(SA Media and Publicity to Gov El-Rufai, Samuel Aruwan at a press briefing on Wednesday)
Governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna state denied story credited to him that he paid Fulani herdsmen to stop killings in Southern Kaduna saying, he just resuscitated former Governor Patrick Yakowa’s initiative by persuading aggrieved Fulanis to forgive losses which they suffered in the 2011 Post Election Violence and they responded by asking for compensation for loss of cattle.
Speaking through his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity at a press conference on Wednesday, Samuel Aruwan, El-Rufai clarified that he never paid herdsmen money in order to either appease or arm them as widely reported in somr media (not Gobroadsheet).
Aruwan who lamented the distortion of what the governor said in an interview with some journalists last week, said that ‘’government is combining security action with dialogue and peace-building efforts in southern Kaduna’’.
According to the governor’s spokesman, ‘’El-Rufai has continued what was admirable in the peace efforts of late Governor Patrick Yakowa, and would do whatever is legitimate to secure lasting peace in the area’’.
Aruwan pointed out that the late Yakowa tried to foster reconciliation with the affected Fulani communities, in order to stem the spiral of vengeance and reprisals.
‘’Yakowa’s efforts were not sustained after his death and violence persisted. When it became our responsibility to provide security for the state, we re-established these contacts so that those who felt they lost in the 2011 violence could let bygones be bygones’’, he explained.
Aruwan also pointed out that ‘’the quest for peace and the imperative of stemming human suffering requires leaders to explore conventional and unusual means to build peace. That is why the Kaduna State government is combining security action with dialogue and peace-building efforts in southern Kaduna.’’
The Governor’s Media aide further said that El Rufai built on Yakowa’s peace building efforts by setting up the General Martin Luther Agwai Peace and Reconciliation Committee to look into the crises in Southern Kaduna.
Aruwan said that the Agwai Committee report identified three categories of Fulanis that were affected by the 2011 Post Election Violence which was the root cause of the Southern Kaduna crises.
According to the Agwai Committee, the settled Fulani, the semi-settled Fulani and the transhumance Fulani, many of whom are the Bokolo from Chad, Niger, Cameroon, Senegal and Mali, lost lives and cattle in the violence.
Governor El Rufai blamed Senator Danjuma La’ah who represents Southern Kaduna at the Upper Legislative Chambers, of playing to the gallery instead of playing his role as a leader.
The governor’s spokesman lamented that rather than help El Rufai in salvaging the situation, Senator La’ah is engaged in reckless grandstanding, whereby he simulates or manufactures reality and then summons a pretended outrage over his own confection.
‘’The Senator is responding to the mischievous headline published by his campaign spokesman, who moonlights as the Vanguard reporter in Kaduna. This reporter, who was not present during the governor’s recent media interview, wrote a story that was bereft of context and was laced with a dangerous headline,’’ Aruwan said.
According to him, ‘’the same interview detailed the governor’s observations about the disproportionate involvement of young Fulani men in crime, and his challenge to Fulani leaders to tackle the menace.’’