Violence mars El-Rufa’i’s inauguration in Kaduna

Violence erupted yesterday at the Murtala Mohammed Square venue of the inauguration of Malam Nasir El-Rufa’i as the Kaduna state Governor. Scores of injured persons were rushed to the nearby Barau Dikko Hospital for medical attention. Trouble started at about 11 am after El-Rufa’i took the Oath Office and the Oath of Allegiance when some unidentified youths started throwing missiles at the VIP stand, directed essentially at the Emir of Zazzau, Dr. Shehu Idris.

Elrufai-innaugural“Bring down the Emir so that we’ll kill him,” a cross section of the protesters demanded even as they engaged securitymen in physical combat. The development forced El-Rufa’i to abandon his post-inauguration address midway when the podium gave way as the chaos intensified, overwhelming the security personnel.

A stray missile, sachet of “pure water,” exploded on the face of the Chief Judge of Kaduna state, Justice Tanimu Kelani, who administered the oaths on El-Rufa’i even as security evacuated the Governor and other dignatories from the VIP stand. Journalists covering the programme were not spared either as some of them escaped with varying degrees of bruises and their equipment smashed.

“It was a bad outing for us,” Tesem Akende, a TVC correspondent said. According to him, “they attacked the TVC crew which I lead and our gadgets were broken. “Some of my crew are being taken to the hospital as I speak with you.” “What you saw would have been worse if Mukhtar Ramalan Yero (immediate past governor) was here,” a youth who identified himself as Musa said, adding that, “we wanted to also deal with him.”

Reports said that the attack on the Emir may not be unconnected with his alleged partisanship posture during the electioneering campaigns. Some of the reports claimed that the Emir openly canvassed support for Yero who also holds the traditional title of Dallatun Zazzau. Incidentally, El-Rufa’i and Yero hail from Zaria. Before he was interrupted, El-Rufa’i had described Kaduna as being in a difficult situation.

According to him, “as soon as we have all the facts in the coming weeks, we shall lay bare to you just how deep a hole we have dug ourselves in the past several years. “But this much we already know. Our finances are in shambles. Kaduna is the second most indebted state in our country. “Our state is staggering under the weight of billions of naira in debt and other liabilities.

“As we all know, merely by walking the streets or seeing our neighbors everyday, the state of our state is abysmal. “Our schools and hospitals, our roads and bridges, our villages, townsand cities, all are marks of backwardness. “Too many of our children are hungry and in rags and on the streets. Our society is divided along religious and ethnic lines.

“Worse still, our state cannot stand on its own feet. We have become a state of beggars, a condition of dependency that is an affront to our dignity and our humanity. “The fact is that today Kaduna State cannot meet its obligations without handouts from the Federal Government. “We cannot comfortably pay salaries of our teachers and nurses and civil servants.”


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