Governor Nasir El Rufai has said that the Kaduna state government, in conjunction with security agencies, will set up a strike force at strategic locations in the state as part of a security beef-up before, during and after the elections.
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Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting at the Umaru Musa Yar’adua Centre in Kaduna, the governor said the strike force will be stationed at known flash and exit points in the state.
Though he did not give details about the planned strike force, the governor said they will be stationed in all the exit points of Kaduna town, including Gonin Gora, Mararaban Jos and Kachia roads.
The governor noted that the reforms carried out by his administration, especially in local government administration and restructuring of the traditional institutions, have freed up resources in all the 23 area councils in Kaduna state.
He said all the 23 local government areas are now financially buoyant enough to execute capital projects after paying salaries and overhead costs.
The governor, who addressed representatives of Kaduna North and Kaduna south local governments, said that the reform involved reducing 390 districts to the 77 districts that existed before year 200 as well as reducing local government staff members.
El Rufai recalled that the state government was giving financial bail-out to eight local governments every month in order to pay salaries when he assumed office in 2015.
The governor further said that the combination of a bloated local government staff and a proliferation of districts had placed a heavy financial burden on the local government areas, so much that they could not pay salaries.
“In Kaduna North and Kaduna South, every big man wanted his wife or relative to teach in primary schools because they are located in urban centres. No one wanted his relative to go to the villages to work or teach.
“In Zaria local government, there used to be more that 1,100 staff. Looking at the secretariat, there is no way it can accommodate that number of staff. Clearly, most of the names on the pay roll were ghost workers. Some council chairmen padded the pay roll with the names of members of their families,’’ he recalled.
El Rufai further said that his administration was called all manner of names when he embarked on the local government reform but that, now, the people are reaping its benefits.