Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, has urged communities to enlist in the coalition for peace, stressing that the ultimate guarantee of peaceful coexistence is the willingness of individuals and communities to exercise mutual tolerance and live in peace.
The governor noted that harmony in the land requires a commitment to obey the law, respect constituted authority and to use only peaceful and lawful means to resolve differences.
In his remarks during the condolence visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Kaduna, el-Rufai, warned that there must be clear consequences and sanctions for communities that encourage or enable violence.
“Our communities have an obligation to keep the peace and to report and expose criminal elements. This is a civic duty. Our communities should reject and marginalise the few criminal elements that indulge in violence. Let there be a resolve to deny criminals any hiding place. Let no criminal be allowed to find succour in tribe or faith.”
The governor who went down memory lane, noted that the first ethno religious clash in the state happened in Kasuwan Magani in 1980, saying many other clashes have sadly occurred since, without the perpetrators being sufficiently sanctioned.
According to the governor, failure to prosecute perpetrators resulted in breeding and empowering constituencies of impunity that believe violence pays and has no negative consequence for the planners and perpetrators.
The governor revealed that his administration is working to secure the approval of the National Judicial Council to expand the bench in Kaduna State with 20 additional high court judges: “In addition, we are recruiting 40 more magistrates and working on legislation to expand the jurisdiction of these courts to handle civil and criminal cases that are now handled only by the High Courts”.
el-Rufai said, “Mr President, I wish to bring to your attention lingering issues from the post election violence of 2011. Many of the people that lost lives and property, and communities whose places of worship were destroyed in these crises since 2011 are yet to be fully compensated, resettled and their property reconstructed. We need to achieve closure on resettlement of displaced persons, payment of compensation to 2011 victims and the reconstruction of destroyed properties.
“We are appealing to the federal government to provide the balance of 53% of assessed compensation, amounting to about N3.85bn, to enable victims to rebuild their lives, and for all places of worship to be restored.
“Kaduna is a transport hub. Free movement through Kaduna is vital for the economic health of several states. It is simply criminal and unreasonable to block any of the highways that serve as entry and exit points. All communities must take note and ensure that no traveller is menaced in their area! Any such episodes will attract immediate and unpalatable consequences.
“Mr President, the Kaduna State government is aware that certain resentments driven by poverty and a sense of inequality are implicated in the legacy of violence. Many of the violent episodes that have blighted our state have started in and around markets, and often target economic assets of citizens. Most infamous is the Zangon-Kataf crisis of 1992, but there are many more, including Zonkwa, Kafanchan and the recent outrage in Kasuwan Magani.
“As a government committed to promoting equality of opportunity, we intend to help promote prosperity by rebuilding and modernising markets in places impacted by conflict. The market in Kafanchan is already being rebuilt. We shall be extending this to the overstretched or destroyed markets in places such as Zonkwa, Zangon-Kataf, Kasuwan Magani and Kujama, and other locations in the State.”
The governor added: “The goal is to ensure that the new markets are not only better planned, but will accommodate existing and previous shop owners, and others who aspire to and are able to own shops. Perceptions that there are insurmountable barriers to securing trading places in markets will be erased in the new, expanded and modernised markets. The designs for these markets will include spaces to host local government tax offices, civil defence and police formations.
“As we proceed with our peace building efforts, the Kaduna State government will continue to rely on the security assets and goodwill of the federal government. We have relaxed the curfew across the state, allowing free movement in daytime. We look forward to lifting the night time curfew as soon as the security assessment indicates that it is prudent to do so,” el-Rufai said.
Also speaking, the Emir of Zazzau and chairman Kaduna State council of chiefs, Dr Shehu Idris, while calling for permanent peace in the state urged leaders to continue to preach as he tasked the media to be balance, fair and objective in their daily reportage.
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