Here’s the full text of a state broadcast by Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State regarding the communal crisis that has left scores of people dead.
‘I address you today with a heavy heart, saddened by the violence and loss of lives in parts of our state since Thursday, 18th October 2018, when unrest broke out in Kasuwan Magani. The state government promptly imposed a curfew in the area’ he said.
Read the full statement below…
We visited Kasuwan Magani on Friday, 19th October 2018 to see things for ourselves, to commiserate with the people and to assess the security situation, which had by then become calm. We condemn the violence, and extend our sympathy to the victims, survivors and their families. I assure everyone affected that we will seek justice for them, and clearly underline that criminals will be punished according to law.
We were appalled by the sense of panic that was triggered by rumours across several of our communities on Sunday, 21st October 2018, a situation that hoodlums exploited to engage in criminal activity and to violate the rights of other citizens. The aftermath of the disinformation and resulting panic led to the death of 5 citizens, injuries to many more and destruction of property within Kaduna metropolis.
The Kaduna State Government was therefore compelled to declare a 24-hour curfew in the metropolis to stem the proliferation of false rumours, prevent the spread of chaos and to enable the security agencies to restore calm. All night yesterday and throughout today, we have gone round affected areas, visited hospitals, interacted with communities and counseled against reliance on unsubstantiated information.
My colleagues and I have visited the injured in the hospital, and inspected parts of the state capital in the early hours of this morning. The security agents we met manning our streets in the hours before dawn gave us updates that indicated that the overnight security operations were achieving the objective of restoring calm.
Dear People of Kaduna State, I wish to inform you that the Kaduna State Security Council met this morning. Following this meeting, the Deputy Governor and I have led a team of senior state government and security officials to various parts of Kaduna metropolis, and beyond. It was reassuring to find that the situation is calm, and that residents are complying with the curfew and cooperating with the security agencies. While the degree of compliance with the curfew is credible, I wish to urge everyone to reflect honestly and commit to firmly rejecting those who seek to incite and divide us.
As your governor, I call on all residents of Kaduna State to do their best to uphold peace and harmony. No one gains from a situation of chaos. The ultimate guarantee of peaceful coexistence is the willingness of individuals and our communities to live in peace. Harmony in our land requires a commitment to obey the law, and to use only peaceful and lawful means to resolve differences.
The diversity of Kaduna State is real. It is a blessing of the Almighty God. No one will be allowed to tamper with this gift. The right bestowed by the Constitution allowing every citizen to live where they choose will be vigorously upheld by your government.
To enforce these rights, this government will work to fast track the prosecution of at least 25 persons arrested for the recent incident, as well as the 63 persons arrested during the February 2018 episode in Kasuwan Magani. It is clear to us that unless people are seen to be expeditiously punished for such criminal acts, impunity and reckless disregard for human life and property will continue.
Having reviewed the security situation today, the State Security Council will reconvene at 9am, tomorrow, Tuesday, 23rd October to consider whether it is expedient to relax the duration and timing of the curfew in place. Further announcements on this will be made in due course based on the evaluation of the security agencies.
The Kaduna State Government regrets the inconvenience imposed on our citizens by the curfews in Kasuwan Magani, Kujama and the Kaduna Metropolis, and assure all that the difficult decisions were taken in the public interest to protect the lives, livelihoods and property of our people.
To mitigate the inconvenience of commuters passing through Kaduna to other parts of our nation, the security agencies have been directed to make arrangements to escort approved vehicles from the Rigasa train station, Kaduna International Airport and entrance and exit points from and to Abuja, Lagos, Zaria, Kachia and Jos at regular intervals.
It is gratifying that Kaduna State is not alone in this moment of trial. On behalf of the government and people of Kaduna State, I wish to express my gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government of Nigeria for promptly making available federal security assets to assist us. I thank the National Security Adviser for his kind support and the Inspector-General of Police who deployed AIG Taiwo Lakanu and a special intervention force to strengthen the efforts of the Kaduna State Police Command.
I wish to acknowledge the sterling efforts of the security agencies to uphold calm and enforce order in our state. I pay tribute to the Army, the Airforce, the Navy and the Civil Defence Corps for their valiant efforts. The Vigilance Service and other voluntary security groups also performed admirably in restoring calm.
The cause of peace has also benefited from our Peace Commission, and the contributions of our traditional and religious leaders who have worked to ensure that there is no escalation. We are grateful to their Royal Highnesses, the Emir of Zazzau and the Esu Chikun for their sterling leadership and counsel.
Let us make our Kaduna State a place of peace. The alternative is in no one’s interest. As your governor, I will continue to do my duty to assert and protect everyone’s right to live in peace. We will vigorously intensify security presence, prosecute offenders and continue to build peace and confidence across our communities. Let us all do it together.
God bless Kaduna State!
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!