Photograph — Kaduna South Government

On Wednesday, June 15, 17, the Kaduna state government announced the introduction of a residency card for the people of Kaduna. According to Muhammad Abdullahi, the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Kaduna, the state needs such an initiative to better plan and execute social services to its residents.

Speaking to the press at the North West Zonal Office of the National Identity Card Management Commission (NIMC), Kaduna, he said, “The Kaduna State Government is currently providing a number of free social services for the people in the state. But to achieve the desired impact, we need to have the accurate figure of those residing in the state.” Adding that residents will be required to present their cards before they can gain access to social services.

“Kaduna state is open for everyone due to its strategic location, geographically, economically and politically. But if you are going to stay in the state beyond 180 days, you would be required to register and obtain our residency card.” Abdullahi also said the card is going to help ensure security as the government has learnt that most of the security issues in Kaduna are the handiwork of people from other states.

Kaduna has been plagued by security challenges ranging from robbery and kidnapping to the senseless killing of innocent men, women and children by herdsmen in southern Kaduna. It took widespread criticism and a lot of reporting by the media to get the government of Kaduna to do ‘something’ about the latter, perhaps because of the apparent disconnect between the northern and southern region of the state. But even that did not stop the killing of 13 people two months ago. It is therefore difficult to see how a residency card will solve its security challenges.

It is also ludicrous for Abdullahi to say foreigners are responsible for security issues in the state when it is clear that the ethnopolitical conflict, which has now given way to the slaughtering of people, have deep roots in the state’s history. The weakness of the country’s national security policy has also not helped at all. Instead of formulating security policies that tackle these issues from the root, our lawmakers are a reactive bunch only interested in crafting and implementing fire brigade solutions like deploying soldiers to communities when situations are dire.

Muhammad Abdullahi should have stuck to explaining the original, and most likely, the sole intent of the residency card initiative, which is to plan and guarantee better social services. Because saying it will solve the state’s security challenges is overreaching.

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