Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has revealed that there was a plan to attack and kill bandits who abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka.
The governor disclosed that before this could be done, the bandits hurriedly changed location which led to the students spending over a month in captivity.
Speaking on Thursday during a webinar organised by the Africa Leadership Group, El-Rufai said when the students were abducted, the plan was to attack and kill the bandits even if it meant some students would die in the process.
El-Rufai noted that the death of the student would only be considered as collateral damage, a price he would be willing to pay instead of paying ransom.
He said, “Two days after the abduction of the Afaka young people, I was assured by the air force and the army that they knew where the kidnappers were with the students and they had encircled (them).
“We were going to attack them. We would lose a few students but we would kill all the bandits and we would recover some of the students. That was our plan. That was the plan of the air force and the army… But they slipped through the cordon of the army. That is why they were not attacked.
“We know it is risky, we know in the process we may lose some of the abductees but it is a price we have to pay. This is war, there will always be collateral damage in war and we will rather do that than pay money because paying money has not solved the problem anywhere in the world.”
El-Rufai admitted that he had “lost weight” over the insecurity in Kaduna State which was giving him sleepless nights.
The governor, however, claimed that insecurity in Kaduna was not as bad as Niger, Katsina, and Zamfara but the media only focused attention on his state because it fitted into their narrative of ethnic clashes.
El-Rufai said in Katsina and Niger states, entire villages were sacked by bandits but nothing of such happened in Kaduna.
Speaking about his expectations for Nigeria in 2023, El-Rufai said it was his wish that the next President of Nigeria would not be more than 65 years.
The governor said political leadership is mentally and physically draining and a younger person would handle the stress better than an older person.
El-Rufai also said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), hardly achieved much because he is a nice guy that doesn’t like to sack.
He said he believed in sacking incompetent hands and that was why he achieved more.
“I fire people so I get higher execution rates. President Buhari is a nice guy, he doesn’t fire people so he has a slower execution rate,” the governor added.