OPEN LETTER TO THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF KADUNA STATE, HIS EXCELLENCY MALAM NASIR AHMED EL-RUFA’I
It is with a high sense of responsibility that I have decided to write to you this Open Letter to express my utmost concern over the rising insecurity in our dear Kaduna State. The widespread cases of banditry, kidnapping and other forms of violent crimes which, almost on daily basis, result in the loss of human lives and properties are most disturbing to me and other well-meaning people of the State.
Although it is true that such security challenges are not peculiar to Kaduna State as some other States in the North are under similar threats, it is however most painful that the problem in our own State is getting worst by the day as the recent abduction of the students, mostly females, of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization in Afaka-Kaduna has shown. The confirmation by the Emir of Birnin-Gwari His Highness Alhaji Zubairu Jibril Maigwari that over 30 communities in his Emirate have been displaced by bandits as well as reports of similar occurrences in the various parts of Southern Kaduna are all phenomena that have put our people in a situation of helplessness and hopelessness.
Your Excellency, I am fully aware of the fact that some forms of insecurity in Kaduna State have predated your Administration as successive governments, either military or civilian, contended with similar challenges over the past decades. It was even such experience that necessitated the adoption of certain measures by several past State Governments which had helped towards the containment of the crisis in Kaduna State.
However, in the last six years that you have been at the helm of affairs the challenges have not only persisted but have also worsened with the perpetrators of the criminal acts becoming even more daring. As a result of incessant attacks on communities in Birnin-Gwari, Kajuru, Zangon Kataf, Sanga and some other places, thousands of people (mostly women and children) have now become Internally Displaced Persons [IDPs] living in camps without enough access to food, healthcare and education, even as farmers-herders clashes have continued unabated causing not only loss of lives but also severely affecting food production in the State.
The persistence and even escalation of violence across Kaduna State have continued to re-enforce the belief that there must have been something wrong with the approach of the State Government to the issue of insecurity in the State. It is already clear that the strategies of the State Government for the restoration of peace and security are either inadequate or ineffective and should therefore be thoroughly re-examined with a view to either strengthening or completely substituting them with better ones.
As always stated even in the official circles, security maintenance and peace promotion require the participation of every member and segment of the society which clearly means that government alone can not guarantee the security of the people, especially now that the threats to human lives have become more pronounced and pervasive. Government at all levels are therefore required to, as a matter of responsibility, consider it necessary to engage as many stakeholder groups as possible in the security maintenance and peace-building processes.
It is in the light of the fact stated above that I wish to make the following recommendations.
- The Kaduna State Government should, as a matter of utmost urgency, organize a Security Summit which shall serve as an avenue for the expression of views and idea-sharing by individuals and various stakeholder groups on the persistent insecurity in Kaduna State. The invitees, either as individuals or groups shall use the opportunity to be provided by the Summit to comprehensively look at the security situation in Kaduna State vis-a vis the approaches of the Federal, State and Local Governments to the matter.
Additionally, the Summit shall be required to identify the causes, patterns/manifestations and effects of insecurity on the people of the State as well as focus on all the issues relating to the rehabilitation and return of IDPs to their original places, all with a view to coming up with the immediate, medium and long-term solutions to the problem of insecurity in Kaduna State.
Delegates to the Summit should include all former Military and Civilian Governors of the state, indigenes of the State who served as Military Governors or Administrators in some other States, indigenes of the State who held top ranks/positions in the military, para-military and security agencies, all former commissioners of police in the State [serving and retired] as well as the indigenes of the State who served as Police Commissioners in some other States. The others include retired Chief Justices and Justices of the Supreme and Appeal Courts from the state, former and serving legislators at both state and federal levels as well as other prominent politicians, traditional rulers, all former and serving Vice Chancellors from Kaduna State, renowned media practitioners and the representatives of religious, socio-cultural, ethnic and civil society organizations.
- Let me also, Your Excellency, use this opportunity to advise you to always weigh the implications of your actions and utterances for the State, especially at this time of heightened insecurity. I am of the strong belief that a lot of your past statements on even sensitive issues of security and peaceful co-existence among the people of the State had only increased the prevalent tension. As the Executive Governor and therefore Chief Security Officer of the State you are always required to exercise utmost caution in the manner you address issues because whatever you say or do will definitely, either positively or negatively, influence the thinking and attitudes of the people of the State. It is in fact only such an exercise of absolute caution and the regular engagement of stakeholders that can be effective measures for the restoration of peace and security in Kaduna State.
- Finally, while I wish to implore you to facilitate the rescue of all those held by kidnappers in Kaduna State as a way of restoring public confidence in the government, I also pray for a maximum success in the on-going fight against all forms of criminality in Kaduna State, in the North and in the whole Country.
Honourable Isa Mohammed Ashiru
(Sarkin Bai of Zazzau]