Angry youths in Kano yesterday staged protests following President Muhammadu Buhari’s official visit to the state.
The youths who were carrying sticks, were throwing stones at Buhari’s helicopter, were however dispersed by security agents who fired shots in the air to scare them away.
The President arrived at the Aminu Kano International airport in the morning and from there, he was conveyed by helicopter to the palace of the Emir of Kano, Aminu Bayero.
However, in spite of the heavy security presence mounted on the routes leading to Ahmadu Bello way where the President was to launch Galaxy Backbone Limited’s project, angry youths holding stones of various sizes and wielding sticks reportedly attacked Buhari’s convoy and helicopter as it hovered above them.
Videos circulated on social media showed the moment the irate youths pelted stones at the helicopter believed to be conveying the President.
One video showed citizens angrily struggling with some unidentified security agents while a convoy made its way through their midst.
Another video showed a road littered with stones while teargas canisters were being fired to disperse the angry mob.
This was just as the president compared the situation in Nigeria with that of other countries and concluded that the country’s condition was not as bad as being portrayed by some people.
The mammoth protesting youths were chanting “ba mu so” (we don’t want) as they set a bonfire of tires along Hotoro Road where the president had left after commissioning the Muhammadu Buhari Interchange.
The protest came few days after a similar incident occurred in Katsina, the president’s hometown.
Reports have it that some sections of all the four major roads leading the newly constructed Muhammadu Buhari Interchange Flyover were closed for two days in anticipation of the president’s visit. In video clips circulated on social media, other youths were seen throwing pebbles at the president’s helicopter.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday condemned the incident in its entirety.
However, speaking yesterday, at a State Banquet in Kano, to conclude his one-day official visit to the State after inaugurating several projects executed by the federal and state governments and the private sector, the president, according to a statement issued by his Media Adviser, Femi Adesina, stressed that, “we have a great country but we do not appreciate it until we visit our neighbors and other countries where the preoccupation is for people to have one good meal a day.
Speaking in Kano, Buhari said: “When I fly by helicopter, the number of high-rise buildings I see and the amount of development on the ground are fantastic. We thank God.”
Buhari described ongoing infrastructure development across the country as “fantastic”, urging citizens to appreciate what they have as the situation in the country is not dire when compared with other countries.
He urged the elites to encourage and inspire young people to embrace education, saying, “whether we like it or not we are going to leave the country for them.
‘‘They must embrace education for education’s sake. Technology has made it possible for short cuts but nothing can replace real learning. Please encourage the children to learn.”
He congratulated Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State for doing very well on infrastructure, adding that his recent state visits to Kogi, Yobe, Lagos and Katsina showed that the respective governors have done very well, within the confines of funds available to them.
On security, the president, who described Boko Haram as a fraudulent organisation with links to international groups bent on destroying Nigeria, said his administration had succeeded in decimating the terror group, limiting their capacity to inflict harm.
Earlier, while paying homage to the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, Buhari urged Nigerians to respect traditional institutions and accord them the honour they deserve.
The president, who also inaugurated the Emir’s Council Chambers at the Palace, said of the traditional institution: ‘‘This system is good. It is good in the sense that our traditional institutions are respected and honoured.
‘‘It is very important that we have understood the politics and we are respecting people from the bottom to upwards and this is common sense because people matter.
What the children see now is what they will hope to be in the future and the older ones hope that they can make their influence felt and improve the governance in the country from bottom upwards.’’
He thanked the Emir of Kano for associating him with the success of the traditional institution, lauding him for the vast improvement in the lot of his people, since he ascended the throne three years ago.
The Emir of Kano, who underscored the importance of the visit, thanked Buhari for granting approval to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the deadline for the phasing out of old currency notes, and by implication the implementation of the cashless policy.
This is an indication that the president is focused on alleviating the plight of the citizenry and indeed a listening leader,’’ he said.
The Royal Father added that the ongoing electioneering campaigns should serve as an opportunity for politicians to understand the challenges facing the people and devise a means to solving them.
He prayed for peaceful elections, as well as peace and prosperity of the country.
The president had commenced his visit to the state with the inauguration of Dala Inland Dry Port hosted by Kano State government in collaboration with the federal government.
The Inland Dry Port Project was conceived as part of the federal government’s ports reform programme designed to decongest the seaports, while also taking shipping and port services closer to importers and exporters in the hinterland.
Buhari also inaugurated the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA)-funded 10MW Haske Solar Plant in a 24-hectare land in Kumbotso Local Government of Kano State.
The plant, which links industrial customers to an additional power supply, represents a significant step towards efforts to provide clean, reliable, and sustainable energy for all Nigerians.
The 10MW plant is the largest completed solar plant in Nigeria and the first under the NSIA renewable energy platform.
The President also inaugurated the Family Homes Funds Estate, Darmanawa, Kano, which consists of 469 affordable housing units with ancillary infrastructure.
The NSIA funded the project with the sum of $16 million.
The president who was visibly excited about the project, expressed satisfaction with the quality of job done with the installation of the solar power plants.