Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, has said Southern Kaduna leaders accusing him of taking sides want to be “appeased,” but noted that his administration will not grease the palms of trouble-makers.
El-Rufai in an interview on Channels Television’s programme, Sunday Politics, said: “I have no time for nonsense. I will not appease criminals. I will not appease idle people who have nothing to do but to raise a spectre of genocide. They do that to get money into their bank accounts and get donations from abroad instead of standing up.”
The southern part of the state has experienced the worst form of carnage in recent times with hundreds of residents murdered by bandits.
The situation prompted some leaders in Southern Kaduna including the lawmaker representing Zagon Kataf/Jaba Federal Constituency, Amos Magaji, to cry out. They also accuse the governor of taking sides in the clashes between various ethnic and religious groups in that part of the state.
But the governor, on Sunday evening, said the crisis rocking Southern Kaduna has a 40-year history, adding that past and present governments have tried to stabilise it.
He, however, countered the claim by Magaji that he is taking sides, saying: “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 troubles, they organise these killings and then their leaders are invited by the governor, they wine and dine and they are given brown envelopes. That’s what they have been doing for 20 years.
“And we came into office and we said no more, nobody who 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 agents to carefully mark them and when we accumulate enough evidence, we will get them and put them before a judge.”
He added: “Most of the people saying that have no means of livelihood; they were living off the governments. The governments before us were paying them money every month, they called it 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 they don’t abuse me, who will they abuse?
“But let the facts speak for themselves. Let them contradict any fact that we say. We have the facts. We have the security agencies. We have information more than any of them and we know what we are doing and we know what we are spending to try to keep Southern Kaduna safe.
“For years, every Commission of Inquiry said there should be a permanent military base in Southern Kaduna. We established it. There have been service chiefs from Southern Kaduna in the military base.
“But now they have come up with other things because the money they got during the election is exhausted and they can say whatever they want to say. But I want everyone to know this very clear, I will not appease trouble-maker, I will not tolerate people that incite. I will map them, we will arrest and prosecute them, that’s my style, I obey the rule of law.”