From ISMAIL OMIPIDAN, Kaduna
The popular saying in Hausa that a good Friday is known from the Wednesday preceding it, appears apt in describing the first one month in office of Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State, having been sworn-in on December 16, 2012, following the death of the former governor of the State, Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa.
After spending about two weeks receiving visitors from within and outside the State who had come to condole with the government and people of the State over the tragic loss, Yero, Daily Sun gathered swung into action last week. And the first thing he did was probably what the government had left undone in the past two years. The State’s Security outfit, “Operation Yaki” was one of the things that popularized, the then governor, Namadi Sambo before his elevation, as the country’s Vice President.
However, since his departure from the State in April 2010, not a single vehicle was added to the fleet of the Security outfit. Unknown to many, the State government had purchased vehicles for the outfit, but which were never handed over to it, until last week, when Yero distributed 40 Vans to the security out fit. The vehicles, Daily Sun learnt were fully equipped with modern communication facilities and gadgets, to help ease the operations of the men of “Operation Yaki.”
The governor, on the occasion also ordered that the old vehicles, numbering 40, be retrieved, and directed that they be distributed to all the Divisional Police Stations in the State. Before now, Daily Sun further gathered that about 44 Divisional Police Headquarters in the State had no operational vehicle. Also by last Wednesday, the governor began implementation of the recommendations of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee of the State, which had looked into the findings and conclusions of the panel of Inquiry, set up by the State to look into the 2011 Post-Election crisis, by distributing cheques, worth N410 million to victims of the violence.
Speaking at the event, which marked the flag-off of the presentation, in Kaduna, the governor said the amount was being paid to only victims who lost their houses, churches or mosques. According to him, “a total of 2,502 houses, 151 churches and 141 mosques were affected by the crises which spread across the three senatorial districts of the state. And to ensure that only genuine victims of the crises were assisted, the committee under his chairmanship, (as the deputy governor then) painstakingly carried out a confirmation exercise of all the claims made by the victims.”
To this end, he appealed to all those who were affected by the crises to forgive one another and live together in peace and harmony, adding that “those who have left their homes should return and live peacefully with their age long neighbours, while I specially appeal to those still living at the refugee camps in the state to move back to their homes.” According to the Governor, beneficiaries in the Central Zone had been paid while those in Zone 1, that is Northern Zone would be paid at Zaria local government secretariat on the 21st and 22nd of January, 2013.
And that beneficiaries in Zone 111, that is Southern Kaduna, would receive their cheques at the secretariat of Jema’a local government council from 23rd to 25th January, 2013, adding that “It is my fervent hope and prayers that we will live with one another irrespective of our religious and ethnic differences, as development, no doubt can only be attained in an atmosphere of peace and harmony and we must therefore reconcile and forgive each other.” He also seized the occasion to call on victims that were still living at the refugee camps in the State capital especially, to return to their homes, even as he reiterated his administration’s commitment to serve Kaduna State with equity, justice and fairness, insisting that “I will not discriminate against anybody on the basis of his or her religion, tribe or geographical location.”
By last Friday, the governor was also at Malali Water Works in Kaduna, to commission equipment worth over N470 million. Among the equipment were 12 Hilux vans, 100 motor cycles, 360 Metric tones of alum, 75 metric tones of liquid chlorine, 200 metric tones of HTH (Grannules/powder) and 60 metric tones of HTH (chips) among others. And like the “Operation Yaki” vans, the equipment too had been purchased long before the former governor died; yet, it was never commissioned, until last Friday.
The move, the governor noted, was to fast-tract availability of portable water supply to residents of Kaduna and aid the distribution process in the sector, which would ultimately lead to increased revenue generation in the sector. Before attending to the commissioning event at Malali Water works, Kaduna, last Friday, the governor had played host to the United States of America, (USA), Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Terrence McCulley, where he disclosed among other things that the State government was set to empower 4000 youth and women in the State, through the Subsidy Re-Investment Programme, (SURE-P).
While noting that the exercise, which was part of the government’s measures to address unemployment and take the youth off the street, would cut across the 23 Council areas of the State, the governor further said 3000 youth and 1000 women would benefit from the programme respectively. Governor Yero who also observed that most of the crises witnessed in the state were traceable to lack of jobs, said the State government was looking into how it could utilize the opportunities in the agricultural sector to further empower the youth in the State, even as he notified the US Ambassador to Nigeria that the Kaduna State government would solicit the support of the people and government of USA in that sector to make it attractive to the teeming youth.
The governor further said that Kaduna was very central and influential, and as such whatever happens in the state, would affect the entire northern region and the country at large. But he was however quick to assure that his administration was poised to resolve any conflict through dialogue amicably as no development could be achieved without peace. Earlier, the US Ambassador to Nigeria promised that his home country would make it presence felt again in Kaduna by re-establishing an outlet to serve as “a window to reach the millions of people in the North.” McCulley added that Kaduna was historic and very important in the scope of things in the country, just as he expressed optimism on the tackling of the current security challenges in the region, promising the support of US in that regard.