Remarks by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, at the commissioning ceremony of the new Kasuwan Magani Market, held in Kasuwan Magani on Thursday, 23rd September 2021
1. I am delighted that we are gathered here for the commissioning of the new Kasuwan Magani market. It is a deliberate investment by the Kaduna State Government in peace-building and economic prosperity in a diverse community.
2. When we performed the groundbreaking ceremony for this market on 3rd July 2019, we noted how markets have been a source of conflict in some of our communities. Contentions over the location of markets and access to them have been implicated in the legacy of violence that has blighted parts of our state.
3. The Kaduna State Government is aware that certain resentments driven by poverty and a sense of inequality have manifested in violent episodes that have started in and around markets, often targeting the economic assets of other citizens. It was in Kasuwan Magani that Kaduna State lost its innocence, recording the first ethnoreligious clash in the 1980s.
4. Therefore, the Kaduna State Government’s post-conflict assessment after the October 2018 crisis in Kasuwan Magani included a resolve to address the question of markets. As a government committed to promoting equality of opportunity, we announced in October 2018 a plan to promote prosperity in places impacted by conflict by rebuilding their markets.
5. The goal is to ensure that the new markets will accommodate the previous shop owners, and other persons who are interested in and are able to own shops. Perceptions that there are insurmountable barriers to securing trading places in markets will be erased in the new, expanded markets. The designs for these markets will also include space to host police formations.
6. Today’s event marks another significant day in our quest by the Kaduna State Government to advance the cause of peace on many fronts. We commission the replacement of the burnt Kasuwan Magani market as part of our programme to promote equality of opportunity and economic development in our communities.
7. We partnered with the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to deliver this project. Through the Kaduna Markets Development and Management Company, we funded the construction of the Kasuwan Magani market from our state budget because of its importance to the recovery of this community from the needless violence of 2018.
8. This explains the deliberate steps being taken to make the market an inclusive space. Interested buyers of stalls in the market are being supported with access to mortgage finance. The sale of the shops is not driven by profit but by a desire to make the market a hub of traders from diverse backgrounds with a shared interest in prosperity.
9. I appeal to all our communities to work for peace and harmony. Economic development requires an atmosphere of concord in which everyone feels safe to pursue their livelihoods. Let us defeat poverty together and build communities of prosperity.
10. Mr. Vice President, we are grateful to Your Excellency for taking time to commission this project. We waited eight months after the completion of this project because we wanted you to commission this market. We insisted on you for several reasons. The first is that you are a man of deep social conscience. You care deeply about poor people and you care about giving them opportunity to prosper economically. The second reason is that you are a bridge builder. You are a pastor who is friends with imams, khaliphas and emirs. You are a professor who can speak the language of ordinary people. You are a lawyer who pursues justice, not technicalities. You care for people, you care for Nigerians and you care for unity in diversity. You care about dropping differences in religion and ethnicity, and you always promote peaceful coexistence.
11. Your Excellency, this community needs an apostle like you to preach unity and peaceful coexistence. No one is more qualified to commission this market, in this community, at this time, than Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. We are happy that you have made the time to come here and you can see the excitement of the people here on your visit to their community. We hope you will come back again and again.
12. I want to extend my thanks to CCECC for doing a great job in constructing the market. I thank the Kaduna Markets Development and Management Company and their supervising ministry, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Technology, and their entire staff and team, and I hope that they can be proud of this achievement.
13. We note the support that the people of Kasuwan Magani have provided to this project and we urge them to use it together, share its blessings together and protect it together. I thank Mr. Cafra Caino for being a symbol of unity as chairman of Kajuru Local Government.
Thank you for listening.