The Kaduna State Government has engaged the services of 17,000 village heads in the state to assist in tackling security challenges facing the state.
This came as 15 teachers recruited by the state government and posted to Dogon Dawa village, Birnin Gwari Local Government Area were robbed on their to resume work in the village.
The state is one of the states facing increasing security challenges occasioned by murderous activities of herdsmen and kidnappers.
The village heads have also been directed to mobilise their subjects to fully participate in the immunisation campaigns against child killer diseases.
Addressing a press conference wednesday in Kaduna, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Prof. Kabir Mato, noted that the strategic position of village heads makes them invaluable in providing prompt information on security issues. According to him, the village heads constitute a veritable front line of security information that can assist efforts to provide early warning and thwart threats to peace in communities.
He added further that as community leaders, the village heads are important partners in the campaign against child killer diseases.
“Their unique location makes village and Ward heads such valuable partners in increasing immunisation coverage and improving record keeping at the grassroots.
“They can mobilise communities to participate in immunisation and to register births and deaths.
“In addition, they constitute a veritable front line of security information that can assist efforts to provide early warning, thwart threats and enhance peace and harmony in our communities,” the commissioner said.
Mato disclosed that the state government would pay a monthly allowance of N10,000 to the village and ward heads.
He said the allowance is just a token of appreciation for the complimenting role of the village heads to deliver public goods in the health and security sectors.
“This move also marks a major landmark in the restructuring of this traditional institution in the state to perform defined roles and deploy its relevance in modern governance ” he added.
According to the commissioner, since 2015, “considerable steps have been taken to expand immunisation coverage across the state to give more children what they need to avoid vaccines preventable diseases.” He said the government, with the support of its partners is steadily institutionalising routine immunisation as a widespread, accessible and primary framework for immunisation.
“The success of these health protection initiatives for our children at the grassroots depends in the active involvement of village and ward heads.
“These layers of traditional ruler ship know the residents of their communities, including infants and other vulnerable persons,” said.
Meanwhile, 15 teachers recruited by the state government and posted to Dogon Dawa village, Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of the state were robbed on their to resume work in the village.
Last year, the state government sacked over 21,000 teachers, said to have failed competency test and subsequently recruited new ones who are currently being posted to various primary schools in the state.
The teachers numbering about 24 were said to have left Kaduna together on Tuesday morning and had reported to the State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB) office in Birnin Gwari, headquarters of the local government for documentation.
According to one of the teachers, Moses Joseph, after reporting at the SUBEB office those of them posted to the villages made to proceed to Dogon Dawa village and had procured three Volkswagen Golf cars, with some of them sitting in the boot to make the journey.
However, according to him, 10 minutes into the journey, they ran into the bandits at a road block.
He said they were forced out of their vehicles and dispossessed of all valuable items including money and mobile phones.
“They collected all our handsets, our books and they even went away with the original credentials of one of us.
“They asked us who we were and we told them we are teachers posted to Dogon Dawa and one of them said ‘yaran El-Rufai ne’ (El-Rufai’s children)”
According to him, the bandits separated the women from the men and were about to abduct the women but one of them prevailed on the others to leave them.
“So it was God that helped us otherwise some of us would have been abducted as well,” Joseph added.
The teachers have since returned to Birnin Gwari and have made statements at the police station.
But many of them said it would be difficult for them to report at their place of posting due to the high insecurity in the area and have requested to be posted to safer areas.
“They sacked over 1,000 teachers in Kaduna South local government, but they only recruited only about 400. So why can’t they send us there to fill the remaining vacancies instead of sending us to these dangerous places,” one of the teachers said angrily.
Spokesman of the state police command, Aliyu Mukhtar, did not respond to telephone calls by THISDAY.