130, not 66 Fulani killed in Kaduna, says El-Rufai
• Seeks more soldiers for elections • Police arrest 11 suspects
Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai yesterday declared that contrary to earlier reports, 130 Fulani were killed in Kujuru Local Government Area.
El-Rufai, who described those who questioned the veracity of his claim as irresponsible, said that the latest figure was contained in a report from an ongoing investigation by the police.
The governor last Friday raised the alarm, alleging that unknown gunmen killed 66 persons in the area.
Addressing State House correspondents after an emergency security meeting summoned by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, El-Rufai said: “Now, what we are hearing, the last report we got is that over 130 people were killed not even 66.
“I think that anybody that is still questioning whether these attacks took place or not is being grossly irresponsible. I think as the governor of the state, everyone knows me and my records of public service. I would not be irresponsible enough to stand before the media and say something has happened that has not happened. I don’t work based on telephone calls or rumours.
“As governor of the state, the first thing I receive every morning is a security briefing on what happens in the last 24 hours. That is the first thing I read and I ask questions and I work on the basis of security briefings from the experts, the garrison commander, the commissioner of police, the head of the air force. We have every security agency in Kaduna State and they send me briefings, including the Directorate of State Services (DSS). I work only on that basis.”
The governor said anybody that wanted to contradict his claim should have superior information “and it is impossible for you other than the president of the country to have superior information than I have about my state.”
According to him, there is a prevailing narrative in the nation’s media that only certain lives are more important than others.
“We see that clearly in the slant of reporting and the denial. The fact that you are still asking me these questions two days after we have proved all doubts of all those people claiming that this didn’t happen, show the truth in what I am saying. They first said I lied, that it didn’t happen, then they started saying, no, the numbers are not what they are.
“And now, what we are hearing, the last report we got is that, over 130 people were killed not even 66. And the Fulani leaders are providing the names of all these people, we have the list and we will release it to the press,” he said.
El-Rufai was joined during the press briefing by the governor of Adamawa State, Mohammed Bindo, his Borno State counterpart, Kashim Shettima, and the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina.
He said the Fulani leaders had indicated willingness to provide the full list of those killed in the attack to the government.
El-Rufai said his government was ready to make public the pictures of the victims and footages of how the army had to be there to help bury the dead two days after they were killed because their bodies were decomposing.
He told reporters that during the meeting with President Buhari, he requested more military presence during the rescheduled election on February 23 and March 9 in the state.
“In Kaduna State, we requested enhanced military presence in particular locations that are affected by rural banditry, these are Birnin-Gwari and Giwa Angchukwu local government areas where there has been a history of either electoral violence or ethno-religious intolerance.”
According to El-Rufai, the state government has mapped out local arrangements with the garrison commander and the commissioner of police to ensure that every resident of Kaduna State will be free to vote in an atmosphere of peace and security.
The governor also explained that yesterday’s meeting between President Buhari and the heads of security agencies focused on the states that have higher than average security challenges. He said governors of four states of Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, and Kaduna were invited.
He said the northeast states were discussed because of the of Boko Haram insurgency, while Kaduna was invited because of the recent crisis affecting parts of the state.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Abdulrahman, has said 11 suspects have been arrested in connection with the killings.
“We intended prosecuting those arrested today (Tuesday), but as I am talking to you now, we are making more arrests. While on the road coming here this morning, I had eight people arrested. As I am talking, we got additional three so, we have to go beyond the eight people and more facts are coming out as a result of intelligence that we are gathering.”