Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has said he will never pay ransom to bandits even if they kidnap his son.
The governor said this in a radio chat on Friday in Kaduna to underscore his government’s policy of not negotiating with bandits.
El-Rufai has consistently said government should only apply force in dealing with bandits and other violent criminals, reiterating the stand on Thursday by stressing that bandits do not deserve to live.
In his current remarks on Friday, El-Rufai said he had warned his family members to be careful to avoid being abducted. He said he also told them he would never pay a ransom for their freedom, should any of them get into the hands of bandits.
“I mean it and I will say it again here. Even if my son is kidnapped, I will rather pray for him to make heaven instead, because I won’t pay any ransom.”
Asked what his government was doing to secure the release of the students kidnapped at the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Kaduna, in March, the governor said the government would keep exploring other ways to get them back to their families but stressed that the government is “absolutely not paying ransom.”
He said the state government will keep exploring those other means until the students are released.
El-Rufai has been under pressure from the parents of the students, other concerned persons and groups to negotiate with the bandits for the release of the students.
The state governments of Katsina, Niger and Zamfara were believed to have negotiated with the abductors for the release of hundreds of students kidnapped from schools in the states.
The federal government too was also believed to have negotiated with the abductors of students from a girls’ school in Dapchi, Yobe State in an incident in which the terrorist-kidnappers withheld one of the students, Leah Sharibu, allegedly because she refused to renounce her faith, one of their conditions for the release of the students.
Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara is a promoter of dialogue with bandits that have been attacking rural communities, abducting for ransom and stealing cows in many states in the Nigerian Northwest and Northcentral.
Governor El-Rufai had publicly decried that policy of the Zamfara governor and blamed it for the failure of the affected state governments to coordinate actions to flush out the bandits from their forests hideouts in the states.
On the radio chat on Friday, the Kaduna governor also spoke on the ongoing staff retrenchment in local government councils in the state.
”It is an exercise that is necessary. We have made it clear that any persons working with a certificate below a diploma should not be part of our civil service, except junior workers who are essential workers.
”Another thing we learnt also is the lesson we got from COVID-19 lockdowns. We have less workers coming to work and still getting work done. It is obvious that majority of the workers, especially in the middle cadre are actually not doing anything. Some don’t even go to work and yet get their salaries. We can’t be wasting government money to pay salaries of people who are not needed. We need money to work for the people of Kaduna because that is what we swore to do.”
On developmental projects going on in the state, El-Rufai said his government hoped to complete all its major works before the end of 2023.
“The government will soon begin the light rail project, which will be the first in Nigeria. The first phase will commence soon. It is going to run through Ahmadu Bello way from Maraban Jos, all through to KRPC. We are at the final stage of completing the paper work with the federal government and work will begin soon.”
The governor thanked the people of Kaduna for their support to his government since its inception.