By Ibrahim Adam
In 2011 when Sen. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso returned as the Executive Governor of Kano State , he met a frightening rise of drug abuse, thuggery and joblessness among the youths in the state. The youths were only used as political thugs by politicians and many were mingling as political touts and beggers at government offices. Right at the premises of the Government House then, there was a permanent base of political thugs where they abused drugs and praise-sing, or even harass, visitors and officials to get money.
Worried by the ugly and socially dangerous condition, then governor Kwankwaso formed a high powered task force committee that fought illicit drug dealers and drug abusers in Kano. The committee was given all the financial and moral support to discharge its duties effectively and efficiently.
The government made effort in regulating the Yanmagani traders in Sabon Gari market, by ejecting them out of the market and forcing them to strictly adhere with all the regulations guiding the sales of drugs to the public. All of which is aimed at curtailing easy access to illicit drugs by the youth.
Also, Governor Kwankwaso established a Kano Reformatory Institute in Kiru Local Government and Corporate Security Institute in Gabasawa Local Government all with the aim of curtailing drug abuse, thuggery and joblessness of the uneducated and undereducated youth in Kano State.
Kano Reformatory Institute was established with the sole intention of rehabilitating and building the capacities of drug addicts so that they can become responsible and productive citizens. This in turn will ultimately reduce drug abuse and the attendant high rate of crimes in Kano.
In the institute, the students were medically and psychologically rehabilated as well as given training on vocational skills such as leather works, garment production, metal works and fabrication and many more. The goal is to make them self-reliant and productive. Upon graduation the then government of Kwankwaso empowered them with capital to start up their businesses. Hundreds of these youths are now prosperous business owners taking care of their families and contributing their quota to the development of the state and the nation in general as responsible and productive citizens.
On the other hand, at the Corporate Security Institute, the many jobless youth that would otherwise be nuisance were trained on modern security techniques and —like their counterparts at the reformatory Institute— were certified upon graduation. This makes them professional security service providers fit to be employed as security guards by both government and private organizations. A substantial number of them were absorbed by KAROTA as its staff.
Rather than use them as political thugs for sinister political deals as is common with many political leaders in Nigeria, Governor Kwankwaso considered them as his sons and daughters. And therefore, as a responsible father, he ensured that they were rehabilated and empowered. He took them off the streets and offices where they roam about as thugs wasting their lives and disturbing the peace of the society. They were no more liabilities to the society. They became self-defendant and real people.
Undoubtedly, this has put smiles on the faces of many parents, spouses, relatives and children of the reformed youth, having been converted from socio-security time bombs to productive and responsible populace.
Through these initiatives, the state witnessed significant socio-economic and security improvements. As a result, people go about their daily activities hitch free without any fear of intimidation or harassment by jobless youth. Peace and tranquility reigned.
It is sad that today in Kano despite all these efforts made by Kwankwaso’s administration from 2011 to 2015, there is the return of thuggery, thievery and brutal attacks on unsuspecting passersby in our streets. Just few days ago, a promising young man was stabbed to death by phone snatchers.
One will ask, what is the present government doing to bring an end to all these illicit and dangerous activities? Are they empowering the youths in order to discourage them from all these dangerous activities? Is the Kano Reformatory Institute still in existence? What is the fate of the School of Entrepreneurship Studies that was established by Kwankwaso at Dawakin-Tofa? I heard it has been closed by the current Ganduje-led administration.
Are the speculations that the government is using the youths as political dogs to attack opposition the reason why the government is leasing out School of Tourism and Hospitality that was established by Kwankwaso (former Daula) for the purpose of building a mall? Could it be that it is as a result of the ‘I don’t care attitude’ of the Government that the Corporate Security Institute was also closed. Only those in government can answer these pertinent questions.
While waiting for the answers, it is good to remind those in power that history and posterity will not be fair to them if they allow Kano State through acts of omission or commission to slip back to the ugly state it was before Kwankwaso’s return in 2011 or even worse in terms of thuggery and drug abuse. Furthermore, they should also bear in mind that those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Nobody knows who the next victim(s) will be. Power is transient. Everybody becomes a ‘nobody’ ultimately.
We seriously don’t feel safe anymore!
Ibrahim Adam, is the Spokes Person to the Kano State gubernatorial candidate in 2019 elections, Abba Kabir Yusuf.