By Johnbosco Agbakwuru – Abuja
Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai on Friday said that the issue of banditry has become a scourge for the North West geopolitical zone of the country as the Boko Haram is to the North East.
Governor el-Rufai also said that the ravaging dreaded Coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult to remember that the present administration that started May 29, 2020 has stayed one year.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, the Kaduna State Governor said because of the prevailing circumstances occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19, it is a very difficult time to be in a leadership position.
On the menace of bandits in the North West, el-Rufai said the attack in Sokoto State by the terrorists only hit the headlines just a few days ago, adding that in Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger, and Katsina states, banditry has become a scourge especially in the North West.
He said that the zone has been battling it with the support of the military and expressed appreciation to the Nigerian Air Force, the Nigerian Army, and the Navy for coming to the aid of Kaduna State and holding fort Southern Kaduna.
He said, “We’ve been dealing with this issue and our concern now is with the operations in Sokoto and Zamfara. Many of the bandits will move to Kaduna, this is part of the reasons I’m here, I’ll be meeting with the Minister of Defense and the Service Chiefs to try to get more military activities, some operations to be strengthened.
“I must say that they’ve been doing very well, they’ve supported us, but this banditry is a big problem. It’s going to affect agriculture unless it is dealt with and I believe that it will be dealt with.
“The Chief of Air Staff has assured me that whatever that will needed to be done to wipe out the bandits, to enable our farmers to go to farm as the rains advance, will be done. We are confident that things will get better.
“It’s most unfortunate that we’ve had to deal with it in the northwest in the same way that Boko Haram ravaged the northeast, these bandits are also becoming a serious problem in the northwest, but the problem is being addressed.”
On his Democracy Day message, el-Rufai said, ” Because of the global situation with this pandemic, many of us have even forgotten that we’ve even spent one year in the office.
“Many of us are celebrating it in a very low-keyed manner and I think what I will ask everyone in Kaduna State and indeed Nigeria, to do is to continue to pray for our leaders to do better, to be righteous because when you have righteous leaders, you’ll have a righteous nation.
“We are lucky to have a great, decent and honest man as President and we should continue to pray for him and all the governors to me more like him so that the country can make progress.
“We are one year in office, we have three more years to go and I do hope that collectively, all of us that were elected and given this leadership responsibility will discharge this responsibility to the satisfaction of our people, we’ll do our best.
“Speaking for Kaduna State, my team and I are working very hard not to let our people down, we are very proud of the quality of the people in our team, they have done very well.
“Even when I was isolated for 26 days, the business of government in Kaduna State did not stop, things have continued. I am very proud of our deputy governor and the work that she has done with our team.
“I think it’s the same all over the country, we are all dealing with very difficult situation, the economy is going to go into depression, there’s nothing we can do about that, revenues have collapsed, yet you still have to invest in more public health facilities, you have to invest in treatment, you have to invest in security and so on.
“So it’s a very difficult time to be in a leadership position and that is why the people and the leaders must all work together and for the almighty God to end this pandemic. It is a major problem, but working together, we are a resilient nation and I’m sure we’ll overcome it.”