Overhauling Public Service Delivery: The El-Rufai Example, By Mohammed Abubakar

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Kaduna Earth Tremors: Governor Elrufai Sympathises With Kwoi Residents, Appeals For Calm

Following reports of earth tremors in the Kwoi area, Jaba local government area, on Sunday, the Kaduna State Government has appealed for calm. The government said it has made a formal report to the appropriate authorities to investigate the development, report precisely on the event and issue appropriate guidance.

A statement signed by Samuel Aruwan, Special Assistant to the Governor (Media and Publicity), said that the Governor, Malam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, has confirmed that the geological and emergency agencies have been notified.

“The governor sympathises with the people in the Kwoi area over the reported earth tremors. He has directed the State Emergency management Agency (SEMA) to mobilise to the area and comfort our citizens. The national geological agency has also been notified, and has been invited to investigate the tremors in the Kwoi area and provide appropriate guidance.

“The Kaduna State Government is receiving updates from the area. Relevant government agencies have been directed to take steps to comfort the residents of Kwoi area and to assuage their unease as they come to terms with an unusual event.

“The Kaduna State Government wishes to appeal for calm, and urges everyone not to spread unverified information, or create panic.”

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2500 Jobs Created As Elrufai Commissions State Traffic Agency [Photos]

No less than 2,500 jobs was created by the Kaduna State government on Tuesday with the commissioning of the Kaduna State Traffic and Environmental Law Enforcement Agency, KASTELEA.

The commissioning of the agency follows the disbandment of the Directorate of Road Traffic Services in the state.

Governor Nasir El Rufai commissioned the agency with himself adorned in the uniform designed for the outfit.

Check out more photos…

 

 

 

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Governor El-Rufai Pays Condolence Visit To Senator Shehu Sani – Photos

The political difference between Kaduna governor, Nasir El-Rufai and Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani was set aside on Tuesday as the former paid a condolence visit to the latter following the demise of his mothePolitical watchers has been on the look-out waiting to see how how the action of the governor towards the demise of the mother of the senator having been on war path since the beginning of this administration.

But Governor El-Rufai shocked many wit a surprise visit to the Senator at his Tudun Wada residence in Kaduna.

The condolence visit was well attended as supporters of the governor cheered as he arrived the Tudun Wada home of the Senator.

Hajiya Fatima, mother of the Senator died on Saturday at the Garden City Hospital after a protracted illness.

She has since been buried according to Islamic rites.

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Buhari Forced Me To Contest For Kaduna Governorship Election – Elrufai

Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, on Thursday said it was President Muhammadu Buhari who forced him to contest last year’s governorship election.

According to THISDAY, el-Rufai said this at the closing ceremony of the two-day Kaduna Investment Forum that held at the Umaru Musa Yar’adua Indoor Sports Hall, Murtala Square, Kaduna.

He was quoted as saying that without the encouragement he received from Buhari, who was then the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress ( APC ), he would not have won the election.

“It was President Muhammadu Buhari that forced me to contest for the governorship race of Kaduna state in revenge for persuading him to run the presidential race,” he was quoted as saying.

“If he had not asked me to run for the governorship, I wouldn’t have stood before you today as the governor of Kaduna state.

“It is the Buhari phenomenon that had swept away the PDP. Buhari is a man of integrity, a Nigerian leader whose name has not been found in the Panama documents.”

He also said he would have lost the election if not for the card reader introduced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

El-Rufai maintained that without the card reader, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would have robbed him of victory at the poll.

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Apostle Who Prophesied El-Rufai’s Death Made Lots Of Fake Prophecies Including El-Rufai Losing Kaduna

ohnson Suleman who recently prophesied  that Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai of Kaduna State will die over his plan to amend Kaduna’s “Religious Preaching Laws of 1984” had in 2015 made several prophecies in 2015 that didn’t materialize, one of them included the declaration that El-Rufai would lose the 2015 Governorship election in Kaduna state about the Governor.

Suleiman, who heads the Omega Fire Ministries in Auchi, Edo State had in his false 2015 also claimed that General Muhammadu Buhari and El-Rufai will lose elections. He further prophesied that former President Goodluck Jonathan will win the 2015 presidential elections, all of which never happened.

Here is the link to the false prophesies of 2015.

The self-acclaimed apostle had given El-Rufai two weeks to withdraw the proposed amendment or die to pray “revoke this law now or die” after which his gullible congregation answered loud “Amen.”

Below is his 61 fraudulent 2015 prophesies:
1.There shall a be harvest of testimonies for women looking for fruit of the womb.

2. President Obama needs serious prayers for his health.

3. I see a woman becoming the president of America, but her health needs attention.

4. Britain needs prayers because of her Queen.

5. I entered the house of former President Shehu Shagari in the spirit and I saw RIP; he needs prayers.

6. There shall an be agricultural boom this year.

7. I saw Catholic Reverend Fathers getting married. I saw a group rising, called “Old Catholic Church”, they were on fire for God and caused a revolution.

8. Boko Haram is sponsored by two people; one is a traditional ruler and the other is a retired General.

9. Nollywood should stop nudity and immoral content been shown because God is not happy.

10. Bola Tinubu, Bode George and King of Onitsha need prayers.

11. A great Pentecostal man of God been called to glory. I wept.

12. I see President Goodluck Jonathan coming back but troubles.

13. I saw people crying in the Oba of Benin’s house.

14. Libyan election to be cancelled.

15. El Rufai should go and sit down. For abusing Jesus, he will not win Kaduna election.

16. Brigade Commander Aso rock should be changed.

17. Buhari’s health needs attention.

18. Aminu Tambuwal, I saw him leading Sokoto State.

19. Dangote will not have it smooth this year; he will drop from Africa’s richest.

20. Patience Jonathan needs serious prayers.

21. Egypt will have elections.

22. 2015 presidential election will be rigged, marred in violence and end up in court case.

23. Thank you Jesus! Finally a Christian is now the governor of Lagos state.

24. A popular Abuja pastor needs serious prayers. I saw mourning.

25. I saw the Naira falling greatly. It became N200 (two hundred naira) to 1$ (a dollar).

26. I saw Cameroonian soldiers killing Boko Haram soldiers.

27. Prophets who deceive people, collects their properties, charge money, will face great judgment this year.

28. Rochas Okorocha; I saw him moving to PDP 

29. Contrary to most prophecies, Nigeria will not break up 

30. Nigerian Government will start fighting the Gospel and men of God

31. Military leaders will be changed.

32. There will a be plan to kill Goodluck Jonathan but it will be exposed.

33. I saw governor Amosun return.

34. APC Rivers State needs to do grass root campaign because I saw the election been rigged for PDP. Prayers are needed because of so much bloodshed.

35. Three popular musicians will die; one of them is a young boy.

36. Former President Obasanjo should go and make peace with God, Nigeria is not his problem.

37. The retired Army General one of the sponsors of Bokoharam, God warned him recently with his health. The next, God will take his life.

38. I saw a man win Governorship but not allowed to govern.

39. I saw attention in Delta state moved to Agbor.

40. President Gooluck Jonathan should arrest corrupt leaders. His calmness is what is empowering them to steal.

41. I saw people who resigned as ministers to contest election return back as Federal ministers.

42. I see so much food in Nigeria in 2015.

43. I saw major death in China (I saw group of kids killed)

44. A great man of God whose first name begins with 3rd letter and Surname with 15th letter needs serious prayers. I saw serious crisis and crying. Please let’s pray for him.

45. Let’s pray against military intervention and interim government.

46. President election inconclusive, yet Jonathan declared winner. APC Pray!

47. I don’t see Buhari with credentials to vie for president.

48. Ghana economy to have terrible and serious crisis.

49. With the level of bloodshed I saw, it was better Goodluck goes now to his village quietly.

50. 2015 election is another June 12. The man who truly won will not govern or rule.

51. Arik Airline to pray against disaster.

52. I saw people crying in Alex Ekwueme’s house. Why are they crying?

53. I saw upsurge around bar beach taking people’s lives, water overrunning and bringing down buildings.

54. Pray against three major Air disasters between February and October.

55. I saw a king in Zulu (South Africa) taking a bow.

56. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu needs serious prayer against mourning and death.

57. I saw Niger Delta militants become so powerful and influential in government.

58. God is not happy with Nigerian government for handling power problem.

59. Lawyers will make so much money in 2015.

60. Chief E.K, Clark should pray, not a good year for him.

61. Great men of God to rise in Namibia, Ghana, Nigeria and Europe

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Kaduna Preaching Bill: Elrufai Asks Apostle That Said He Will Die To Mention The Date

Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, in an interview with select journalists including GODWIN ISENYO, speaks on the proposed religious preaching bill, face-off with trade unions, among others

How has it been since you assumed office?

I want to say it has been an interesting and successful journey and we are grateful to the Almighty God for His intervention in the state which led to our election. I know we got elected because the majority of the people of the state wanted a change as the way things were going was not acceptable to them and that was why they all came out to vote for us. We are very grateful.

I never expected that running a state would be very different from being a federal minister. I thought that running a state would be the same as running the Federal Capital Territory but I was wrong on that. I have seen that things are quite different and more complex.

One of the challenges we are facing in this state is that everything seems to be politicised or “ethnicised” or “religionised”. A very simple problem that can be discussed and resolved by logic and facts becomes converted into issues of ethnicity and religion and so on. Thus, these are some of the challenges we have to face but we are doing the best we can.

As far as governance is concerned, we have addressed frankly what we felt were the issues; first low revenues. In the first month we got here, we got about N5bn from Federal Allocation but in the last two months, we got N2.8bn each. Thus, even from the time we started to now, there have been massive changes, but we are taking steps. We knew that all things are scanty and we need to do some things. That is why, from day one, the deputy governor and I have decided to give 50 per cent of our salaries as our contribution because we are going to ask public servants to make similar sacrifice.

We also reduced the size of government; the number of commissioners has been reduced from 24 to 13. It was all in an effort to cut cost. We inherited 38 Permanent Secretaries, but now we are operating with about 18 of them. We are looking at Ministries, Departments and Agencies that have similar functions and merging them just to cut cost. This is because if your revenues are collapsing, you need to cut your cost. We are reducing the length of convoys; the governor’s convoy had 21 vehicles, but now, we only have five or six cars that go out with me and they are all essential. I don’t go out with the ambulance because I don’t expect to drop dead anytime. This is all in the bid to reduce the cost of running the government.

In some states, the battle of salary alone has incapacitated the government. But in this state, we pay salaries. Yes, there are issues, but on the whole, we have done pretty well.

Education is an area we want to revive. We inherited 4,225 primary schools in Kaduna state. We were told that 1.2 million pupils were sitting on the floor; we saw that virtually all the 4,225 primary schools had no windows, doors and seats in their classrooms. No toilets and roof. We found out that pupils had to go to the bush when they were pressed, girls could not come to school when they were menstruating because there was no water. We had to take school as a priority and we started working by renovating them. In some classrooms, we had 200 pupils for classrooms that were built to accommodate 40 pupils. We can’t do anything immediately because we can’t build classrooms overnight but we are serious about correcting it. We need to make our children like going to school and that is more important than anything. And we said one of the things that this administration wants to do is to eliminate the almajiri system in Kaduna State.

What measures are you employing?

The first thing is to ensure that there is an incentive for children to go to school and that is the logic behind the school feeding programme. We want children to go to school and look forward to something. Secondly, the first 100 months of a child’s development is when his brain develops, when he has adequate nutrition. So, there is also the nutritional aspect to it. Thirdly, we decided that we wanted to take the burden of giving the children pocket money every day off the parents. We could not start it immediately because we had to do a lot of planning to minimise the problems. Then, we said we would fix the existing classrooms as they were those were the doors, windows, roofs and what have you.

Another thing we want to do is to improve teachers’ quality. We got a report that 38-42 per cent of our teachers are not qualified to teach and we can’t throw them out overnight. We want to give them a period to train and upgrade their skills but we intend to have good teachers in our primary and secondary schools.

We are making progress on all fronts. In our boarding secondary schools, we have enhanced money for their feeding so that they can get better quality food and we conducted an experiment of taking out the feeding from the hands of the principals and contracting it out to restaurants and caterers. This is because when you give the principal the money, you are making the principal a cook. He has to go and organise food from the market and that is not his job. Using Queen Amina College as an example of where we have started, the students are so happy because the quality of food has improved. We are spending N180 per day on each student. We are even looking at improving that if our finances increase.

We are taking steps to block loopholes in salary payment by requesting every employee of the state to open an account with a Deposit Money Bank so that they can have a Bank Verification Number. You cannot cheat on the BVN and that is the final thing that we are doing and I am very grateful to the public servants of Kaduna State for their patience because they have gone through this over and over again. After all this verification and the real staff have been separated from the ghost workers, the people in account and personnel will remove the real staff and put back the ghost workers again just to cause confusion. It is a continuous battle because those that created these ghost workers are beneficiaries of huge amounts of money every month.

Why the persistence on the issue of salaries?

We have had issues with payment of salaries not because we don’t have the money like other states, but because of arrangement issues.  People in the system have been sabotaging our efforts. I don’t want to go into details but we have set strategies to deal with that. Another area we have a big problem with, is the local government payroll. Their records are much worse. We sorted out the state’s much earlier because those people that complained that they had not been paid salaries were mostly teachers and local government employees.

We are focusing now on the local government. We are doing a census of teachers so that we can know for sure who our teachers are. We are deploying technology to know if the teachers come to school or not. By God’s grace, before the end of the year, many of these issues will be sorted out and things will begin to work better. One thing that we know for sure is that we need to employ more teachers.

Is there a time limit to the ongoing verification exercise of workers?

The reason why I don’t want to say when it will end is practical. First of all, as an employer, you need to check the numbers of your employees from time to time and it is normal. It does not mean that after this verification exercise, we will stop or not do it again. Our hope is that the verification will uncover all the loopholes. We are dealing with crooks and staunch criminals that don’t want to give up the revenue from the ghost workers. So as we block one area of abuse, they open another.

 

 Last week, the Trade Union Congress and the Nigerian Labour Congress expressed worry over a form that was designed by the state government asking workers whether they intend to be members  of the unions or not. Why did you decide to make unionism optional in Kaduna State?

When we came into office, I wasn’t paid for three months. When I finally got an alert of three months’ salary, I asked a very simple question, ‘Thank you for the pay, but where is my payslip, since it is normal to have a payslip that will show you your basic salary and allowances, deductions for tax and any loan and so on?’ It took about three to four months before the Accountant General could organise our payslips. Thus, because of the absence of payslips, if the money they paid a worker last month was higher or lower than that of this month, then there was no explanation for it and there would be problems.

A worker complained that N2,000 was deducted as union dues from his salary. Imagine if all workers had such complaints; we have 87,000 employees in the state and local governments. It is a lot of money when you multiply N2000 by 87,000; you will have almost N170m. We called the unions and asked why the deduction and they told us that it was automatic. In fact, I asked why the government should be collecting check-off dues for trade unions? Do we charge them fee for collections? Thus we asked the Attorney General to go and check the law and give us an opinion. She came back and said it was compulsory for every employer to deduct union dues and remit to the union; as was the law. But she went on to say that the membership of the trade union was not automatic but voluntary. We then invited the trade unions and informed them that we would not be deducting the money of our staff until we know those who were members of the union and those that were not.

Personally, I would support trade unions. However, the law is clear; you have to legally declare that you are a member before we can deduct your money. That was how our argument with the TUC and the NLC started.

There is always a need to have a boundary between the union and the government. These are some of the things we are battling with. It is not that we are against the unions, but we are just doing the right thing. The unions are very supportive of us. Throughout the verification exercise, they stood by us and we appreciate that but that does not mean we should do what is unlawful or what is wrong. We met with them when they complained about this. They said the law made membership of the union  compulsory. We asked them to write us and quote the section of the law that said that and they never came back.  I think when they checked, they discovered that the Attorney General was right.

This is the basis on which we said that in the final verification exercise, we would have a box and ask workers to tick the box if they were members of any trade union or not.

After we printed the forms, the unions sent in their representatives who asked why we did not make it a negative question. Something like, ‘tick the box if you don’t want to be a member of trade union.’ I would have been happy to do it but we had already printed a hundred thousand forms and they had cost us a few millions. My point is that we try to accommodate everybody in the framework of the law.

How do issues get political and ethnic colouration in your state?

This is something I find both disturbing and disappointing. In any argument and situation, if you have your facts and you are right, you don’t need to refer to religion. Religion doesn’t win arguments for you. What I have found in life is that the moment a person introduces religion in any situation, I know they are wrong because if you are right, have facts and can justify your position, why bring God into it? God will judge us on the day of judgment. People only revert to religion and ethnicity when they have run out of convincing arguments. What I find in Kaduna State is that people can bring religion into everything. I think more than any state in Nigeria, Kaduna state has suffered more in terms of religious and ethnic divisions and that should be a lesson for us but what I found out is that the elite have one weapon and that is religion and it is sad. But, unfortunately for them they have not studied me. If anyone has studied my career at the FCT, they would know that playing the religious card with me will fail all the time, because the moment you play that card, I know you are an adversary that needs to be put down and I will not look back until I am done with you.

One of your policies that has generated a lot of controversy is the religious preaching bill. What does the government want to achieve when it becomes law and how are you going to tackle the anxiety that it has generated among the people?

Kaduna State, more than any state in Nigeria, if you take out the Yobe, Borno and Adamawa axis,  which suffered from Boko Haram insurgency, has suffered the most from death and destruction of property due to misuse and abuse of religion. More people have been killed in Kaduna from the words that people have said. And if you go back in history to when the Maitasine incident happened; he was a Cameroonian that came to Nigeria and started preaching. The Emir of Kano had him deported back to Cameroon. After that, he managed to smuggle himself back again and continued preaching. He was preaching a version of Islam that was intolerant, a version that called other Muslims pagans and so on. But in spite of what he was preaching, he acquired followers and we all know what happened. Military operation had to be mounted to flush them out. Those that escaped from the Maitasine crisis moved to Borno State and started the Kalakato sect, which again led to many deaths and destruction in the early 1990s. All these came from people that were not trained in religious matters, people that woke up and started preaching and acquiring followers and inevitably their sects grew in large numbers to threaten communities and there were clashes.

That was also how Muhammed Yusuf started. He was a student of Sheik Jaafar Adam in Kano. They fell out because Jaafar felt that some of the views he was expressing were extreme and intolerant. He went and started his own sect and we all know what happened and we are still dealing with it.

Thus, when you have such things happening in your country, I think as leaders, we have to sit down and examine ourselves and the society and see what  we can do to prevent it.

In my opinion, it is the lack of regulation of religion that led to all these circles of death and destruction. Just recently, we had the Shi’ite problem in Zaria, following a similar pattern.

I believe that before you start preaching in any religion, you should have gone through a system of education, training and some kind of certification. Even those that deal with the physical life get certified, let alone those that deal with the spiritual life. We initiated this bill from the Kaduna State Security Council, based on reports of new sects emerging in Kaduna State.

Are there recent cases?

There is one around Makarfi called Gausiyya, they do their Zuhr prayer around 11am, different from other Muslims. This is how this thing starts and if you don’t resolve it quickly, it grows into something else.

A woman in Makarfi said Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was speaking to her and sick people started going to her for their healing. The husband of this woman was busy collecting N1,000 as consultancy fee before people could see his wife. We had to take steps to end that movement because before you know it, people would start coming from far and wide and this woman would become our next problem.

It was the report of two or three of these that compelled us in the security council to ask the question, whether or not there was a law that regulates preaching. Then we were told there was a law; since 1984 after the Maitasine problems, the administration   passed the law. It was subsequently amended several times to increase the fine and the imprisonment term. This is a living problem and we know it. Christian priests, the ones I know, go to seminary and spend so many years there, study under a more experienced Reverend to learn what to say and what not to say.

Religious leaders don’t preach hatred; they preach peace, tolerance and love. But today in my religion of Islam, anybody can wake up and start a sect; there is no control. In those days, from Islamiyya School, if you chose that line, you needed to study more books. After that, you would go to the East (Borno area) for more studies and training. Then from there, you would go to a mosque and begin to call people to prayer before you become an imam in any mosque. Before you became an imam of a Friday mosque, the community must agree that you were well learned and competent. But now, everyone can build a mosque, put up loudspeakers, call himself an imam and start disturbing people at night.

A priest that has gone through thorough teachings and training would not go and ask people to cause trouble and kill each other. They are trained men of God. In Christendom today, we all know that some people would drink something overnight and wake up the next day and claim they are apostles, that God had spoken to them. You could not disproof that because you were not there with him and he would start to collect followers. When he begins to preach hatred, what can you do? Is it the society we want? This is the question. The logic behind this law is to strengthen the 1984 laws so as to regulate and ensure that those that are given the opportunity to preach at least know what they are doing, they have a level of responsibility to develop the society rather than divide it. This is our goal; we don’t have anything against any religion or anybody.

What about freedom of religion?

Some people have argued that there is freedom of religion, of course; Section 38 is very clear: We must not have a state religion, every Nigerian is allowed to practise their faith or even if they  do not have any religion  at all. However, those that are quoting Section 38 of the constitution conveniently forget Section 45 which says that you can regulate any human right if it would affect the right of others. You can practise your religion but you can’t do it in a way that abuses the right of another. There is nothing in this law that is not in conformity with the constitution, or there is nothing new about it other than expanding the scope and after we sent the bill to the House of Assembly, I saw an article that alerted us of what we did not include: Blocking of federal highways, but that is in the Penal Code. It is good to have put it there because every Friday you see most mosques blocking roads. Why? We had to call them to a meeting to have a system that police would be there to guard and also control the traffic. In my opinion, this is a law that we need not only in Kaduna State but almost all states in Nigeria and I want to assure you that, I just came back from the National Economic Council meeting, and a handful of the governors asked me to send them our own law because they thought they also needed it in their state. Everybody is watching to see how we will handle our own. We sent it to the state assembly in October 2015 because some people are saying we sent it because of the Shi’ite problem. No! It was the state assembly that kept on looking at it and saying this one ‘na hot potato’ until now. But, on a very serious note, we don’t have any ulterior motive other than to put a framework that would ensure that Kaduna State people live in peace with everyone practising their religion and disallowing every Tom, Dick and Harry to come and say he can preach.

What will be the major role of the government in this?

We do not regulate as such, we have formed two committees that would issue the licence. It is not the government that will issue the licence. It is a committee of Christian umbrella bodies and Muslim umbrella bodies. We will just have an inter-ministerial committee to be checking once in a while and be keeping records because we want to know who is preaching here and who is doing what there. For us, the reaction was just disproportionate and many of the people that are talking about the law have never even read it. If you read that law, it is very short; it is 16 sections. I tell people who disagree with the bill to read it and tell me what they don’t like about it. Don’t tell me you don’t like the entire law because we know we have a problem and I am the governor and I need a solution. Don’t say the solution is not to have the law; we need the law but tell me what you don’t like, then we can discuss it. We want to find a solution that brings peace. We are not fixed in our position, what we are fixed about is that Kaduna State people must live in peace and everyone must be allowed to practise their religion without hindrance. We took an oath of office to do that. Apart from that, every other thing can be discussed. Are you telling me it is okay for someone to put up speakers in the night and start making a noise, be it Islam or Christianity, disturbing people? Is that okay? Which chapter in the two holy books says that Jesus or Muhammad (SAW) did that. Are we not trying to copy them? Are they not the perfections of both our religions? Jesus said, ‘Give to God what is God’s and to Caesar what is Caesar’s.’ Government is the Caesar.

We have informed the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Jama’atu Nasril Islam that if they have problems with any section, if there is anything to be done, and if they don’t want the government to be involved, we will remove it, but they must regulate.

What is your take on the assumption by some in the state that hold that the bill is aimed at stopping the practice of Christianity and Islam in the state?

I have not seen anyone talking about Islam actually. Most of the people that say I would die, as if I would not die, are people who call themselves Christian clergy. Of course, I will die. If that apostle is truly an apostle, he should mention the day I will die. There is nothing in that law that prevents or infringes the practice of religion. It seeks to ensure that those that preach religion are qualified, trained and certified by their peers to do it. And some sections of the media have made it as if the law was drafted against Christianity. It is most irresponsible and I have nothing to say except to leave the matter to God.

Source: Punch

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El-Rufai Denies Walking Out On Osinbajo, Slapping His Deputy

The Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, has debunked claims in a section of the media that he walked out on the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, when he tried to reach an understanding with him on a particular matter.

Speaking with some journalists at the Government House in Kaduna, on Tuesday, the Governor maintained that his relationship with the Vice-President was excellent, insisting that there was never a time he walked out on him. He attributed the speculation to his political detractors.

Noting that the authors of such stories were mischievous, he said: “I have never attended a meeting where the President and the Vice-President were all in the same room.

“I think the only time where the President and the Vice-president were around and I was in attendance was when the National Economic Council, NEC, was inaugurated by Mr President. He (president) came and delivered his address and left.”

El-Rufai equally denied reports that he exchanged slaps with his deputy, Barnabas Bala, saying he had known the deputy governor since 1976 and had never argued with him.

“We think alike and act alike. We are going on well; I think I did not make him like a spare tyre. If I am leaving the state, I write to the state assembly that he will be acting. He chairs the Executive Council meetings as well as the Security Council meeting. I was told this has never happened in Kaduna before and some people are not comfortable with that,” he said.

While clearing the air on the much-maligned religious bill, the Governor said it was sent to the state House of Assembly since October 15, 2015, adding that it was not a new bill as being speculated.

According to him, “It was first enacted in 1984 during the term of Air Vice Marshal Usman Mua’zu (retd) after the Maitsine uprising in 1982. The then military junta saw the need to regulate preaching in some states in the North.

“Many states are ready to do similar thing now. They have asked for the copy of our bill. I will not name the states.”

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Elrufai Reconstitute 23 LGA Chairmen, Hunkuyi, Others Reappointed

To uphold Democratic tenets and stay true to his Democratic principles, Governor Mal. Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai has reconstituted the 23 LGA IMC Chairmen in the State.

The IMC Chairmen that Served for Six Months were appointed on the 7th July, 2015 and dissolved on the 6th Jan, 2016.

The Governor Added to his Sterling Performance in the Provision Infrastructure in the Areas of Education, Health and Urban Development within a record period of Less than a Year in Office.

His Excellency’s Exemplary Leadership style was more evident in the manner the 23 LGA IMC Chairmen are reshuffled based on records and performances as against the usual out-right re-instatements.

In a fiat manner, only 13 out of 23 LGA IMC Chairmen with clear Performance, Vision and Mission are returned to office for another six months.

Those reappointed include Hon. Dr. Katuka Bege of Jema’a, Hon. Yahaya Shinko of Kaduna South LGAs, and Hon. Dauda Iliya Abba of Kudan LGA who happens to be the youngest among the IMC Chairmen

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The Law Against Preaching, El-Rufai, The Constitution And The Hosanna

One of the issues on the burner of public discourse is the proposed law by the Governor of Kaduna State through an Executive Bill entitled: “A Bill for a Law to Substitute the Kaduna State Religious Preaching Law, 1984” to the Kaduna State House of Assembly for its consideration and passage into Law. The Bill is now at its Committee Stage awaiting public hearing and final presentation for its Third Reading.

As usual I didn’t want to comment on this until I got my hand on the Bill. I’m very careful not to write on legal issues without first getting my facts straight, moreso when it relates to religion. A commentator who is not careful can find himself getting drowned in the cesspool of hot emotions bereft of facts. I have seen the Bill. And I have also x-rayed the logos and the potential rhema of this Bill.

Let’s not beat around the bush on this bill. Let’s subject some of its sections to constitutional scrutiny and see if it will come out legally healthy.  Section 4 of this 15 sections bill establishes the Committee of Jama’atu Nasir Islam (JNI) for the Muslims and the Committee of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for the Christians and their respective composition. A third body known as the Inter-faith Ministerial Committee was also established to exercise supervisory control over the JNI and CAN Committees.

I submit without any equivocation that section 4 of the proposed law is arrogant and a direct affront on section 10 of the 1999 Constitution as amended. The said section of the constitution prohibits state religion in the following words: “The Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion.” Section 4 of the proposed law contravenes section 10 of the constitution by making Islam and Christianity Kaduna State religion.

By establishing committees of these two religions, the proposed law is ordaining the assumption that Islam and Christianity are the only religions in Kaduna state and ipso facto the Kaduna State religions. This section, to the extent of its inconsistencies with section 10 of the 1999 Constitution, should be null and void.

Section 5 of the proposed law empowers the JNI and CAN Committees to issue licenses approved by the Ministerial Committee which shall not exceed one (1) year to preachers; and a sponsored external preacher shall be issued a permit for the period of the event that brought him to the State. I wonder if the drafter of this section is aware of section 38(1) of the 1999 constitution as amended.

Section 38(1) of the 1999 Constitution states that “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.” Please highlight this section, we will come back to it several times.

Section 9 of the proposed Kaduna State Law restricts the playing of all cassettes, CDs, flash drives or any other communication gadgets containing religious recordings from accredited preachers to the following places only: inside one’s house; inside entrance porch; inside the Church; inside the Mosque; and any other designated place of worship.

Section 10 of the proposed law prohibits the use of any cassette containing religious recording in which abusive language is used against any person or religious organization or religious leaders (past or present).

Section 12 of the proposed law makes it an offence for any person who preaches without a license; plays a religious cassette or uses a loud speaker for religious purposes after 8pm in public places; uses a loud speaker for religious purposes other than inside a Mosque or Church and the surrounding area outside the stipulated prayer times; abuses religious books; incites disturbances of the public peace; abuses or uses any derogatory term in describing any religion; or carries weapons of any description whether concealed or not in places of worship or to any other place with a view to causing religious disturbance.

Any good one finds in the above sections of the proposed law is merely cosmetic and designed to hide the venomous nature of this law. This law is suspicious. When you first hear of a law of this nature, your initial expectation will be that it will seek to regulate the nuisance citizens suffer as a result of others exercising their rights of freedom of worship. But even a cursory look at the sections of the law shows clearly that its main thrust is to regulate proselytization.

It is pertinent to point out here and now, that no Fundamental Human Right is absolute. So we can’t adumbrate on the Fundamental Human Rights sections of the 1999 constitution as amended without shedding our beam light on section 45 of the said constitution. Section 45 states that: “(1) Nothing in sections 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41 of this Constitution shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society- (a) in the interest of defense, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or (b) for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other persons.”

So here comes the big question. Can the proposed Kaduna State Preaching Law be said to be reasonable justifiable in a democratic society? Can the said law be said to be in the interest of defense, public safety, public order, public morality or public health? Or can it be said to be for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other persons? I submit that the answer is a resounding no. And I challenge anyone who believes otherwise to show me one section of the Bill that substantiates his belief.

No section of the proposed law passed the test of section 45 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended. No section of the Bill is in the interest of defense, public safety, public morality, public order or public health. The Bill is rather a megalomaniac effort to control the exercise of the Fundamental Right of Freedom of worship.

Why is the license valid for a year? Why is it left as a subjective matter to the people issuing the license? Why is it wrong to play the religious CDs inside ones car? So TD Jakes, Benny Hinn, an Imam from Saudi Arabia or David Oyedepo need to travel to Kaduna to get a license before their Tapes and CD’s can be played in the car of someone in Kaduna? Is this not clearly aimed at curtailing evangelism rather than regulating public order?

No section of the Bill is talking about regulating the volume of noise emanating from worship places but rather there are several sections talking about where and when and how not to worship. If you say don’t play CDs or loudspeakers loudly in worship places to disturb other persons then you will be within the contemplation of section 45 of the Constitution but just talking about where, when and how not to worship is clearly in contravention of section 38 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

The major complaints about places of worship is basically the noise, the disturbance to the average citizen, why didn’t the Bill address the noise coming out, instead the Bill is more interested in where it should be permitted.  If civil societies are at liberty to protest and associate, why is it wrong for religious bodies to gather peacefully in a public place and make their views known? Is this an indirect target of a particular faith that speak with the public more?

One will argue that religion is fast becoming a fertile ground to commit crimes and thus needs stringent regulations. I agree to the extent that many persons are indeed using religion as a cover to commit hideous crimes but our extant laws are adequate to deal with such persons. Recently the Supreme Court affirmed the sentence of death for murder on one Rev King. We didn’t need a new law to fish out this criminal and sentence him accordingly.

Even the issues of blocking roads and using loudspeakers to disturb the free movement and peace of other citizens are issues that can be dealt with adequately within the framework of our extant laws. The point is not about enacting new laws. It is in engaging the legal system and demanding for our rights to be respected.

El Rufai and his horde of advisers are making moves to rape the very constitution they swore to protect. Or maybe he is giving in to the unspoken wish that assail all religious animals. That wish to see everyone call upon the name of God the way you want them to. The temptation is always great to use every power within one’s disposal to make this wish come true.

History is replete with mortals who have failed in this bid. Even Jesus and Prophet Mohammed couldn’t convert the whole world. Men have used pedagogy and still failed. Others have used force and still failed. It will remain a burning desire in our hearts to always try but we will always fail. No matter what your Imam or pastor tells you, the day will never come when everyone on earth will be a Muslim or Christian.

And as for those who are toying with the unworkable idea of using the instruments and apparatuses of democracy to curtail the exercise of religious freedom, know that you will fail. Religion does not bow in the face of force or violence, it flourishes.

 

This is our Hosanna.

 

First Baba Isa (FBI) is a Legal Practitioner and writes from Abuja

07037162029

meandisa@gmail.com

52F84BE5

@firstbabaisa

 

 

Editor: Opinion expressed on this page are strictly those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of abusidiqu.com and its associates

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El-Rufai Thinking Of Removing Buhari – Shehu Sani

Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai has been accused of “thinking of removing President Muhammadu Buhari.”

In an explosive interview in the March edition of The Interviewmagazine, Sani said, “It would be counter-productive for the governor to start thinking of evicting Buhari in 2019 to be the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“El-Rufai should do his job and stop putting his eyes on the Presidency.”

The senator represents Kaduna Central and is in the same ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) with the Governor.

The two have been at odds for undisclosed political reasons, a sitiation which led to Sani’s suspension by the state branch of the party.

Sani had accused el-Rufai of ruling like “an emperor,” promising to “give him war or peace,” whichever he chooses.

Also in this edition of The Interview, former military governor of Kaduna State, Colonel Dangiwa Umar, gave his first major interview in 23 years in which he laid in on Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)chieftains, Chief Edwin Clark and Chief Tony Anenih, calling them “traitors.”

Responding to a question on the fortunes of former President Goodluck Jonathan after he was defeated in March, Umar said: “I compare them (Oshiomhole and co) to insects that cling to flowers. They are attracted by the nectar rather than by the beauty of the flower.

“Governor Adams Oshiomohle, who generously praised Jonathan as a true democrat, suddenly turned into his most virulent critic.”

Umar revealed that during Jonathan’s days as acting president, he advised Jonathan to sack his service chiefs, but the former president was too confused and agitated to act.

“He complained that the NSA had informed him that the service chiefs were disgruntled with the way the bedridden Umaru Yar’Adua was being treated and that he, the acting president, was most disloyal.”

In the edition, which the MD/ Editor-In-Chief of The Interview, Azu Ishiekwene, described as “deep and loaded,” Umar also revisited his role in the June 12 crisis, the agitation for Biafra and his relationship with Jonathan.

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El’Rufai: Revolutionizing the Education Sector and Bulldozing the Kaduna Mafia, By Haruna Mohammed Salisu

Since the emergence of Mallam Nasiru El’Rufa’i as the Governor of Kaduna state, it was not difficult for many political pundits, spectators, journalists and writers to predict that the Governor may likely replicate what he did when he was a minister during President Obasanjo’s administration—demolition of illegal structures.

Unarguably, what is difficult among politicians in Nigeria is a strong zeal and enthusiasm to take decisive decisions unmindful of whose interest they will go against provided they are taking in the best interest of the general public. Such decisions are not hard to take by Governor El’Rufa’i whose political body language does not suggest fear or favour. But I shall return to this later.

Since assumption of office as the Governor of northern Nigeria’s most elitist state, El’Rufa’i wasted no time in declaring a state of emergency in the education sector. In view of the sickening state of affairs in this sector which suffered neglect and ill-informed policies and lack of strong commitments by past administrations to boost the sector, the governor made a quick u-turn to turn the tide of things.

To kick the ball rolling, the Governor unveiled a 13.7 billion naira yearly education project for primary and secondary schools which include free tuition fees, free school feeding and uniforms coupled with rehabilitation of dilapidated structures. Despite heavy debt placed on the coffers of the state government which culminated to over N74.27 billion, recklessly “siphoned’ by the past administration, El’Rufa’i still found succor not to relent.

The Governor who nurtured a strong passion to improve the education sector believes that such a gesture will not only lay a foundation for development, but will also free humanity from bondage. “We are determined that one legacy for the rebirth of our country will be the restoration of education as a tool to free our people from the fetters of ignorance”, El’Rufa’i was quoted as saying when unveiling the package to reinvigorate the sector.

Indeed any sensible government whose interest is to develop its people will stop at nothing to improve its education, for; the popular minds believe that the bedrock of any meaningful development is education.

In my opinion, El’Rufai has characteristically chosen to boost the education sector for two reasons: first, the Governor is not only a beneficiary of education which liberated him from all forms of bondage and placed him where he is today, but is also a first class guru whose passion to see many of his likes among the masses is not far from being sighted. Secondly, the Governor knew too well that with education accorded priority, the economic, social and political malfeasances that have eaten deep into the fabrics of the state will be history and dubious politicians who see nothing wrong in hiring the uneducated disadvantaged youths as political thugs will have to make a rethink.

Despite the economic quagmire that has ravaged the country because of the dwindling prices of oil in the world market, which has impact on the monthly allocation from the federal government, coupled with entrenched culture of impunity and systemic corruption that looted the state dry, the governor still insists, such will not be an excuse not to discharge his responsibilities.

The apparent rendition of El’Rufa’i to boost the sector started with the introduction of school feeding which has so far redoubled school attendance among pupils in the state. Kaduna state is not only the pioneering state in this regard, but a serious minded one whose Governor has generated about 125, 000 jobs in nine months and the larger chunk of those employed are in the education sector. With reports from various national and international NGOs such as UNICEF suggesting that Nigeria has the highest out of school children in the world, El’Rufa’i’s resolve to revitalize education is not only timely but, commendable.

In his quest to achieve success, the Governor also pledged to distribute free customized tablets to enhance e-learning among secondary school students, as well as training and retraining of teachers has since been factored in.

To make all these policies a realization, Mr. ElRufai has demonstrated a strong commitment to hold any public official to ransom who is found wanting in diverting what is meant for the public to their private use. And so far, a school headmaster and support officer that were apprehended and relieved of their duties and suspending two other culprits for allegedly benefitting personally from the school feeding programme is a glaring demonstration of his cohesive approach to rekindle life back to the sector.

Demolition of illegal structures

To demonstrate his doggedness on the notoriously “untouched” Kaduna mafia—a composition of elites, business moguls and top civil servants who have grown fat at the detriment of the common folks, the fearless El’Rufa’i has since started what he was best known for as a minister—demolition of illegal structures.

The people’s Governor is strongly bent on his resolve not to renege his campaign promises, part of which was to fight the Kaduna mafia who illegally allocated hectares of land to themselves and their families.
What is unarguably unpardonable according to the Governor was how these mafias confiscated hectares of land which belong to schools supposedly meant for their expansion and development. El’Rufa’i who defied being “afflicted with a course” from the so called mafia is not only healthy and physically fit to fight back, but has turned his war fare on promoters of endemic corruption, entrenched culture of impunity and the mafia have since started reaping what they have sown.

And gradually with the help of the Almighty and the dysfunction of the mafia, the Governor is getting more grounded in his ambition to peep up the education sector and bulldoze the mafia simultaneously.

The momentum gathered so far is also translating in several other sectors too numerous to mention because of time and space, but this writer will keenly monitor developments in the state to keep readers abreast and to encourage other state Governors to emulate El’Rufai’s model of development.

Haruna Mohammed Salisu writes from Bauchi. He could be reached at 08063180608 or harunababale@gmail.com

 

Editor: Opinion expressed on this page are strictly those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of abusidiqu.com and its associates

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