The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) on Friday donated N50 million to the Kaduna State Government for onward distribution to the victims of the recent Abuja – Kaduna train attack.
The Head, NGF Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, in a statement in Abuja on Friday, said that the forum Chairman and Governor of Ekiti state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, made the donation when he led a two-man delegation of the forum to Kaduna State.
Dr Fayemi said that the delegation was in the state to commiserate with the government and people on the train attack which claimed lives, injured many people, while several others were kidnapped.
The NGF chairman, while addressing Governor Nasiru El-Rufai, expressed deep sympathy to Kaduna State and its people.
He described the attack as “mind-boggling,” because of the number of casualties and other fatalities.
Dr Fayemi said, ”regrettably, the criminals were audacious enough to also take away some hostages which raised the state of insecurity, which has virtually thrown Kaduna in the mix.”
The Ekiti governor wondered if the entire crime was the handwork of some enemies of the state government or its governor, trying to distract the state from its path to development.
Dr Fayemi regretted that, ”everything is currently unnecessarily revolving around 2023,” advising that, more should be done towards securing the country.
He said the North-west of the country had been a region of calm and consensus before now.
The governor emphasised, ”whatever it is, governors would continue to work with President Muhammadu Buhari to bring sanity back to the country.”
Dr Fayemi also concurred with the Kaduna governor on his solution to banditry, in which he has always advocated that government takes proactive action by going after the bandits right in their enclaves and rooting them out.
“I agree that we as governors must join hands with the President to deal ruthlessly with the bandits, that they be crushed, as you have always advocated.”
He added that the primary purpose of government was ensuring the safety of lives and property.
Dr Fayemi said that they were in Kaduna State to commiserate with the governor, the state government and the people of the state.
“We are here to show solidarity with them and align with the governor who as a public servant all his life, he has been a focused leader from who we must learn, to ensure peace in our communities,” Fayemi added.
The NGF chairman admonished Mr El-Rufai not to relent in his efforts at building the state but ”continue to be the leader that he has always been, regardless of whatever anyone thinks. Nigeria is worth dying for.”
Governor El-Rufai, in his remarks disclosed that 61 Kaduna indigenes were still recuperating from the train attack, including a top government official and his 8-months pregnant wife.
He said that the bandits were currently hiding somewhere in Niger State.
El-Rufai regretted that the attack was avoidable, because, ”the state government had tipped the Nigerian Railways Corporation.”
Speaking earlier, the Kaduna State Deputy Governor, Hadiza Balarabe, described the train attack as, ”a demoralising experience,” which she prayed the state never witnessed again.
Mrs Balarabe said that El-Rufai had been in the forefront of finding solutions to the problem from the beginning.
The Deputy Governor said the NGF and its members had been such good friends whose support the state valued and placed on high premium.
She pledged that the Kaduna State Government would continue to do its best in supporting the security forces in the state.
”This is to accomplish the task of securing lives and property while still working hard to find lasting solutions to the problem, in such a way that it never repeats itself,” she said.