Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, has accused Southern Kaduna leaders of blackmailing him for the killings in that area of the state over his refusal to “appease” and provide “brown envelope” for them.
Governor El-Rufai made the claim while speaking in a television interview on Sunday.
Southern Kaduna has been plagued by inter-ethnic and religious crisis, violence and killings in recent times, with hundreds of residents murdered by bandits.
The violence has led to prominent indigenes of the area such as Obadiah Mailafia, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and Amos Magaji, the lawmaker representing Zagon Kataf/Jaba Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, accusing the governor of taking sides in the clashes.
But Governor El-Rufai insisted that he has worked hard to ensure the safety and security of the people of the affected area, adding that he is neither fuelling the crisis nor taking sides.
He stated that he will not yield to the demands of a few people, who he called criminals, saying that they are inciting the residents of the area and making claims about a genocide.
“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,” Governor El-Rufai said on Channels Television’s programme, Sunday Politics.
“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.”
Governor El-Rufai also alleged that the leaders of Southern Kaduna are angry with him because he stopped the disbursement of stipends he described as “peace money”.
He stated that he will abide by the law while restoring peace to the affected area and threatened to arrest those causing trouble in the area.
He said: “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 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.”
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