Southern Kaduna Youths Blast El-Rufai Over Closed Schools


BY AMOS TAUNA, KADUNA –  The Southern Kaduna Youth and Students Forum (SKYSFOM) on Wednesday declared that the continued closure of tertiary institutions located in Kafanchan, Jemaá Local Government Area  by Governor Nasir El-Rufai is punitive,  vindictive and in bad omen.

A statement signed by the President and Secretary of the forum, Comrade Galadima Jesse and Comrade Ezekiel A. David and issued to newsmen in Kaduna on what took place between the members of the forum and the Directorate of Security Services (DSS), Kaduna, which led to their inability to hold a press conference,  said, “It is now looking very apparent that the resolve of this government to put our future in tatters is no longer in doubt, since it is gagging us from speaking about our persecution for the world to know.

“Yet the Coalition of Arewa Youths Groups, for three consecutive days addressed the press and threatened the Igbo with forceful eviction from Arewa  and the seizure of their assets by October 1, 2017 without any intervention by the police and the DSS.

“The venue and time of their press conferences and the youths who addressed the press on the national security threat, are all known to the police and the DSS. No move was made to stop them. For three days!

“To further buttress that in Kaduna state some people are above the law, when governor Nasir el-Rufai ordered the arrest and prosecution of the youths, they again held another press conference and rained abuses and insults on the executive governor as if he was just a mere APC spectator making a side comment that annoys them.

“To again prove that indeed, the present Kaduna state government has agreed that there are indeed sacred cows, the PRO of the Northern Elders Forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, addressed the press in Zaria and further made inciting comments against the Igbo. He said that his forum was in total agreement with the violent proposal of the Arewa Youths.

“The Professor who is a District Head under Zazzau emirate, and as such, under the pay role of Kaduna State government, is still working free.

“Today some Southern Kaduna persons who spoke against the killings going on in our land have been arrested and are facing prosecution in various courts of Kaduna state.

“We just want to point out that there is an affirmed hate and injustice against Southern Kaduna by the present government, while at the same time, the other side is free to break the law with impunity.

“This hate policy has extended to we students and higher  institutions of learning  in Southern Kaduna.
With the heavy presence of police bent on stopping the press conference, the Chairman of the NUJ met us and convinced us to go see the DSS in his company. His presence was enough assurance for our safety so went to see the DSS around 2pm.

“We wish to let you know that after the long meeting with the DSS, they said that we should not hold the press conference for security reasons. They said that they would table our case before the governor and that we would hear from them within a week.
We wondered when the DSS has taken over Kaduna State Ministry of Education, to the extent that Professor Andrew Nok, Kaduna State Commissioner of Education has been so sidelined.

“As patriots and stakeholders in the state, we agreed not to hold the press conference. After our meeting today, however, we  have decided to  issue this statement so that it would be put on record what happened.”

The forum noted that the suffering and frustration of the affected students was caused by the closures of their schools for onwards of 10 months under the pretence of ‘security concern’ by the government of Nasir el-Rufai.

“We had wanted to use the occasion to plead with Governor Nasir el-Rufai to re-open the schools since he has said that security and peace has been restored in Southern Kaduna through his various efforts.

“We also wanted to tell the world know that it would look like the closure of our schools was punitive, vindictive and in bad omen simply because our elders have condemned the killings in Southern Kaduna and had called on the government to more to protect us.

“We wanted to say that the closure could not have been out of goodwill because more vulnerable primary and secondary schools pupils have been attending schools in Kafanchan and environs even in the heat of the violence.

“But, to our shock, the Chairman of the NUJ, Malam Adamu called the next day (12th June, 2017) to say that armed Policemen have barricaded the premises of the NUJ, Kaduna office. That they came in Hilux vans. He told us that the DSS said we could not address you, without explaining to them why we wanted to speak to the Press.

“The Press Conference that was supposed to have taken place at the NUJ office on Muhammadu Buhari Way, Kaduna by 9am was rescheduled for 12:30pm. When we came by 12:30pm, we were sadly surprise the Police were still at the NUJ premises. They stopped us from entering.

“They were so armed and intimidating as if they were expecting to confront some notorious bandits or terrorists, – not harmless, poor, deprived students of Southern Kaduna.  We were really troubled by the development.

“That the premises of Journalists where everyone in the world can come  and express his fundamental right to freedom of speech could be so beseeched by heavily armed police because very ordinary students like us were coming for a press conference. Many members of the press must have also felt threatened because the place was almost empty of Journalists.

“But we are aware that politicians, activists, businessmen, the clergy and every person and group do come to the NUJ to brief the press.
We are indeed very surprise that a peaceful conference that will explain the plight of our members could be visited with such display of state power,” the students lamented.

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