Governor El-Rufai Says Clerics Are Free To Negotiate With Bandits

Nasir El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, says his government will not engage with bandits and kidnappers.

There have been a series of attacks on Kaduna communities in the past weeks, particularly institutions of learning.

On Monday, gunmen stormed a UBE primary school at Rama in Birnin-Gwari LGA, kidnapping some teachers.

In the wake of bandits’ attacks on several northern states, Ahmad Gumi, a prominent Islamic cleric, had called for a peace deal with the gunmen.

Commenting on the issue at an expanded meeting of the state security council on Tuesday, El-Rufai said his job as governor is to enforce the law and help prosecute people who commit offences, and not negotiate with bandits.

“We will not engage with bandits or kidnappers. Private citizens like clerics and clergymen can do so in their individual capacities, to preach to them and ask them to repent. We also want them to repent but it is not our job to ask them to do so,” he said.

The governor said the best way to solve the farmer-herder clashes, cattle rustling, and banditry “is for nomadic herdsmen to live more sedentary lives in order for them to be more productive and give their children education and access to better healthcare”.

He noted that transhuman cattle breeding has been rendered obsolete by urbanisation and population growth as most of the cattle routes have been taken over by development.

He said the state government is implementing a ranching project in Damau Grazing Reserve, Kubau LGA.

The governor added that the project will enable the herders to raise their cattle in a facility with pastures, a school, and a primary healthcare centre, with a commercial partner ready to buy their milk.

The expanded security council meeting was attended by traditional rulers, religious leaders, professional associations, trade unions, and civil society groups.

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