Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has reiterated his administration’s stance not to negotiate with bandits, saying that his job as governor is to enforce the law and help prosecute people who commit offences.
El-Rufai restated his government’s position during an expanded meeting of the State Security Council on Tuesday in Kaduna.
The meeting was attended by government officials, security agencies, traditional rulers, religious leaders and people from professional associations, trade unions and civil society groups.
“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.
According to him, the best way to solve the farmer-herder clashes, cattle rustling and banditry is for nomadic herdsmen to live more sedentary lives.
This, he added, would make them more productive and enable them to give their children education and access to better healthcare.
The governor argued that nomadic or transhumance cattle breeding had been rendered obsolete by urbanization and population growth as most of the cattle routes had been taken over by development.
El-Rufai said that the state was implementing a large ranching project at Damau Grazing Reserve in Kubau Local Government, which will make about 1,500 herdsmen sedentary.
He explained that the project would enable the herders to raise their cattle in a facility with pasture, school and Primary Health Centre, with a commercial partner ready to buy their milk.
The governor commended security agencies for their efforts to keep Kaduna state residents safe, in spite of the challenges they are facing.
El Rufai called for decentralisation of the police force, pointing out that Nigeria is the only federation that operates a unitary police force that is funded by state governments but not controlled by them.