Let us maintain peace and cherish harmony

2016 Independence Day address by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State

Fellow citizens of Kaduna State,

I salute you on the occasion of our country’s 56th independence anniversary. We have been bequeathed a country of diverse peoples, faiths and tongues and we have a collective duty to make it work. We face many challenges, but it is not beyond us to build a system that moves our peoples into the 21st Century with functioning governance systems, equality of all persons before the law and the right to security and happiness.

We mark this day in difficult economic circumstances, but we can overcome these as we did previous moments of hardship. Robust decisions are pending and we must support all levels of government to take and put into effect the tough steps that we need to begin the process of economic recovery. We must promptly navigate a route out of the stormy economic weather.

Within the state, we have retained our commitment to cutting costs and eliminating waste of public resources. Our focus on Education and Health as priority sectors is unflagging. We are making progress on growing Internally Generated Revenue while vigorous efforts to attract private investments into our agriculture and mining industries continue. We rely on these investments to create the jobs our youths need.

We shall shortly be unveiling our programme to revitalise our public service to raise quality, inject youth into the ranks and further resource the public service to effectively play its role as the machinery of governance.

The government will in the next few days be subjecting its draft 2017 budget for review and debate at a town-hall meeting, to enrich the document before presentation to the House of Assembly.

At this point, I must make a note of appreciation to the vast majority of our citizens who continue to uphold peace and maintain communal harmony. We regret the resurgence of communal killings in Godogodo Chiefdom in Jema’a and parts of Sango local government areas. We have denounced these acts of murder and arson as senseless and barbaric. We have strengthened our security forces to confront the criminal elements responsible for the needless assault on lives and property. I wish to urge every resident and all our communities to avoid taking the law into their hands, and to report all incidents to the security forces.

As many of the security reports show, the recourse to self-help is fostering and feeding a cycle of reprisals and vendetta. We will continue to do our duty to uphold peace and security. But we all know that beyond soldiers and policemen, the greatest glue for peace is the willingness of individuals and communities to live in harmony and mutual respect.

Many are those whose livelihood is based on tearing our communities apart, with regrettable demagoguery and the elevation of differences in religion and ethnicity above a common humanity. We should not allow them to succeed.

As is customary, we mark this day of liberation with a gesture of compassion. Following recommendations from the Advisory Council, I have therefore approved the release of three prisoners based on guidelines which include the convicts attaining the age of 60 with good conduct and convicts suffering from ill-health likely to lead to death. I have exercised powers conferred by Section 212 of the Constitution and endorsed the release orders for three convicts.

I wish you all a happy independence anniversary.

God bless Kaduna State

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria

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