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NAF should bomb forests to wipe out bandits and other criminal elements to ensure Safe Schools, says El-Rufai

Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai on Tuesday said that the only way to ensure safe schools is for the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to bomb the forests where bandits and other criminal elements have been hiding.

Governor El-Rufai, said in Abuja at a conference on Financing Safe Schools in Nigeria that “nobody living in the forest is innocent and we must kill them all. The Chief of Air Staff has been doing well and this has led to a reduction in the activities of bandits in recent times.”

The Governor, who suggested the procurement and deployment of drones to assist in the fight against banditry and other forms of criminality, also insisted that banditry can stop if people stop negotiating with them and paying them ransom. 

According to Governor El-Rufai, “people ask if my child was kidnapped and I say that I won’t pay, it is a personal decision, which we do not all support. So the only way to stop banditry is to kill them all.”

However, in 2016, El-Rufai acknowledged that his government tracked down some armed and aggrieved Fulanis and paid them to stop killing Southern Kaduna residents and destroying their communities.

He had said, “For southern Kaduna, we didn’t understand what was going on and we decided to set up a committee under Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (rtd) to find out what was going on there. What was established was that the root of the problem has a history starting from the 2011 post-election violence.

“Fulani herdsmen from across Africa bring their cattle down towards Middle Belt and Southern Nigeria. The moment the rains start around March, April, they start moving them up to go back to their various communities and countries.

“Unfortunately, it was when they were moving up with their cattle across Southern Kaduna that the elections of 2011 took place and the crisis trapped some of them. Some of them were from Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Mali and Senegal. Fulanis are in 14 African countries and they traverse this country with the cattle.

“So many of these people were killed, cattle lost and they organised themselves and came back to revenge. So a lot of what was happening in Southern Kaduna was actually from outside Nigeria. We got a hint that the late Governor Patrick Yakowa got this information and he sent someone to go round some of these Fulani communities, but of course after he died, the whole thing stopped. That is what we inherited. But the Agwai committee established that.

“We took certain steps. We got a group of people that were going round trying to trace some of these people in Cameroon, Niger Republic and so on to tell them that there is a new governor who is Fulani like them and has no problem paying compensations for lives lost and he is begging them to stop killing.

“In most of the communities, once that appeal was made to them, they said they have forgiven. There are one or two that asked for monetary compensation. They said they have forgiven the death of human beings, but want compensation for cattle. We said no problem, and we paid some. As recently as two weeks ago, the team went to Niger Republic to attend one Fulani gathering that they hold every year with a message from me.”

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