Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, led a large delegation from Kano including newly elected Alhassan Ado-Doguwa as well as the newly elected All Progressives Congress (APC) legislators and elders on a courtesy visit to President Muhammadu Buhari. At the end of the visit, he spoke on why the state is the safest in terms of insecurity challenges, what he did to address the farmers/herders clashes, how he is addressing the almajiri issue as well as what will end his rift with Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
What is the purpose of your visit to President Buhari?
We are here in order to thank Mr. President for the good governance in our country Nigeria. And we are here to thank him for the development of Kano State, especially in terms of infrastructure being provided. We are here also to thank him for the peaceful election that took place on January 21, 2020, for which APC won almost all the seats. We are here to inform him about the peace and stability in Kano. Kano State as of today is the most peaceful state in the country. No armed robbery, no banditry, no tribal conflicts, no religious conflicts, even in the few cases of kidnapping, the kingpins are being arrested in Kano. You will recall that those who attacked the deputy governor of Nasarawa State were arrested in Kano. Even the kidnapping of Alhaji Musa Umar Daura, the Magajin Garin Daura for almost two months, the men behind it were arrested in Kano.
We have introduced ICT into security administration in the state; that is why we are succeeding. We have full cooperation among the security agencies and Kano is providing a heavenly environment for the security agencies, especially in terms of community policing. Also, we have succeeded in establishing a very powerful command and control center where all security agencies and their representatives do communicate with one another. And from that center, security agencies are able to communicate with all the DPOs in all the 44 local government areas in the state. Also from Falgore Forest, which is one of the biggest in the country, in other to deny bandits from occupying that forest, we are constructing an army training area for which we are spending about N500 million, providing facilities, dormitory, recreational areas, shooting range and others so that, that forest cannot be occupied by criminals.
We have been able to solve the problem of herdsmen, farmers clash; we prevented the migration of herdsmen from Kano to other parts of the country, we are building herdsmen settlement for which we are providing an earth dam, industrial boreholes, building housing units, veterinary clinics, market cattle and market for milk and so many others. School systems – primary and secondary schools, all what is required as essential services for the herdsmen are being provided.
Also, we have to thank Mr. President for infrastructural facilities especially the gas pipeline that is starting from Ajaokuta to Kaduna to Kano, about 164 kilometers. We have to thank him for the total reconstruction of Kano-Kaduna-Abuja dual carriage road. We have to thank him for the heavy gauge rail-line from Kaduna to Kano and then from Kaduna to Niger Republic. We have to thank him for the dualisation of Katsina-Kano road, Kano-Dahi road in Kaduna State, where work will soon start.
The expansion of Aminu Kano International Airport, the new wing has been established and equipped and we thank him for giving approval for Emirate airline to fly Kano to Dubai; that is very important for the development of the state.
Also, we came to inform Mr. President about our new policy on education, that education in Kano State is now free, compulsory from basic to secondary school. We informed him that we are integrating the Almajiri system into the modern system or learning. We also informed him on how we are providing teachers to Almajiri schools, providing free meals to all primary schools, paying school fees of all secondary school students that parents were supposed to pay, providing free uniforms to all our primary schools’ children and all other things that make free and compulsory education. We have also recruited 600 teachers to teach mathematics and English as well as 3,000 teachers for Almajiri schools that will be incorporated into the normal school system.
We also made some requests. We need assistance on free and compulsory education, especially the integration of Almajiri. We also requested for the completion of Greater Kano River Irrigation Scheme; we requested for the establishment of a Federal Medical Centre; and de-silting of the 24 dams in the State.
What will it take to reconcile you with Emir of Kano and bring the rift between you to an end? We can see that he is not among your delegation despite the high powered committee set to reconcile your differences?
You asked so many intertwined questions. Let me start with the first one, we have five first class Emirates in Kano State and the Emir of Bichi is from one of the Emirates. I cannot come with the whole five Emirates at the same time. Yes, there is the Northern Elders Committee on the misunderstanding between the Emir of Kano and Kano State government. We met with that committee and dialoguing is still on. That is all I can say. It is a constitutional issue and the governor and the Emir, we are working within our own jurisdiction and the problem will be solved amicably and constitutionally.
What are you doing to reduce the number of out of school children which Kano State happens to have one of the highest in the country?
We have taken census of out of school children and the figure has drastically dropped because of free education in the state. We used to have One Million out-of-school children but now we are down to about 400,000. We have their names, addresses and the names of their guardians/parents. So we are making arrangements to make sure all of them are enrolled in school. We have the data now for the integration of the Almajari into the school system, some are 2,000, others are 3,000, instead of putting them into the normal school system, we are providing teachers (in mathematics and English) for them. These two subjects (mathematics and English) are the most important in the common entrance examination. So that is how we intend to complete the integration of Almajiri system into modern system of education. They will have the opportunity to take the common entrance examination before coming into the mainstream of western type of education.
Is your government ready to key into the SHEGE KA FASA security outfit of the North like that of Amotekun?
Thank you very much. I hope you know the meaning of SHEGE KA FASA? You see, each state has got its own style of administering security. Kano State being the most peaceful state in the federation, I have just explained how we managed to do that. Very soon, we are going to have a community security summit, that is how the communities are going to assist security agencies. We are going to come out with a blueprint. Instead of recruiting people into the police force, we are going to build a strong synergy between the communities and the security agencies. The synergy will be from the ward level to local government level to state level to zonal level. It will work because it’s been working. So, there is no intention to recruit into security agencies in the state and moreover we have introduced ICT into the security operations in the state. And like I said earlier, we have built a command and control center where we can communicate with all the DPOs in the state. We can see them, speak with them through the cameras, CCTV has been installed in black spots throughout the state, we have been monitoring and it is working. We have also installed the most powerful vehicle tracker in the country, which operates even beyond Kano State. That is why Kano State is a trap where kidnappers can be arrested.
What are you doing to curtail the menace of drug abuse in the state?
For drug abuse, we are establishing an agency to work with the Federal Government agencies in order to control the menace. Also, we have a rehabilitation center where we take some of them who are really addicted to rehabilitate, teach them some skills and reintegrate them back into society. Kano before used to be number one in terms of drug abuse but today we have dropped to fourth or fifth position in the country, So, really by establishing this agency the menace will be curtailed. You know drug abuse is an international problem.
You asked for the Federal Government’s assistance in education, in what way do you want that?
Of course, when you are talking about the integration of almajiri system, we need more instructional materials, we need to rehabilitate our schools, classrooms and we need to build more classrooms because, more children are being brought into the system. That is the kind of assistance we are looking to get from the Federal Government.
Do you have specific policies towards girl-child education?
For girl-child education, since we made education to be compulsory from basic to secondary school, you know that we will not allow girls to roam about selling items along the streets and filling stations. All girl-child must be in school and by implication, early marriage is being curtailed because they have to finish secondary school before they get that opportunity (marriage). That also in a way is checking over population which is a big problem in Nigeria.