the unrest were motivated by greed.
The governor said most of the people saying that have no means of livelihood; “governments before us were paying them monies every month as peace money; we stopped it. This is why they say I am taking sides. Whatever they say, I take it. I am the Governor of the state. If I am not abused, who will be abused?”
El-Rufai added that the violence in the region escalated after his administration stopped the practice of “peace money”.
According to the governor, “The problem of the Southern Kaduna elites is that they have their own narrative, whether it is true or false, they stick to it. And anyone that says something to the contrary has taken sides, even amongst them. This is one of the problems that frustrated my former Deputy Governor, Architect Yusuf Bala to say ‘I don’t want to be Deputy Governor, I’ll rather run for the Senate.
“Anyone that is moderate, anyone that is promoting peaceful co-existence between various ethnic groups is considered a sellout. And a Governor like me who does not appease them because they are used to being appeased; they cause trouble, they organise these killings, and they are invited, their leaders are invited by the Governor, they wine and dine, they are given brown envelopes, that’s what they have been doing for 20 years. And we came into office and said ‘no more’.
“Nobody that does not encourage peaceful co-existence will have access to the Governor or the government house. I have no time for them. I am using the security agencies to carefully map them, and when we accumulate enough evidence, we will get them, put them before a judge. I have no time for nonsense. I will not appease criminals. I will not appeal ideal people who have nothing to do but raise a spectre of genocide so that they can get and so-and-so, so that they can get donations and money into their bank accounts from abroad, instead of standing up and having a profession and a business and earn a living”.
The governor vowed to continue to use security agencies to gather evidence against the leaders and charge them to court when investigations are concluded.